The very strong showings by Supervisor Janet Nguyen and Young Kim in the 34th Senate District and 65th Assembly District, respectively, should be cause for alarm for the Democrats.
Janet Nguyen is one of the hardest working candidates I’ve ever seen in Orange County, and it showed in last night’s results:
Nguyen beat Rancho Santiago Community College District Trustee (and former Assemblyman) Jose Solorio by 20 points in a district that is 38% Democrat and 35% Republican. In other words, she ran more than 17 points ahead of registration, while Solorio ran more than 5 points behind. Her campaign was able to generate twice the normal turnout of Vietnamese voters (reminiscent of the Viet voter tsunami that washed over the special election that put Janet Nguyen on the Board of Supervisors in 2007), while turnout among Latino voters was low.
Granted, the November turnout will be higher and so the voter universe will be broader, but it’s hard to see how it will be different in its fundamentals. Furthermore, Long Pham will not be on the ballot in November, meaning that Vietnamese Republican’s voters can be expected to move into Janet’s column. The upshot is Solorio has a tall mountain to climb.
Among other things, this election result sends a message to Democratic leaders and interest groups in Sacramento. It won’t deter them from expending resources for Solorio in the Fall, but it will impact their calibrations about whether to spend a lot, a little or somewhere in between in the 34th Senate District.