Santa Ana City Councilman Vince Sarmiento has chickened out again. He was all set to run for the First District of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, challenging the incumbent, Supervisor Andrew Do. But Sarmiento has apparently pulled out and now his colleague, City Councilwoman Michele Martinez, is running against Do instead.
A fellow named Robert Bao Nguyen has also pulled papers for this seat in addition to perennial candidate Steve Rocco, who has been trying for months to launch recalls of Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido and OCDA Tony Rackauckas.
I suspect that this Nguyen character is a friend of Sarmiento’s. His presence on the ballot may pull a few Vietnamese votes from Do, but I doubt that Nguyen will make much of a difference on the ballot.
Martinez is perhaps the hardest working member of the Santa Ana City Council. However she is disliked by Orange County’s progressive voters. She lost badly when she ran for the 69th Assembly District a few years ago.
Martinez may not have much luck trying to win on the June primary election ballot. She has not raised any money for this contest. And Do has pulled a 180 since he was elected to replace his old boss, Janet Nguyen, after she moved on to the State Senate. Do has actually been a champion of ethics reform at the County and I am told that he and Janet have had a falling out.
The other challenge for Martinez is that she represents a dysfunctional City Council that fired the popular former SAPD Police Chief, Paul Walters, after he saved Santa Ana from bankruptcy while serving as an Interim City Manager. Crime in Santa Ana has mushroomed since the City Council hired the inexperienced Carlos Rojas to head the SAPD.
Do on the other hand is a former Orange County Deputy District Attorney and his wife is a current O.C. Superior Court Judge. He will win the crime issue without breaking a sweat.
So far in this year’s Presidential Primary Caucuses and Elections, the Republicans have been setting turnout records while the Democratic Party vote has been less than expected so far.
Martinez, a Democrat, will be in for a real challenge in June if her fellow Democrats fail to vote. Do, on the other hand, will have full support from the GOP.
Sarmiento did the right thing by dropping out as he has to defend his City Council seat in November. Our pajaritos say that former Santa Ana City Councilman Jose Solorio intends to challenge Sarmiento for Ward 6, in the General Election. If he does then Sarmiento will be in for a real battle as he barely won in his last race against an unknown schoolteacher who did not bother to spend any money on her campaign and did not walk precincts.