Republican state Assemblyman Bill Brough (R-Dana Point) apparently was knocked from his seat in Tuesday’s primary, with the latest results Wednesday showing him in fourth place.
If the results still hold when vote counting is over, it will be a rare case in Orange County of a state legislator failing to make it to the November runoff for their seat.
In state Assembly races, only the top two vote-getters advance to the November runoff election. In Brough’s 73rd District, the top two currently are Laguna Niguel Mayor Laurie Davies and Democratic realtor Scott Rhinehart.
Another incumbent Republican state Assemblyman, Tyler Diep of Westminster, was in second place to another Republican – former state Sen. Janet Nguyen – in the latest results for his 72nd District seat.
Still, Republicans appear to be leading Democrats overall across Orange County for the top two positions to head to the November runoffs for the county’s nine state legislative races in Orange County.
Vote counting will continue until at least Friday evening.
While Democrats make up the majority of seats in Sacramento, Republicans currently hold a majority of state-level seats in Orange County. Latest election trends continued to show 10 Republicans and eight Democrats in the top two positions to advance to November.
In the 73rd Assembly District, the Wednesday evening update had Davies leading by nearly 6 percentage points in front of Rhinehart, and nearly 10 percentage points over Brough, whose party asked him to drop out after multiple women alleged he harassed them, which he denied. He was also accused of misusing campaign funds, which he disputed.
In the 72nd State Assembly District, latest election results had Nguyen leading by around 8.5 percentage points over Diep, the incumbent, in the contest to represent a district that encompasses Orange County’s Little Saigon.
In the competitive 29th state Senate District, which stretches across three counties, incumbent Republican Ling Ling Chang was leading by around 16.5 percentage points over Democrat Josh Newman, who is attempting a comeback following his recall from the same seat in 2018 over his support of a statewide gas tax measure.
In the 55th Assembly District, which also stretches across three counties, incumbent Republican Assemblyman Phillip Chen was leading by 16 percentage points over Democratic challenger Andrew Rodriguez.
And in the 74th State Assembly District — where a Democrat holds office in a primarily red electorate — incumbent Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris was leading by about 22 percentage points over Republican challenger and Newport Beach Councilwoman Diane Dixon.
Early elections results also showed Republican incumbent John Moorlach leading by nearly 24 percentage points in the 37th Senate District, Democratic incumbent State Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva leading by around 10.5 percentage points in the 65th Assembly District, former Irvine Mayor Steven Choi leading by 13 percentage points for the 68th Assembly District, and Democratic incumbent Tom Daly leading by nearly 42 percentage points for the 69th Assembly District.
The primary results for Orange County’s state-level races will determine who will represent the county in Sacramento.
Two races that generated significant attention this year have been the 72nd and 73rd Assembly districts, which have generated tension among county Republican Party officials.
Diep’s reelection bid for the 72nd District comes as his own party has dropped its endorsement for him over his support for labor union-friendly policies at the state level.
Nguyen, his opponent, is a fellow Republican and Vietnamese American who formerly was a county supervisor and state senator.
If they both end up in the top two, voters in the district will have to decide between which of the two Republican candidates they prefer for the seat.
The two others who sought the seat — Bijan Mohseni, an LGBTQ+ rights attorney, and Deidre Nguyen, a Garden Grove City Councilwoman — are both Democrats.
Of the district’s nearly 253,000 registered voters, 86,000 are registered as Democrats, while Republicans still hold a majority of nearly 89,000 registered voters.
In the most recent election in 2018, Diep won his seat with 52 percent of the district’s voters, while his opponent, Democrat Josh Lowenthal, got 48 percent.
In south Orange County, Brough was hit with a slew of wrongdoing accusations against him. They included sexual harassment allegations from multiple women, including Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett. Brough denied wrongdoing.
Brough was first elected in 2014, and won his last election in 2018 with 56 percent of the vote while his opponent, Rhinehart, got 43 percent.
Of the district’s 298,000 registered voters, Republicans have maintained the lead in registration with 123,000 registered voters, while Democrats by comparison count nearly 88,000 registered voters.
Brandon Pho is a Voice of OC reporting fellow. Contact him at [email protected] or on Twitter @photherecord.