Republican Fullerton City Councilman Shawn Nelson will take over a seat on the county board of supervisors after winning 30 percent of votes cast in Tuesday’s primary election, with all precincts reporting.
He will complete the term of former Supervisor Chris Norby, who moved to the state assembly earlier this year in a special election.
But because Nelson did not win 50 percent plus one vote of all votes cast, he will have to compete in a November runoff with Republican Anaheim City Councilman Harry Sidhu, who ended up with 18.3 percent of the vote.
Democratic Anaheim Councilwoman Lorri Galloway finished 748 votes behind Sidhu at 16.5 percent. And Buena Park Mayor Art Brown came in fourth with 15.8 percent of the vote.
The primary results were a particularly tough pill for Democratic Party officials to swallow.
Three Democratic candidates — Galloway, Brown and La Habra City Counciwoman Rose Espinoza — together garnered 45 percent of the vote.
This leaves party officials wondering what if County Clerk Recorder Tom Daly — who himself won reelection Tuesday — would not have dropped out of the race in February.
In the absence of a credible Democratic challenger, Orange County’s two largest labor unions — the Orange County Employees Association and the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs — spent more than $1 million in attack mailers against Nelson.
Democratic Party Chairman Frank Barbaro agreed Tuesday night that an opportunity had been blown.
“This is called shooting yourself in multiple feet,” Barbaro said as returns came in.
Barbaro said the outcome would likely force a series of hard questions about how the party selects candidates. “We need to do a better job on the front end,” he said.