Victors Emerge in Tightly Contested Orange County Elections

Victors Emerge in Tightly Contested Orange County Elections
Steven Choi (L), the former mayor of Irvine who retained his California Assembly seat in 2020, after a performance of Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, Calif., on Feb. 1, 2015. (The Epoch Times)
Drew Van Voorhis

The ultimate winners of some of the closest local elections in Orange County, California, have finally emerged, nearly two weeks after the Nov. 3 election.

Here’s an up-to-date look at the unofficial results of some of the county’s races for the California Legislature as of Nov. 15.

Choi Retains Assembly Seat in the 68th District

In the race for the 68th District of the California Assembly, incumbent Republican Steven Choi has won reelection against Democratic challenger Melissa Fox, a current member of the Irvine City Council whose term is set to expire this year.

Choi currently holds 136,503 votes, just over 53 percent, compared to Fox’s 120,692 votes, about 47 percent.

Choi told The Epoch Times he felt “relieved after the fierce battle, so to speak.”

“I never had imagined losing the election, but when the opponent continued with strong campaign activities, particularly with the overwhelming financial support of the state Democratic Party, I had to continue to tighten up my strategies,” Choi said via email.

“Especially when I was down in the first two ballot count reports on the election night, I couldn’t believe my eyes but never lost my confidence that I’d catch up. Surely enough, from the third round update, I came out on top and never had a setback ever since.”

The assemblyman said he worked hard to reach constituents during the campaign and was grateful for “the continued vote of confidence.”

“I know I earned the votes in that I worked hard, and the voters recognized it. I have maintained close communications with the constituents in many forms of medium, and helped literally thousands of people with their issues with the state,” he said, citing the Employment Development Department (EDD) and the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) as areas where he’s helped.

Choi said there will be significant challenges to overcome during his next term.

“The years ahead will be very challenging in that the COVID-19 will continue, even with vaccines [that] may become available. As a result, efforts will need to address how to minimize the spread of the pandemic, and how we can sustain economically,” he said.

“Many people, especially small businesses, will need government help to survive. But the government budget itself is in red, and the revenue is down.

“There is no quick answer to solve these issues. With the anticipated new administration at the Federal level, the state policies will be heavily impacted by the Fed’s new policies.”

The 68th District is in inland central Orange County.

Janet Nguyen Wins 72nd District Assembly Seat

In the Assembly race for District 72, Republican Janet Nguyen declared victory on Nov. 12 after her opponent, Democrat Diedre Nguyen, conceded.

Janet Nguyen formerly represented the 34th District as a state senator and served on the Orange County Board of Supervisors. Her lead is greater than the number of remaining ballots left to count.

Janet Nguyen currently holds 122,021 votes, or 54.1 percent, versus Diedre Nguyen’s 103,483 votes, or 45.9 percent.

Diedre Nguyen currently serves on the Garden Grove City Council, representing the Third District.

The 72nd District encompasses parts of north Orange County, including Westminster and some coastal cities.

Incumbent Holds in 74th District

In the 74th District for the state Assembly, incumbent Democrat Cottie Petrie-Norris declared victory on Nov. 12 over Republican Diane Dixon, a Newport Beach councilmember and former mayor.
Petrie-Norris has received 133,309 votes, or 50.5 percent, compared to Dixon’s 130,657, or 49.5 percent.

Challenger Wins 29th District Senate Rematch

In the California State Senate race for District 29, Democrat Josh Newman declared victory on Nov. 12 in his rematch against incumbent Republican Ling Ling Chang.

Chang originally won the seat in a 2018 special election after Newman was recalled for voting in favor of a gas tax. Previously, Newman had won the seat in 2016 after running against Chang.

Newman’s vote totals stand at 159,552 or nearly 51.6 percent of the vote, compared to Chang’s 149,783 votes, just over 48.4 percent.

Other County Races

In the 37th Senate District, Democrat Dave Min leads incumbent Republican John Moorlach by just over 12,000 votes. Min has received just under 51.2 percent to Moorlach’s 48.8 percent.

In the 55th Assembly District, incumbent Republican Phillip Chen, with 55 percent of the vote, is on his way to defeating Democrat Andrew E. Rodriguez, with 45 percent.

In the 65th Assembly District, Sharon Quirk-Silva, an incumbent Democrat, is headed for victory. She leads by more than 30,000 votes against Republican challenger Cynthia Thacker.

In the 69th Assembly District, Democratic incumbent Tom Daly, with nearly 73 percent of the vote, will beat out Republican Jon Paul White, who has received just over 27 percent.

In the 73rd Assembly District, Republican challenger Laurie Davies, with 58.5 percent of the vote, handily defeated Democrat Scott Rhinehart, with 41.5 percent.

Drew Van Voorhis is a California-based daily news reporter for The Epoch Times. He has been a journalist for six years, during which time he has broken several viral national news stories and has been interviewed for his work on both radio and internet shows.
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