A host of competitive local, state and federal seats are up for grabs in the June primary election, which culminates this coming Tuesday, with voters’ choices affecting how government leaders – from the district attorney to judges and leaders at the federal, state and county level – will handle priorities like criminal justice, homelessness, public health, housing affordability and education.

Mail-in ballots have been sent out to all 1.8 million active registered voters in Orange County, with options of mailing back the ballot, dropping it off at any of the ballot drop boxes across the county, or delivering it to any vote center in the county.

Voters also have the option of casting their ballot in person at a vote center.

[Click here for more info on voting options.]

In local races, a handful of voters – sometimes as few as 15 or just one voter – can end up deciding who wins when the results are close.

Below is a summary of key races on the ballot.

Voice of OC also published answers candidates provided to questions generated by our newsroom and readers, which are available here.

Click on the links below to skip to a particular contest:

TABLE OF CONTENTS

District Attorney | County Supervisor | Superior Court Judge

County Assessor | County Clerk-Recorder | County Board of Education | County Superintendent of Schools

Congress | State Senate | State Assembly | City Ballot Measures

OC District Attorney

No local race has drawn as much attention as District Attorney, one of the most powerful positions in Orange County.

The DA gets to decide who gets prosecuted, who doesn’t, what kind of deals defendants get, and what types of crime get prioritized for prosecution – from low-level drug offenses to hate crimes to murder.

Incumbent DA Todd Spitzer swept into office in early 2019 on a message of cleaning up the DA’s office from the stain of an informants scandal that caused multiple murder convictions to be overturned.

Since then, he’s faced a series of controversies, including a wave of legal claims and memos by DA prosecutors alleging he complicated a mass shooting case by lying to an investigator, made racist comments when deciding whether to pursue the death penalty, and tried to retaliate against a female DA staffer who came forward about sexual harassment by a friend of Spitzer’s.

Spitzer, who is endorsed by the county Republican Party, denies the allegations.

His only challenger who’s mounted a significant campaign – Democratic Party-endorsed Peter Hardin – also faces his own controversy centered on the year or so he previously worked at the DA’s office.

A memo by Hardin’s then-supervisor raised concerns about Hardin developing a reputation as a “womanizer” who tried to date a former defendant and a witness in cases he prosecuted, and allegedly tried to break into the home of his mother’s child.

Hardin has denied those allegations, saying he was never confronted with them at the time. But his supervisor’s supervisor told Voice of OC he was a direct witness to the concerns being directly raised with Hardin at the time.

Spitzer is running on a platform of being tough on violent crime and protecting Orange County residents from the kind of LA crime wave he says is happening under LA County’s progressive DA George Gascón.

Hardin is running on a platform of criminal justice reform, including diversion programs for defendants dealing with mental health, drug and alcohol issues; ending the death penalty; and putting decisions on prosecuting police under an independent watchdog rather than the DA’s office.

The two other candidates – former DA prosecutor Mike Jacobs and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration lawyer Bryan Chehock – have not mounted the kind of significant campaign resources typically needed to win a countywide election. Both say they would bring fresh perspective to a DA’s office racked by scandals.

When Voice of OC asked readers what questions they want put to candidates, the most-requested question was whether they believe the last presidential election was stolen.

Hardin and Chehock said “No,” Jacobs said “Yes.”

Spitzer didn’t answer, calling the question “irrelevant” and instead criticized Hardin as being part of a “woke criminal justice movement” that puts public safety at risk.

Hardin criticized Spitzer on Twitter for not answering the question, pointing to a Politico article on recordings of national Republican Party strategists talking about creating a network of GOP-friendly DAs who could block vote counts in Democratic voter precincts.

Spitzer, meanwhile, has been reiterating his message that Hardin would make OC less safe – with the DA retweeting a post from the state GOP chair saying “Smash and grabs will continue to be the ‘norm’ in California until soft-on-crime, woke District Attorneys are voted out of office. It’s time to make crime illegal again.”

Click here to read each DA candidate’s answers to Voice of OC survey questions.

Click here to read our coverage of the DA’s race and the DA’s office.

Return to Table of Contents »

County Supervisor

Few officials have as much impact on local residents’ quality of life as county supervisors, five independently-elected officials who together oversee $8 billion in taxpayer spending on criminal justice, mental health, homelessness, public health, parks, libraries and myriad other priorities.

