Democrat Dave Min, a political newcomer, was leading Republican state Sen. John Moorlach on Election Day in a district where voter registration is nearly even between Democrats and Republicans.
Min has never held elected office, but cited his experience as a law professor at UC Irvine and a senior congressional adviser as his credentials.
He’s largely walked the Democratic party line, calling for Medicare for All and renewed action on climate change, pointing to COVID-19 and the recent wildfires as a reason that major change needs to be made at the state level.
Moorlach has been a major figure in Orange County since the 1990s, when he was appointed as county treasurer following the county’s bankruptcy. He went on to serve on the county Board of Supervisors, and came into the state senate in a special election in 2015.
The former county supervisor points to his experience in public finance and his work on helping with mental health services at the county and state level for the homeless.
While Democrats and Republicans are evenly split, the no party preference voters could be the deciding factor in the race.
The two parties each have roughly 35 percent of the vote, while the no party preference voters make up a quarter of the district’s registered voters.