Mon. May 27th, 2024

Most Santa Ana residents live in the 69th Assembly District, but a few, on the west side, live in the newly created 72nd Assembly District.  This new district includes the following cities: Westminster, Fountain Valley, Garden Grove, Los Alamitos, Seal Beach, a portion of Huntington Beach, a portion of Santa Ana, and the unincorporated county island of Midway City.

Yes – this district includes quite a bit of Little Saigon – and it also encompasses Vietnamese communities in Fountain Valley, Santa Ana and other parts of the district.

With that in mind, you have to figure that Westminster Mayor Pro Tem Tyler Diep, one of two Republicans vying for the seat, is the favorite.  Professionally, Diep serves as Senior Advisor to the State Board of Equalization, an agency that is charged with collecting sales tax. In this position, he is responsible for minority business outreach and public affairs.  Click here to check out Diep’s Facebook page.

The other Republican candidate is Huntington Beach Councilman Matt Harper.  He used to be Supervisor Janet Nguyen’s Chief of Staff.  He is now a Public Affairs manager for the County of Orange.

According to Harper’s press release announcing his campaign, “Prior to his work at the County of Orange, Harper worked as a Realtor® for Star Real Estate and now holds a broker license from the California Department of Real Estate.”  I wonder how many foreclosures Harper had a hand in?

The Red County blog is not too pleased that Harper is running for the Assembly, as they are concerned that the Huntington Beach City Council may end up dominated by Democrats.

Harper embarrassed himself earlier this year when he voted to support a measure that would have resulted in the posting of DUI offenders labeled “habitual” by the City of Huntington Beach, on their Facebook page.  The problem?  Harper didn’t tell anyone that he was arrested for driving under the influence a few years ago, when he was a member of the Huntington Beach Union High School District’s Board of Education.

Here is what the Surf City Voice reported about Harper’s arrest:

On Dec. 19, 2004, at about 1:30 in the morning, Harper was arrested by the HBPD on Beach Blvd. and Bishop Street in the city of Westminster and then booked in the Huntington Beach City Jail for driving under the influence and being well over the blood alcohol concentration limit (BAC), according to court records. Harper was serving as an elected member of the board of the Huntington Beach Unified High School District at the time.

When contacted by the Voice, Harper spoke willingly about the incident and acknowledged that on the night he was arrested he had eaten but also downed seven alcoholic drinks between the hours of 6 p.m. and 1 a.m.

Harper’s arrest is reminiscent of Westminster Councilman Andy Quach’s 2009 DUI arrest – which included his car hitting a power pole in Westminster.  While Quach was ridiculed on all the local political blogs, Harper’s arrest was not reported at the time.  In fact one of the charges against him was dropped.  He later plead not guilty to the second charge and that was dropped to, and eventually expunged from his record.  It was essentially covered up – until Harper’s Facebook vote.  That measure failed.

Click here to check out Harper’s Facebook page.

The only Democrat in the race is a guy named Joe Dovinh.  He is married to Republican Garden Grove Councilwoman Dina Nguyen.  The Little Saigon Insider blog, which is published by an ally of Supervisor Janet Nguyen, praised Dovinh in a blog post.  It may be that Nguyen talked him into running so as to split the Viet vote and give Harper, her former Chief of Staff, the edge in the open primary.

At any rate, Dovinh is an afterthought in this race.  The 72nd is dominated by the Republicans, who make up 42.9% of the electorate.  The Democrats have 31.6% of the electorate and Decline to State Voters comprise 21.1% of the district.

By Editor

The New Santa Ana blog has been covering news, events and politics in Santa Ana since 2009.

11 thoughts on “Santa Ana’s other Assembly race features Harper versus Diep”
  1. Occupy New Santa Ana Day#6.5
    Did I mention that Sat. October 15 is Global Revolution Day?
    Don’t freak. Be cool. Put your House in Order.

  2. Harper’s a loser. Anyone who’s worked for Janet Nguyen (she won’t be seeing a 2nd term either) ought to have his head examined, but maybe that’s why he drinks.

    Harper’s political resume is more than thin and his support in HB won’t be appreciating just stopping by for a few years on its Council on the way to a grander and more lucrative office. He’s GOP establishment and can be counted on doing whatever Scott Baugh tells him.

    Diep’s got more depth and experience, and belongs to the right constituency. It probably isn’t his fault that Westminster is a piece of crap — that’s Margie Rice’s fault, and the completely worthless Kermit Marsh, another GOP clone.

  3. Have a dog in the race, Art? It’s so hard to tell from the article.

    Don’t be surprised to see another Dem get in. If not, don’t be surprised to see a Dem make the runoff. (Half of 42% is less than 31%.) With a top-two system, dividing the Vietnamese vote seems like a smart strategy for Harper. Diep should be trying to entice a liberal Dem — one who can get more of the vote than Dovinh, into the race.

  4. I had not heard there was any democrats officially in the race yet. You must know something I don’t

  5. “Around the Capitol” lists Dovinh as probable.

    Again, the “dividing the vote” strategy has gotten much trickier with the top-2 runoff. You can get beaten 99%-1% in the primary and you still go into the runoff now. We’ll see some people husbanding money until November.

  6. You forgot to mention the fact that Tyler Diep was recorded by the local police department telling them to stop conducting search on Cytrist, a bar. Tyler Diep and Van Tran have been anti-Latino time and time again, very racist minorities.

    1. The entire OC GOP is pretty much anti-Latino. Don’t fool yourself for a minute that Harper is any different. Why don’t you ask him if he supports the CA Dream Act? That should tell you all you need to know about the guy.

  7. In the absence of any good or viable Democrat in that district (which is where I live) I think I’m gonna quietly root for Harper – mainly so we can get someone better to replace him on the HB City Council! (Exactly what that guy at Red-Face County is worried about.)

    This whole thing is also gonna understandably piss off the Viets even more at the Republican Party. Maybe they’ll rethink both their loyalty to such a lily-white party and their competitiveness against Latinos!

    1. You mean like Daly trying to snag the Latino 69th AD? Your party is no better than the OC GOP when it comes to screwing minorities Vern.

    1. Daly has no business running for that seat. It reminds me of Toledano’s primary campaign against Sanchez .. she beat him then she beat Dornan.

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