All of Orange County’s incumbent state legislators will advance to November, except for two Republican Assemblymen that were targeted by their own party. 

Assemblyman Bill Brough (R-Dana Point) and Assemblyman Tyler Diep (R-Westminster) will sit November out after being knocked out of reelection prospects for the March primary, according to the final March Primary results tallied by the OC Registrar of Voters on Monday. 

Diep and Brough’s losses revealed divisions within the Orange County Republican Party, which withdrew its endorsement of Diep because of his labor union-friendly votes in Sacramento. And the party urged Brough to drop out of the race amid a flurry of allegations of sexual harassment and misuse of campaign funds. Brough denied all the allegations. 

Laguna Niguel Mayor Laurie Davies, a Republican, will face Democratic real estate broker Scott Rhinehart in November for Brough’s 73rd Assembly district seat. The district is a red one, with Republicans holding 41.3 percent of the district’s nearly 300,000 registered voters. Democrats make up just under 30 percent and No Party Preference voters hold out at just under 24 percent. 

Former state Sen. Janet Nguyen, a Republican, will compete against Garden Grove Councilwoman Diedre Nguyen, a Democrat, for Diep’s 72nd Assembly district seat — where voter registration is almost equal. Republicans have about 2,400 more registered voters than Democrats. No Party Preference voters make up a quarter of the district’s roughly 253,000 voters. 

Diedre Nguyen came from behind, when she was roughly 5,000 votes behind Diep for the second place spot on election night. On Monday’s final results, she was 835 votes ahead of Diep, a margin of less than 1 percent.

Garden Grove City Council member, Diedre Nguyen speaks to supporters at the Democratic Party of Orange County headquarters.

On election night, it seemed Diep had barely survived a tense mail and media battle with fellow Republican Janet Nguyen, also a OC Supervisor, for the 72nd Assembly district seat — also home to Little Saigon. 

Yet Diep also was hit with other independent mail campaigns with Uber and Lyft spending about $2 million to run ads against Diep for his support last year of the state law that classifies freelancers as employees if they work enough hours or produce enough of a certain type of product, according to the Wall Street Journal. The law has come under fire from various employers, including Lyft and Uber, who use freelancers and independent contractors. 

Assemblyman Steven Choi (R-Irvine) will face Democratic Irvine City Councilwoman Melissa Fox in November. Choi beat Fox by roughly 13,000 votes in the primary. 

California State Assemblyman Steven Choi leads the GOP watch party crowd in a pledge to allegiance in Newport beach on Tuesday, March 3, 2020. Credit: JULIE LEOPO, Voice of OC

The 68th Assembly District’s nearly 444,000 registered voters are almost split evenly between the two parties, with Republicans holding nearly 36 percent and Democrats at 34 percent. No Party Preference voters make up 26 percent of voters.   

And after nearly 34 years of being on the Santa Ana City Council, Democratic Mayor Miguel Pulido may soon see his first gap in holding public office after coming in third place in the 1st OC Supervisor District race. Pulido terms out as mayor this year. 

Supervisor Andrew Do, a Republican, will square off against Democratic Westminster Councilman Sergio Contreras in November. Pulido was behind Contreras by roughly 2,000 votes. 

Left, Sergio Contreras, Westminster City Councilmember and Miguel Pulido, Mayor of Santa Ana at the OC Board of Supervisors District 1 debate on Thursday, Feb. 20.

The district’s roughly 250,000 registered voters heavily lean Democratic at nearly 44 percent of voters, followed by No Party Preference at nearly 27 percent and Republicans at 25 percent. 

Republicans held onto the 3rd District seat when Supervisor Don Wagner defeated Democrat Ashleigh Aitken, an attorney, by 7,000 votes, or just about 5 percentage points. 

Don Wagner and his supporters at his watch party in Tustin, on Tuesday, March 3, 2020.

All of the OC’s Congressional delegation will advance to November — including the four districts national Democrats targeted in 2018, which the Republican incumbents lost. Most notably in 2018, nearly 30-year Congressman Dana Rohrabacher lost in the 48th District and longtime GOP Congressman Ed Royce retired in the 39th District. 

Republicans are looking to recapture the four key U.S. House of Representative seats they lost in 2018, which marked Orange County’s shift from a red to purple county. Democrats now slightly outnumber Republican voters countywide by 14,000 registered voters and the No Party Preference voters make up a quarter of the county’s nearly 1.64 million registered voters. 

Nationwide, Republicans need to hold on to the 197 Congressional seats they currently have and pick up at least 20 more to regain the majority of the 435-member House. 

Rep. Harley Rouda (D-Laguna Beach) will be squaring off against OC Supervisor Chairwoman Michelle Steel, a Republican, in November to represent the coastal 48th District. 

Michelle Steel arrives to the Orange County and state Republican Party event in Newport on March 3, 2020.

Republicans still hold a 6-point voter registration advantage over Democrats in the coastal district, outnumbering them by 25,000 voters. The No Party Preference (NPP) voters, who tend to lean Democratic, make up nearly a quarter of the district’s 424,000 registered voters. 

He pulled off an upset by unseating Rohrabacher by 21,000 votes, or 7 percent of ballots casted in 2018. 

Rep. Gil Cisneros (D-Yorba Linda) also scored an upset when he narrowly beat former Republican Assemblywoman Young Kim 2018. The two are set for a November rematch in a district spanning parts of North OC, San Bernardino County and Los Angeles County. 

Kim was ahead of Cisneros by roughly 2,700 votes Monday evening in the district where voter registration is almost evenly split, with Democrats at 35 percent and Republicans with nearly 33 percent of the district’s 387,000 registered voters. No Party Preference voters make up just over a quarter of voters. 

Last time the two squared off, Cisneros started off behind and eventually came back and beat Kim by less than 8,000 votes, or 3.2 percent. 

Rep. Katie Porter (D-Irvine) will face Republican Mission Viejo City Councilman Greg Raths in November in the 45th District. 

Republicans hold a slight edge in the 45th District at nearly 36 percent of the district’s roughly 440,000 registered voters. Democrats make up nearly 39 percent and No Party Preference clock in at 26.1 percent. 

Rep. Mike Levin (D-San Juan Capistrano) will face off against San Juan Capistrano Mayor Brian Maryott, a Republican, in November. They were the only two that qualified for the primary ballot in the southern 49th District. 

Republicans and Democrats are nearly tied in the southern Congressional district — each party holds roughly 34 percent of the 423,000 registered voters. No Party Preference voters make up 26 percent of the district. 

Spencer Custodio is a Voice of OC staff reporter. You can reach him at scustodio@voiceofoc.org. Follow him on Twitter @SpencerCustodio 

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