Santa Ana Councilwoman Michele Martinez announced her candidacy in the race for Orange County’s First District Supervisor, according to a report in The Liberal OC blog. 

If she wins, Martinez would be the first Democrat and person of Latino descent elected to the county board in at least a decade, and the first Latina ever.

Martinez couldn’t be immediately reached for comment. But here’s an excerpt from her announcement posted at The Liberal OC:

“I am running for Supervisor to protect and empower middle class families, and to ensure that county government is working to advance the interests of all our residents,” her announcement states.

“On the Board, I will work to find commonsense solutions to the problems we face, and I will fight to institute real reforms aimed at increasing transparency and accountability at the highest levels of county government.”

Martinez squares off against incumbent Supervisor Andrew Do, former chief of staff to his predecessor, Janet Nguyen. Other candidates who have pulled papers to run for the seat include Robert Bao Nguyen and former Orange Unified School Board member Steve Rocco.

Do won the seat by just a handful of votes over former state Sen. Lou Correa in a special election race held last year. However, the conventional wisdom is that a Latino candidate would fare better in November’s election because Latinos turn out to vote in much higher numbers during presidential general elections.

Santa Ana Councilman Vincent Sarmiento has also opened a campaign finance committees to run for the seat. However, Sarmiento told Voice of OC that he would not be running.

“In hindsight I’ve decided to stay on the city council and seek reelection of my council seat,” Sarmiento said. “I’m going to be behind Michele 100 percent because I think the need to have someone from Santa Ana to sit on that board is very important.”

Martinez was first elected to the city council in 2006. She also ran for the mayor’s seat in 2008, and unsuccessfully ran for state Assembly in 2012. Last year, Martinez was elected president of the National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO).

She’s a board member at the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, and she serves as vice president for the Southern California Association of Governments.

Please contact Adam Elmahrek directly at aelmahrek@voiceofoc.org and follow him on Twitter: @adamelmahrek

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