Orange County Board of Supervisors, 2nd District

The new 2nd District is OC’s first-ever Latino-majority supervisor district, and includes most of Anaheim as well as Santa Ana, east Garden Grove, Orange and Tustin.

This district leans heavily toward the Democratic Party in terms of voter registration. There’s a total of five candidates running for this seat, with two Democrats on the ballot: Santa Ana Mayor Vicente Sarmiento and Garden Grove Councilwoman Kim Nguyen.

Sarmiento points to his leadership of one of the largest cities in California along with his efforts during the Covid pandemic for rent relief and boosting vaccination access. He has the endorsement of the OC Democratic Party and Supervisor Katrina Foley.

The largest funding supporting Sarmiento has come from three sources: Woodland Hills-based plaintiff’s attorney Dale Galipo, who has sued on behalf of families of people killed by police in Santa Ana and Anaheim; Sarmiento’s sister Vicki Sarmiento’s Alhambra-based law firm; and HF Tile and Stone Inc., a Santa Ana-based countertops business run by Hugo Fernandez.

Each contributed $10,000 to a political action committee backing Sarmiento. Galipo and Vicki Sarmiento have been representing the family of Brandon Lopez – a cousin of Santa Ana Councilman Johnathan Hernandez who was shot and killed in Santa Ana by Anaheim police in September – as the family prepares for a lawsuit against the city of Anaheim.

Nguyen is running on having a plan to tackle the homelessness crisis and says she’s the only candidate with direct experience working with county agencies and the public health care plan CalOptima. She points to her endorsements from elected officials like Rep. Katie Porter (D-Irvine).

The biggest campaign support backing Nguyen is from the county sheriff’s deputies union, which has put around $140,000 into promoting her in the election, as of the beginning of June.

In response to Voice of OC’s candidate survey, Sarmiento said he opposes local agencies like the county sheriff notifying U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) when undocumented inmates are set to be released.

Nguyen said the sheriff should follow state law that limits such notifications, but that she supports transferring to ICE “the most dangerous criminals who are a clear threat to public safety.”

That prompted pushback from Tracy La, executive director of the progressive Vietnamese immigrant advocacy group VietRISE, who tweeted that she was seeing Nguyen “flip flop” on the issue and “throwing immigrant communities under the bus for political gain” – pointing to sheriff deputy-funded mailers for Nguyen.

Nguyen responded that she wasn’t flip flopping at all, saying she’s “marched, called for my reps to support the Vision Act, written letters and will continue to do so. I do however believe there needs to be amendments for serious crimes.”

Juan Villegas – a former Republican who has had no party preference since 2016 – and Cecilia “Ceci” Iglesias – a registered Republican – are former Santa Ana City Council members known for fiscal restraint and being lone votes against large raises for police officers that city staff said were far beyond the city’s financial means.

That stance later cost Iglesias her council seat, with the police union bankrolling a recall campaign that ousted her from office.

Republican Jon Dumitru, an Orange councilman, is running on a platform of better support for police and ending what he calls the county’s “goal” of ensuring housing and food for homeless people, saying that should instead be up to non-profits and churches.

There is no Republican Party endorsement in this race.

Click here to read the 2nd District supervisor candidates’ answers to Voice of OC survey questions.

Orange County Board of Supervisors, 4th District

This race – centered on Fullerton, West Anaheim Buena Park, and much of north and west Orange County – features something extremely rare in local politics.

In this Democrat-leaning district in terms of voter registration, the Democratic Party is endorsing against their own incumbent – Supervisor Doug Chaffee.

The OC Democratic Party is instead backing Buena Park Mayor Sunny Park – citing Chaffee siding frequently with his Republican supervisor colleagues on issues like mask mandates and beach closures during the pandemic and publicly criticizing Democrat Supervisor Katrina Foley for holding public coronavirus briefings with county staff.

Chaffee, meanwhile, points to his long experience in both city and county government, as well as his efforts to add homeless shelter beds and permanent supportive housing and supporting the creation of a mental health campus known as Be Well OC.

Republican Brea Mayor Steven Vargas – who has his party’s endorsement – is the only other candidate in the race, noting his current service as a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve and endorsements from many local Republican elected officials.

