Two years after Democrat Sharon Quirk-Silva pulled a major upset in the 65th Assembly District, Young Kim has taken the seat back for the Republicans.
Kim, who won by 56 to 44 percent over Quirk-Silva, will be the first Korean American woman elected to a state legislature. It will also be the first time she has held elected office.
Kim has deep roots in OC politics as an aide to Congressman Ed Royce for 20 years. She has hosted politics and public affairs shows on Korean radio and television, and is supported by several Korean American groups in Orange County.
Asian Americans, the fastest-growing ethnic group in the country, make up nearly 20 percent of the North county district, with 5 percent of the district Korean.
Quirk-Silva was elected in 2012 in an upset victory that unseated Republican Chris Norby, shocking many who considered the district a safe, Republican stronghold.
Although Kim’s win signals a return for Republicans in Orange County, Assembly Democrats are still likely to hold onto their two-thirds majority, with another swing-race in the 44th district going to Democrat Jacqui Irwin, with 51.3 percent, according to returns as of 2 a.m. Wednesday.
57 seats is the threshold for a supermajority in the Assembly and 27 in the Senate. Ahead of Tuesday’s election, they held 55 seats and 25 seats, respectively.
That two-thirds majority that allows them to raise taxes, place constitutional amendments on the ballot, approve appointments and pass emergency legislation without Republican votes.
Both the state Democratic and Republican parties have poured millions into the race, with the Democratic Party injecting $965,000 in cash into Quirk-Silva’s campaign in the month of October alone. Quirk-Silva raised a total $2,238,970 this year.
Kim meanwhile raised $1,556,146 in direct money contributions, with more than a third of that coming from the State Republican Party.