Every election has a different mix of razor-thin margins. 

This season, a northwest Orange County contest for state Assembly has turned into an unexpected nail-biter between a longtime Democratic incumbent and a Republican school board member from Cerritos.

Republican challenger Soo Yoo was leading incumbent Democrat Sharon Quirk-Silva by two votes on Wednesday for the 67th Assembly District. 

That was out of 68,000 votes counted in the race at that point.

But after another 3,000 or so ballots were counted, Quirk-Silva pulled ahead Thursday evening.

She was leading by 545 votes in Thursday’s update.

And it came despite Democrats having an 18-point advantage in voter registration in the district, which includes West Anaheim, Fullerton, Buena Park, Cypress, La Palma and the LA County cities of Hawaiian Gardens, Cerritos and Artesia.

Due to redistricting, Quirk-Silva is running in a new district.

The new district boundaries include more of a Democrat voter registration advantage than the one she was elected to in 2020 – that was solely contained in Orange County.

Quirk-Silva is no stranger to tight races. This northwestern corner of OC has been competitive for years.

In 2014, she lost her seat to Republican Young Kim, but later regained it.

Kim later won election to Congress in 2020 and is comfortably ahead in current election results.

It could take another week or longer to know the final result of this week’s election, as ballot counting continues.

Hundreds of thousands of ballots remain to be counted across Orange County.

Click here to read how Quirk-Silva answered a series of questions before the election from Voice of OC reporters and readers. Yoo also was invited to participate but did not do so.

Nick Gerda covers county government for Voice of OC. You can contact him at ngerda@voiceofoc.org.

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