Click here to read the 4th District supervisor candidates’ answers to Voice of OC survey questions.

Orange County Board of Supervisors, 5th District

This race – centered on Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, part of Irvine and much of South County – could end up deciding which political party has a majority on the Board of Supervisors.

Supervisor Katrina Foley – a Democrat endorsed by her county party – is competing against three Republican challengers: former Assemblywoman Diane Harkey, state Sen. Pat Bates and Newport Beach Councilman Kevin Muldoon.

Local Republicans have had a major split among their party’s candidates, with the county party endorsing Harkey while Bates is backed by the heavy-hitting Republican fundraising group Lincoln Club of Orange County.

The county sheriff’s deputies union – which is the largest campaign spender in OC supervisor elections – is spending big for both Foley and Harkey.

The union has dropped over $160,000 for each of them on robocalls and other promotional support, as of the beginning of June.

Click here to read the 5th District supervisor candidates’ answers to Voice of OC survey questions.

Return to Table of Contents »

OC Superior Court Judge

Judicial races are among the toughest offices for voters to pick from because there’s such little information about the people campaigning to become judges. 

One of the few references for voters comes from the local bar association, which evaluates all the judge candidates and assigns them one of four ratings –from “Not Qualified” to “Exceptionally Well Qualified” –  without explaining the reasoning. 

Yet there are questions about the independence of the OC bar association ratings. 

This year, the ratings drew extra attention with a high-profile DA executive, Shawn Nelson, being rated “Not Qualified” – a rare rating for a DA official.

Yet the vice chair of the bar association’s evaluation panel for the judge ratings was Tracy Miller, a former senior DA prosecutor who has accused Nelson of wrongdoing in a legal claim against the DA’s office.

Miller and the bar association’s president didn’t respond to Voice of OC’s phone messages asking if Miller participated in evaluating Nelson for the ratings.

Click here to read each judge candidate’s answers to Voice of OC survey questions.

Superior Court Judge, Office No. 5

This race pits attorneys Kimberly La Salle and Daniel Espinosa against Claudia Alvarez, a Deputy DA prosecutor who formerly served on the Santa Ana City Council and faced controversy in 2011 for comparing a local Jewish businessman to Hitler.

The OC Bar Association rated all three candidates as “Qualified,” and there are no political party endorsements in this race.

Superior Court Judge, Office No. 9

This race pits Deputy DA prosecutor Christopher Duff against Superior Court Commissioner Joe Dane.

The OC Bar Association rated Dane as “Qualified” and Duff as “Exceptionally Well Qualified.”

The county Republican Party endorsed Duff, while there was no endorsement by the Democratic Party.

Superior Court Judge, Office No. 11

This race pits attorney Marc A. Gibbons against Chief Assistant DA Shawn Nelson.

Nelson has been accused – in a legal claim by a former senior DA prosecutor – of creating a work environment that silenced harassment victims, by improperly dismissing claims of sexual harassment against a senior DA executive that were later substantiated by a county investigation.

Nelson did not respond to a message for comment about that allegation against him when Voice of OC reported on it.

The OC Bar Association rated Gibbons as “Well Qualified” and Nelson as “Not Qualified.”

The county Republican Party endorsed Nelson, while the county Democratic Party endorsed Gibbons.

Superior Court Judge, Office No. 21

This race pits Deputy DA Erin Beltran Rowe against attorney Ray Brown.

The OC Bar Association rated both candidates as “Exceptionally Well Qualified”

The county Democratic Party endorsed Brown, while the Republican Party did not make an endorsement.

Superior Court Judge, Office No. 22

This race pits former Deputy DA Brahim Baytieh against attorney Fred Fascenelli and current LA County Deputy DA Craig E. Kleffman.

Baytieh – who is endorsed by dozens of current judges in Orange County and brought to light racial comments by DA Todd Spitzer when deciding on the death penalty – has faced controversy himself for failing to turn over informant evidence in a case he prosecuted, resulting in a murder conviction being overturned. He has denied any wrongdoing.

During the previous DA administration of Tony Rackaucakas, Baytieh was one of the DA’s most prominent defenders of prosecutors’ actions in an informant scandal that resulted in numerous overturned convictions – saying at a 2015 debate that no one “intentionally” hid evidence from defendants.

