The best candidate that Orange County’s Vietnamese community had going into the June 5 Open Primary, Westminster Mayor Pro Tem Tyler Diep, dropped out of the race for the 72nd Assembly District. That left two Vietnamese candidates vying for that seat – O.C. Board of Education Trustee Long Pham, a Republican, and Garden Grove Planning Commissioner Joe Dovinh, a former Decline to State voter who is now a Democrat.
Dovinh has “spent $6,699 during the March 18-May 19 reporting period, brining his total spending in the AD-72 race to $16,352. He has $5,493 left in his warchest,” according to the OC Political blog. They also reported that Pham “spent $62,675 during the March 18-May 19 reporting period, bringing his total spending in the AD-72 race to $106,072. He has only $1,412 left in his warchest.”
The only elected Vietnamese candidate who is running for reelection in the Open Primary is Supervisor Janet Nguyen – a Republican who is roundly despised by many in her own community and whose moneygrubbing corrupt ways have come to the forefront since she took over the Caloptima Board of Directors and immediately started squeezing health professionals for campaign donations.
Nguyen is not endorsing Pham, as far as I know. Pham does not list endorsements on his campaign website nor did he fill out his Smart Voter page. But if Nguyen had endorsed him we would have known as surely that would have resulted in a press release.
There is a Vietnamese candidate, Santa Ana Parks and Recreation Commissioner Ken Nguyen, running to replace Pham in the race for Area One on the Orange County Board of Education. Nguyen is a Democrat and he too has failed to garner the support of Supervisor Nguyen, who has instead endorsed her fellow Republican, Robert Hammond.
So there you have it. Supervisor Nguyen is so far refusing to support any of her fellow Vietnamese candidates in the Open Primary. Without her support and without any major Vietnamese elected officials in the mix, such as now retired former Assemblyman Van Tran, the outcome for this spring’s crop of Orange County Vietnamese candidates looks grim.
I think Dovinh might have the best shot at advancing due to the Top Two Open Primary rules. As one of only two Democrats running for the 72nd Assembly District (the other is 82 year old Tea Party Democrat Albert Ayala, who did not raise money and did not run much of a campaign), Dovinh is positioned to advance to the November General Election, as there are too many Republicans in the mix for the 72nd A.D. The other canidates, Troy Edgar and Travis Allen, have already spent a combined $300,000, making it likely that only one Republican will emerge to face off against Dovinh in November.
Supervisor Nguyen could have helped at least one of her fellow Vietnamese candidates, particularly Pham, but she chose not to. That is typical for her. She generally is for herself and herself only. Maybe it is her goal to emerge out of this as the only major Vietnamese Republican elected official in Orange County, but the next time she runs, for another office, she might find support from her community won’t be there for her…