This story has been updated with the latest election results.
Republican Andrew Do took an early lead in early results in Tuesday’s primary election for 1st District county supervisor, representing the cities of Santa Ana, Garden Grove, Westminster, and part of Fountain Valley.
In the 12:30 a.m. update, Do was leading with 44.6 percent of ballots reported so far, with Sergio Contreras in second place at nearly 20.6 percent, Miguel Pulido at nearly 20 percent, and Kim Nguyen at 14.9 percent. The top two vote-getters at the end of ballot counting will advance to a runoff election in November.
These initial results show only mail-in and dropped-off ballots through Monday evening, the night before the election, as well as all ballots cast in person at vote centers until Friday evening.
Updates later tonight will include Election Day ballots, though at the end of election night there will remain an unknown number of mail-in ballots left to count.
The full set of ballots in the race likely will not be counted until Friday, the last day mail-in ballots can arrive at the county elections office and still be counted.
With two supervisor seats up for grabs, Republicans are working to hang onto their 4-1 majority on the Board of Supervisors. Two Republican incumbents are facing Democratic challengers in tight races amid OC’s voter registration shifting in favor of Democrats in recent years.
For information on the 3rd District race, click here.
When Do last ran in 2016, Democrats had a 14 percentage-point advantage in voter registration in the district, and Do won by 0.4%. That margin has since increased to almost 20 percent.
With Do’s incumbency advantage and the benefit of being the only Republican running for the seat, the primary is widely seen as a race to determine his opponent in the runoff election.
Do centered his campaign on homelessness, saying he’s been solving it and that he wants to continue that work.
Do’s challengers in the primary were Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido, Westminster Councilman Sergio Contreras, and Garden Grove Councilwoman Kim Bernice Nguyen, all of whom listed homelessness as their top priority in campaign mailings.
Nguyen and Contreras were both openly critical of Do’s handling of homelessness, saying in phone interviews with Voice of OC that he has not moved fast enough to create shelter and affordable housing to get people off the streets.
Another big difference in this election is how campaign ads for each candidate were funded. The OC sheriff’s deputies’ union spent over $436,000 on mailers for Do in February – far more than any other spender on the 1st District election – according to public disclosures. Pulido also was promoted by ads from a group funded with $25,000-plus checks each from major donors like the Santa Ana police union, real estate companies, and billionaire Kieu Hoang.
Nguyen and Contreras pointed to their smaller donations from county residents. Contreras was funded largely by individual small donors and labor unions, while most of Nguyen’s donations were $200 or less.
Updates are scheduled to go out every half hour from 9:30 p.m., until late Tuesday night according to the OC Registrar’s office.
Noah Biesiada is a Voice of OC Reporting Fellow. Contact him at email@example.com or on Twitter @NBiesiada.