However, an appellate court found the DA’s office had participated in “intentional or negligent” withholding of information they were required to provide defendants, ruling that the violations were “systemic” and kicking the entire DA’s Office off the county’s largest mass murder case.

Baytieh isn’t the only candidate with controversy surrounding jailhouse evidence.

In 2018, prosecutors revealed that Kleffman led an operation to put recording devices where inmates are held at a courthouse, without getting a court order – raising concerns about inmates’ constitutional right to counsel. Kleffman has denied any wrongdoing, with the Los Angeles County DA’s office saying none of the prosecutors on the relevant cases listened to the recordings.

The OC Bar Association rated Baytieh as “Exceptionally Well Qualified,” Fascenelli as “Well Qualified” and Kleffman as “Not Qualified.”

Neither of the major political parties made an endorsement in this race.

Superior Court Judge, Office No. 28

This race pits Deputy DA Eric Scarbrough against family law attorney Jessica Cha, who ran unsuccessfully for Santa Ana City Council in 2016 with an endorsement from the city’s controversial police union.

The OC Bar Association rated Cha as “Qualified” and Scarbrough as “Well Qualified.”

The county Democratic Party endorsed Cha, while the Republican Party did not make an endorsement.

Superior Court Judge, Office No. 30

This race features attorney Benjamin Stauffer against Deputy Attorney General Peggy Huang, Riverside County Deputy DA Alma M. Hernandez, OC Superior Court Commissioner Michelle Bell and LA County Deputy DA Andrea Mader.

The OC Bar Association rated Hernandez and Mader as “Exceptionally Well Qualified,” Bell as “Well Qualified,” Huang as “Qualified” and Stauffer as “Not Qualified.”

The county Republican Party endorsed Huang – who ran for Congress in the last election as a Republican – while the Democratic Party endorsed Bell.

Superior Court Judge, Office No. 33

This race pits attorney Brett K. Wiseman against Orange County Deputy DA Steve McGreevy and attorney Thomas E. “Tom” Martin.

The OC Bar Association rated McGreevy as “Exceptionally Well Qualified,” Martin as “Qualified” and Wiseman as “Not Qualified.”

The county Republican Party endorsed McGreevy, while the Democratic Party did not endorse any candidate in this race.

Superior Court Judge, Office No. 45

This race pits Deputy DA Israel Claustro against Kevin Brian Jones, an attorney and commissioner for the Superior Court in Del Norte County, which borders Oregon.

The OC Bar Association rated both candidates as “Well Qualified.”

The county Democratic Party endorsed Claustro, while the Republican Party did not endorse any candidate in this race.

Return to Table of Contents »

County Assessor

This race features incumbent Assessor Claude Parrish (who’s endorsed by the county Republican Party) against real estate broker Rick Foster (who’s endorsed by the county Democratic Party) and former county assessor employee Larry Bales.

The assessor runs the agency that sets the official taxable values for the more than $670 billion in private properties within Orange County.

Parrish faced pushback in 2019 for not letting county auditors check the assessor’s computer systems for security vulnerabilities – something that hadn’t been checked since at least 1995.

Parrish said he agreed to an audit if it meets best practices to protect “sensitive and confidential information” from becoming public. But the county’s internal audit director said his team already does that – by keeping sensitive info out of public reports.

In 2015, Parrish was the subject of a lawsuit by two former employees – including Bales – who questioned his judgment. County officials confirmed they settled the case by paying $10,000 each to the former employees.

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County Clerk-Recorder

Incumbent Hugh Nguyen – who is endorsed by the OC Republican Party – is facing two challengers.

Steve Rocco, a former Orange Unified School District board member, has run for the office twice before and lost.

The other challenger, Sandy Kimble, lists her ballot title as “Supermarket Cashier/Realtor” and does not appear to have a campaign website.

The OC Democratic Party did not endorse anyone in the race.

Return to Table of Contents »

OC Board of Education

Voters have the power to shape a new majority on the Orange County Board of Education this year, in one of the only races that will be decided this June without moving to a runoff election. 

