Just 38 votes separate incumbent Garden Grove Mayor Bruce Broadwater and his challenger, Garden Grove school district trustee Bao Nguyen, according to the latest tally of votes from the Orange County Registrar of Voters.
As the Registrar continues to count outstanding absentee and provisional ballots, Broadwater’s 1.7 percent lead on election night has been whittled down to 0.6 percent, the closest race the city has seen in recent years.
There are still 38,591 outstanding ballots countywide. The Registrar, which posts daily 5 p.m. updates on its website expects to finish tallying votes on Friday.
The 76-year-old Broadwater has served on the city council since 1992, including six terms as Mayor.
This has been a particularly difficult election for him as he has fought allegations of nepotism and favoritism in the hiring of his 37-year-old son Jeremy as a firefighter despite a criminal record and poor performance reviews from his superiors.
Broadwater has denied any notion that he intervened in his son’s hiring and has described the controversy as a politically motivated attack by the city’s fire union.
A Democrat and member of the OC Fair Board, Nguyen has sharply criticized Broadwater on the nepotism issue and run on a platform of transparency and access to City Hall.
Nguyen’s critics have pointed to his lack of experience with city government and bristled at his campaign-like speeches delivered during public comment at City Council meetings.
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