Big Night for Janet Nguyen In The 34th Senate District is Bad News for Senate Democrats

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:

sd34 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.


  1. Solorio’s “Vote for Vets” theme was deliberatly misleading and disgusting – it probably back-fired on him.

  2. Some Other Insider

    An interesting side dynamic is how Sen. Lou Correa’s political interests here are aligned with the Republican winning and the Democrat losing.

    If Janet wins, Correa will be hard to stop in the special supervisor election that will quickly follow in February of next year. If Solorio wins, then Correa will have to wait two more years to run for the Board. By that time, he’ll have been out of office for two years and the field will be more crowded.

  3. Chris Phan(R) has already announced his intention to run for this seat in 2016. With Janet’s win in November, Chis just has to move the date up. Last time there was a special election for the 1st, two Viet politicos, Janet Nguyen and Troung Nguyen came in 1st and 2nd, so Lou won’t win this seat.

  4. That’s Janet BOS seat, when she moves on.

  5. Exactly, but what Janet’s trounce of Jose should clearly tell you is that the Viet-vote that elected her in the special election to fill Lou’s vacancy, is stronger than ever. Chris will get those voters, the Veterans vote(as he is military guy) and anybody’s else that he has met.

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