The board controls charter school approvals and interdistrict transfers for schools throughout the county, along with oversight of the county department of education, and challengers have very different ideas on how that should be managed than the current board supermajority, three of whom are on the ballot. 

Board of Education, Area 2

Mari Barke currently holds the seat and is a staunch supporter of charter schools, with an endorsement from the county Republican Party. 

Barke’s main opponent is Martha Fluor, a retired Newport-Mesa School District trustee who served on the school board for nearly three decades. She’s not endorsed by any political party, but has built up a warchest of campaign funds and is running on fiscal management. 

Christopher Ganiere, an architect, is also running for the seat, promising to reign in spending and make it easier to transfer between school districts. 

Click here to read each Board of Education candidate’s answers to Voice of OC survey questions and here for more detail on these races.

Board of Education, Area 4, Short Term

Republican Party-endorsed Tim Shaw is currently running to pick up his old seat on the board, which he is currently barred from serving on due to a lawsuit questioning his return to the board last December. 

Should he win the seat, it’s unclear what would happen to the court case against him, but he’s been a staunch member of the board’s four person conservative majority with a focus on charter schools and support of district transfers.  

His main opponent is Paulette Chaffee, wife of county Supervisor Doug Chaffee, who is endorsed by the county Democratic Party and has invested $200,000 of her own money into the race. 

Ellisa Kim and David Choi are also running for the seat, but haven’t created campaign websites, disclosed any donations or answered requests for comment from Voice of OC. 

Click here to read each Board of Education candidate’s answers to Voice of OC survey questions and here for more detail on these races.

Board of Education, Area 5

Republican Party-endorsed Lisa Sparks is running for reelection to her second term on the Board of Education, focusing primarily on increasing parents’ involvement in the classroom and access along with opening up options like charter schools. 

Her opponent, Democratic Party-endorsed Sherine Smith, has served in a variety of positions throughout south Orange County school districts, ending her career as the Laguna Beach Unified School District Superintendent. 

Smith said her goal is to take the board’s focus off of political infighting and focus on the classroom.

Click here to read each Board of Education candidate’s answers to Voice of OC survey questions and here for more detail on these races.

Return to Table of Contents »

County Superintendent of Schools

Voters will also get to pick their county superintendent for the first time in decades, with Stefan Bean challenging sitting superintendent Al Mijares for control of the county Department of Education. 

The superintendent manages the county Department of Education, which oversees and approves the budgets for all the county’s school districts, offers professional development and assists district staff on a variety of other issues.

Bean is a former charter school superintendent with close ties to current board chair Mari Barke, who’s promised to work alongside the board and “execute the will,” of the board while expanding options beyond public school for families. 

Mijares, who has served as superintendent since 2012, has frequently butted heads with the board of education, has advertised his experience in the position and says his goal is to allocate resources to the county’s 28 school districts. 

Click here to read each county superintendent candidate’s answers to Voice of OC survey questions and here for more detail on this race.

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Congress

U.S. House of Representatives, 38th District

In this heavily Democratic district (48 percent of registered voters to Republicans’ 22 percent), incumbent Democrat Linda Sánchez is facing off against two Republicans: Mayor of Walnut Eric Ching and pastor and business owner Ion ‘John’ Salega.

The district covers parts of both Los Angeles and Orange County including La Palma.

Ching is endorsed by the Republican Party.

U.S. House of Representatives, 40th District

Republican incumbent Young Kim is running in a new district this year against two other Republicans – Mission Viejo City Councilman Greg Raths and junk hauler Nick Taurus – and one Democrat, pulmonologist physician Dr. Asif Mahmood.

Raths’ name has been thrown out in ads from all sides during the campaign, with Kim’s campaign running ads characterizing him as a RINO, or Republican in Name Only, and Mahmood paying for a website that describes Raths as a far right Trump supporter. 

Raths mocked the Republican Party for investing more money in Kim’s primary campaign, asking if they were “afraid I might win and not be able to control me?” 

The demographics of Kim’s new district narrowly favor Republicans, who have a 5% registration advantage over Democrats, but nearly one in four of the district’s voters have no registered party affiliation. 

U.S. House of Representatives, 45th District

Republican Congresswoman Michelle Steel is running in the newly drawn 45th District which now stretches along most of the Orange County coastline, facing off against fellow Republican Long K. Pham – who’s a nuclear engineer – and Democrat Jay Chen, a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve. 

