Can she do it? The race for the 65th Assembly District could come down in the General Election to Young O. Kim, who is currently the Director of ACR and Asian Affairs for Congressman Ed Royce, versus the incumbent, Sharon Quirk-Silva, a Democrat who previously served on the Fullerton City Council and is a public school teacher by trade. Can Kim beat Quirk-Silva? (Be sure to vote in our poll, below).
The 65th Assembly District encompasses parts of northern Orange County, centered on the city of Fullerton. The primarily suburban district is ethnically and socioeconomically diverse, according to Wikipedia. The District includes these cities:
- Anaheim – 38.9%
- Buena Park
- Garden Grove
- La Palma
The voter demographics are fairly well split up in the 65th. Asian voters make up 21.8 % of the population. Latino voters make up 23% of the population, according to Around the Capitol. Republican voters make up 35.8% of the District’s electorate and Democratic voters comprise 36.6% of the vote. Decline to State voters are a big chunk of the vote, with 23.4% of the electorate.
Quirk-Silva beat the previous incumbent, Chris Norby, handily in 2012, when the 65th was redrawn, by 4% of the vote, according to Smart Voter. But Norby was a flawed candidate and his campaign adviser, John Lewis, was distracted as he was also running Democrat Tom Daly’s campaign over in the 69th Assembly District.
Quirk-Silva definitely has an edge with regard to Latino voters, but Kim will have the help of Cecilia Iglesias, a district representative for State Senator Mimi Walters, and Karina Onofre, a district representative for State Senator Bob Huff. These ladies are tough campaigners and Iglesias won a seat last year on the SAUSD School Board, in heavily Democratic Santa Ana.
There are other Republican candidates that Kim will have to beat in the Primary Election, but there is a good chance that she will raise more money than any of them and I expect she will have the best shot at advancing to the General Election, in November of 2014. It won’t be easy as Kim has low name I.D. but she is well known and popular in north Orange County’s Korean community. There are prominent and wealthy Korean Americans all over Orange County. You can bet that they will donate to Kim and come out to walk for her campaign in the Primary Election.
Quirk-Silva benefited in 2012 from rather illicit contributions from the state teacher’s union, which were funneled through the Democratic Party to her coffers. She may get such help again in 2014, but I think overall she will have a tough time raising money. The State of California is still doing poorly and now the Democrats in Sacramento are talking about screwing with Prop. 13. That could spell doom for them in purple districts like the 65th A.D. Older voters for sure won’t be happy about that!
The Democratic Party of Orange County will put up a fight but if the OC GOP is smart they won’t leave Kim dangling in the General Election, which is what they did to Norby (that may have revenge for Norby’s stance against redevelopment).
Quirk-Silva ran on a platform of “Creating Jobs and Economic Development,” but our State Government has not done that. Kim at least can argue that her own community – Korean Americans, has in fact been very busy creating jobs in California, for many years.