State Senator Janet Nguyen was once mentored by Garden Grove City Councilman Van Tran. In fact she and her husband even had a joint honeymoon with Tran and his wife. However after she got elected to the Garden Grove City Council she turned on Tran and became his bitter enemy. I asked her why that came to be a few years ago and she said that Tran tried to control her City Council campaign.
Now many years later Nguyen has turned on a candidate who was once her right hand – Andrew Do. He served as Nguyen’s Chief of Staff and when she moved on to the State Senate, Nguyen helped Do to take her place at the Orange County Board of Supervisors. Then she turned on him just like she once turned on Tran.
We don’t know exactly why Nguyen decided to hate on Do. But we do know that she sent out a robo-call during the June Primary Election this year, in Vietnamese. Here is the translated script of that call, courtesy of the OC Weekly:
“Dear fellow citizens, this is Senator Janet Nguyen. Thank you for having trusted, supported and loved me for the past several years. I just have to speak out about the election for District 1 Supervisor. I am deeply hurt that this election has caused division in the community, and supervisor Andrew Do has made false accusations that are disrespectful toward me. Supervisor Andrew Do has accused me of supporting the other candidate, even though I have not announced my support for any candidate. I always want the residents of District 1 to have a representative that can unify the community and truly want to serve the community. Therefore I cannot support Supervisor Andrew Do in his reelection. I also have not supported any other candidate. Thank you once again, this is Senator Janet Nguyen.”
Do was challenged in June by his fellow Republican and first-term Garden Grove City Councilman Phat Bui. Do beat Bui to advance to the November General Election but now Do has to beat Santa Ana City Councilwoman Michele Martinez. That won’t be easy for Do as Latino voters are expected to vote in large numbers this November – as they are very much interested in defeating the racist Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump. Even worse for Do, he has to contend with ongoing vitriol against him coming from Bui and Nguyen.
Why exactly did Nguyen turn on Do? The Voice of OC asked Do about that and this is what he told them:
“If you look at her position at the time, she was a young person of 28, 30 years old, without work or experience outside of schooling, yet she could become what she is today…a county supervisor and then a state senator, in the largest state in one of the most powerful countries in the world,” Do said of Nguyen. “If you can’t see your own fortune and show gratitude to the people that helped you, that’s a sad story.”
I suspect that Do, a former Deputy District Attorney at the OCDA who is married to a California Superior Court Judge, deeply regrets whatever it is Nguyen asked him to do when he was not just her Chief of Staff but also her bag man. It was Do, along with his current Deputy Chief of Staff, Nick Lecong, who raised campaign money hand over fist for Nguyen. My guess is that Do and Lecong likely broke campaign finance laws while helping Nguyen. She knows full well that if they ever rat her out she will join them both in jail.
The reality about Nguyen is she has never stood for anything in particular – except for the accruing of power. I asked her when she first ran for the O.C. Board of Supervisors what her top three issues were. She answered “small business,” and then she paused and had nothing else to say. She then spent the next few years shaking down small businesses in Little Saigon for campaign contributions.
In the end that is all that Nguyen did during her reign as a County Supervisor. She raised campaign money. Everything she did was engineered to fill her campaign coffers.
Perhaps Do, when he got elected to replace Nguyen, realized how wrong what they did together was. And he tried to be an ethical officeholder. I would imagine that Nguyen did not like that!
What Nguyen and Bui are now doing to Do is unprecedented. I cannot imagine that former OC GOP Chairmen Tom Fuentes and Scott Baugh would have tolerated such behavior – actively undermining and attacking an Orange County Republican officeholder. I have no idea why current OC GOP Chairman Fred Whitaker is allowing this to happen. It is damaging the OC GOP and if Martinez beats Do the blame will lie squarely on the shoulders of Nguyen and Bui.
And consider this – if Martinez gets elected to the First District what will stop her from later challenging Janet Nguyen for the State Senate? Nguyen just might be creating her own future downfall by opposing Do in this election. But such is her enmity – and pride, that she can’t seem to see the forest for the trees. And no one in the OC GOP is calling her on it. Simply amazing. Trump might be killing the GOP nationally but make no mistake about it, Janet Nguyen is causing just as much trouble for the Republican Party here in Orange County.