Steel was first elected to Congress in 2020, beating out Democrat Harley Rouda, but in the new district Democrats have a slim registration advantage of 5%, and just over one in four of the district’s voters have no party preference. 

U.S. House of Representatives, 46th District

Democrat Lou Correa is running for reelection in a strongly Democratic district against a slew of Republican challengers including attorney Christopher Gonzales, former Orange County Board of Education trustee Felix Rocha Jr. and businessman Mike Nguyen. 

In addition to his Republican challengers, Correa is also facing a challenge from fellow Democrat Mike Ortega, a biomedical engineer, and Ed Rushman, a technical project manager with no party affiliation. 

U.S. House of Representatives, 47th District

Katie Porter is running for reelection this year with one of the largest campaign war chests in Congress against several Republican opponents in a district with a slim Democrat advantage in voter registration of 1%. 

Former State Assemblyman Scott Baugh, who picked up the endorsement of the county Republican Party, documentarian Errol Webber, businesswoman Amy Phan West and small business owner Brian Burley are all running for the seat. 

U.S. House of Representatives, 49th District

Democratic Rep. Mike Levin is looking to defend the seat against a variety of Republican challengers including county Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, Oceanside City Councilman Christopher Rodriguez, sheriff deputy Josiah O’Neil, cybersecurity manager Renee Taylor and San Juan Capistrano City Councilman Bryan Maryott, who picked up the endorsement of the county Republican Party. 

Return to Table of Contents »

State Senate

State Senator, 30th District

Democrat State Senator Bob Archuleta is running for reelection in the 30th senate district, which runs along the northern edge of Orange County and into south LA County. 

State Senate, 32nd District

Republican Assemblyman and former fireman Kelly Seyarto is running for a state senate seat against Brian Nash, a businessman and self described political outsider from Riverside County. 

The district includes Yorba Linda, but beyond that stretches into San Bernardino, Riverside and San Diego counties. 

State Senate, 34th District

Democrat State Senator Tom Umberg is facing off against Republican Placentia Mayor Rhonda Shader.

The district favors the Democrats, with about 48% of voters registered as Democrats and about 22% registered as Republicans.

State Senate, 36th District

Republican Assemblywoman Janet Nguyen is facing off against Democratic Huntington Beach City Councilwoman Kim Carr in this race.

Nguyen is endorsed by the Republican party and Carr is endorsed by the Democrats.

In the district, about 34% of voters are registered as Democrats and 36% are registered as Republican.

State Senate, 38th District

Encinitas Mayor and Democrat Catherine Blakespear is running against Democrat and retired fire captain Joe Kerr as well as Republican small business owner Matt Gunderson.

Blakespear is endorsed by Democrats and Gunderson is endorsed by the Republicans.

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State Assembly

State Assembly, 59th District

Republican Assemblyman Phillip Chen is running unopposed in this race.

State Assembly, 64th District

Five Democrats are facing off against Republican pest control manager Raul Ortiz, Jr in a district where 51% of voters are registered as Democrats.

The Democrats are: La Habra Councilwoman Rose Espinoza, Downey Mayor Blanca Pacheco, Cudahy Mayor Elizabeth Alcantar, Norwalk Vice Mayor Ana Valencia and Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District Board Member Roberto Cancio.

State Assembly, 67th District

Democratic Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva is running against Democrat and Defense Contract Manager Param Brar and two Republicans – ABC Unified School Board President Soo Yoo and Sou Moua, a former Stanton planning commissioner.

Yoo is endorsed by the Republican party.

Around 44% of registered voters in the district are Democrats and about 27% of voters registered as Republican.

State Assembly, 68th District

In a race without an incumbent, two Republicans are facing off against two Democrats to represent this district.

The two Republicans are commercial decorator James Wallace and small business owner Mike Tardif – who is suing OC Board of Education member Beckie Gomez for serving on the board and the Tustin city council simultaneously.

Tardif is endorsed by the Republican Party.

Among the Democratic candidates is Anaheim Councilman Avelino Valencia, who is also a staff director for Assemblyman Tom Daly.

Residents spoke out recently against Valencia after an FBI corruption investigation into Former Mayor Harry Sidhu came to light last month. 

