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Incumbent Supervisor Andrew Do, despite a massive fundraising advantage, narrowly edged Santa Ana Councilwoman Michele Martinez for the top spot in the primary race for First District supervisor, according to the final tally from the county Registrar of Voters.
Do finished with 20,601 votes, or 36 percent; while Martinez garnered 20,215 votes, or 35.3 percent. Garden Grove Councilman Phat Bui finished third with 19.1 percent of the vote.
Do and Martinez will face off in the November general election.
Martinez celebrated her second-place finish at Democratic Party of Orange County headquarters in Orange.
“This is where the campaign starts,” Martinez said. “[Do] is fighting for his life, his job.”
Do was widely expected to win given his incumbency and strong fundraising. And though Martinez did relatively little campaigning ahead of the primary, a few factors are expected to play out to her advantage during the general election.
Latino turnout is highest in presidential election years, and many political analysts believe turnout could be even greater as more Latinos flock to polls as a rebuke to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
“Hillary will bring out the women and Trump will bring out the Latinos in historic numbers — that benefits Michele Martinez,” Martinez said.
The First District is also the most liberal district in Orange County, with Democrats holding a 13 percent lead over Republicans in voter registration, according to data from the Orange County Registrar of Voters.
Do is well-funded for the upcoming fight, having so far significantly outgunned Martinez in fundraising, bringing in a total of $435,086 for this election cycle as of May 21. Martinez has thus far only raised $69,167.
“I’ve been under the radar — its all strategic,” Martinez said. “Now we’re going to war.”
Do, who barred a Voice of OC reporter from his election night celebration, spent much of the primary season in a battle with Bui for Republican and Vietnamese American votes.
Bui has filed complaints about Do with the state ethics agency and used them as fodder for political attack ads painting the sitting supervisor as corrupt.
Do fired back a campaign mailer resembling an eight-page Vietnamese print newspaper, with articles questioning Bui’s educational credentials and own record on the Garden Grove City Council.
Steve Rocco, a former Orange Unified School District board member, received 9.6 percent of votes.
Contact Thy Vo at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @thyanhvo.