While Valencia was one of the first people on the dais to call for Sidhu’s resignation, some residents have questioned from the podium whether his push for the discussion was motivated by transparency or the fact he was running this year for a seat on the State Assembly.

They have also criticized him for taking campaign contributions from the same special interests as Sidhu.

In response, Valencia said publicly at a city council meeting that he returned some of those contributions in light of the FBI investigation and after being called out by residents.

His opponent and the other Democrat in the race, Bulmaro “Boomer” Vicente has called on Valencia to drop out of the race in light of the corruption probe and for the Democratic Party to withhold endorsements from candidates who take money from special interest groups.

Vicente serves as policy director for Chispa, a local Latino political group.

State Assembly, 70th District

In this newly created district, Five Republicans will face off against Democrat and Garden Grove Councilwoman Diedre Nguyen.

The Republicans are: Fountain Valley Councilman Ted Bui, Westminster Councilwoman Kimberly Ho, Westminster Mayor Tri Ta, Westminster City Commissioner Jason Gray as well as Los Alamitos Business Woman Emily Hibard.

The district favors Democrats, with 37% of voters registered as Democrats and 33% of voters registered as Republicans.

State Assembly, 71st District

Republican Temecula Mayor Matt Rahn is running against fellow Republican and Business Woman Katie Sanchez.

State Assembly, 72nd District

Republican Newport Beach Councilwoman Diane Dixon is running against fellow Republican and businessman Benjamin Yu as well as Democrat businesswoman Judie Mancuso.

Dixon is endorsed by the Republican party and Mancuso is endorsed by the Democratic party.

State Assembly, 73rd District

Two incumbents are battling off for this newly redrawn district.

Democratic Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris is running against Republican Assemblyman Steven Choi.

The district favors Democrats, with 40% of voters registered as Democrats while about 27% are registered as Republicans.

State Assembly, 74th District

Republican incumbent Assemblywoman Laurie Davies is facing off against Democratic San Clemente Councilman Chris Duncan to represent the newly created district that stretches into San Diego county.

It is expected to be a competitive race with 35% of voters registered as Republicans and 35% of voters registered as Democrats.

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City Ballot Measures 

City of Huntington Beach Measure A – Cannabis Tax

Voters in Huntington Beach will decide if they want to create a cannabis business tax for commercial businesses even though recreational cannabis businesses in the city are currently illegal.

A “yes” vote would support authorizing a special tax on commercial cannabis businesses if they ever become legal in the city. A “no” vote would not support creation of the tax.

City staff estimated in March that with a tax rate of up to 6% on cannabis retailers and up to 1% on other cannabis businesses, the legalization of cannabis businesses could rake in about $300,000-$600,000 annually.

The special tax would need two thirds of voter support to be approved.

Click here to read more about the measure.

City of Newport Beach Measure B – Directly Elect the Mayor 

Voters in Newport Beach will decide if they want to amend their city charter so they can directly elect their Mayor through a vote for a four year term.

Currently the mayor is picked through a majority vote by the council and serves in the role for a year — a practice followed by many cities throughout OC.

One of the main concerns from critics of the ballot measure is that it would also give the mayor the power to set meeting agendas without support of council members and sidelining the city manager. 

Proponents like the idea of an elected official being able to set the agenda and being able to pick directly who gets to sit at the center of the dais.

Under the measure, if three or more council members agree on an issue they want to discuss or act on at a public meeting, the issue is added to a future city council meeting agenda. This is allowed under the current city charter.

A “yes” vote would support an amendment to the city charter to allow voters to directly pick their mayor. A “no” vote would support keeping the charter as is.

Click here to read more about the measure.

City of Westminster Measure C – Eliminate Office of Mayor and Increase Number of Council Members and Districts 

Voters in Westminster will decide if they want to eliminate the at-large mayor position and increase the number of council members on the dais from four to five.

If approved, council members would select one person from among themselves to serve as the mayor.

A “yes” vote would support removing the office of mayor and increasing the number of council members and the districts they represent from four to five. A “no” vote would not support a change.

Correction: An earlier version of this story identified state Assemblywoman Janet Nguyen as a candidate in the 70th assembly district, when she is a candidate in the 36th state senate district. We regret the error. 

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