OC Political — my favorite local Republican website, because at its best it gives us the neatly arranged straight dope — is weighing in on SD-34, in which Democratic hopes currently depend on the appeal of Jose Solorio and (more likely) the prospect that Janet Nguyen will be tanked by the Cal-Optima scandal too late in the game for someone like Jim Silva or Van Tran to enter the race.
So I’m just going to invoke “Fair Use” and quote from the following perspicacious analysis by our friends in the elephant herd: SD-34: Nguyen Outraises Solorio in 2013, Solorio Dependent on Old Sacramento Money. Credit here goes to Chris Nguyen — who assures us in his piece that he is not related to Janet, although the way he words it does not actually rule out the possibility of his being her ex-husband. (Which, as I understand it, he is not.)
|Expenditures||Cash on Hand
|Nguyen for Senate||$0||$105,750||$1,278||$6,507||$104,243||$102,965|
|Nguyen for Supervisor||$408,496||$65,345||$15,220||$126,966||$346,924||$331,704|
|Solorio for Senate||$304,802||$64,420||$1,810||$16,185||$353,042||$351,232|
|Solorio for College Board||$10,068||$3,200||$0||$13,969||$292||$292|
|Solorio Ballot Measure||$105,636||$2,500||$229||$3,507||$104,628||$104,339|
|Notes: Figures may be off by one dollar due to rounding.|
SD-34 is 38.4% Democrats, 35.8% Republicans, 21.0% No Party Preference voters, and 4.8% third party voters. 87.8% of SD-34 voters are from Orange County while 12.2% are from Los Angeles County. With lower voter turnout in November 2014 due to a lack of the presidential race, this should favor the Republican (Nguyen) against the Democrat (Solorio), as Republicans tend to have higher voter turnout than Democrats do.
It appears Nguyen and Solorio sit in relatively even positions with over $400,000 cash-on-hand each, but fundraising momentum rests with Nguyen. Furthermore, her office as a member of the Orange County Board of Supervisors is a better perch from which to raise money than Solorio’s perch on the Rancho Santiago Community College Board.
I disagree with Chris in this sole respect: I’m not sure that we’ll see the usual Republican turnout advantage here. The well-liked Al Lowenthal is almost as well-situated as Jerry Brown to kick the snot out of whichever Republican who runs against him; the overlapping Supervisorial and Assembly races not likely to ignite the imagination of voters. (Hey, maybe Jim Moreno or Joe Dovinh will catch fire — but maybe neither makes their runoff, either. Money talks.)
Non-Presidential year notwithstanding, this should be a Democratic district — but the ideological difference between Solorio and Nguyen in votes that matter may not be enough for well-heeled Democrats to pony up. (Winning the race does, after all, raise the possibility of dealing with Solorio as the swing vote in the State Senate. What fun.)
Any one of four Democrats looking for a political home could probably squash Janet Nguyen more effectively than Solorio. (Do you think that they’re too liberal for the district? I think that that doesn’t much matter given enough money and enough scandal.) All but maybe one would have to move here — but as Mimi Walters proved last year, “moving” to a new State Senate district does not actually involve, well, moving. I’ll try to place each of them in a new home — or abandoned apartment — if they’re interested.
(1) Assembly Speaker John Perez
Perez, who is termed out of the Assembly next year, is reportedly looking for someplace to land. He’s now being mentioned as a candidate for the Controller race. Betty Yee has been aiming at that spot for years and is by far the most qualified candidate), but she’s not scaring off challengers such as Wendy Greuel from sniffing around. That many people running for the same seat is a recipe for disaster — and Perez will be bored. Perez should let Yee take that seat, move (or “Mimi move”) to Belmont Shores, which is awfully gay friendly, and then spend much of his time in OC spreading his presence from Bolsa Chica to Anaheim to Cypress. He will be dominant, he will be a party hero for keeping the seat, and he will stay there for eight years until he runs for a real State Executive office in 2022. I will be a thorn in his side here in OC, I’m sure, but plenty of people around here will tell him that one can get used to it.
(2) LA Mayor Candidate Wendy Greuel
Speaking of Wendy Greuel, whose Mayoral campaign I publicly reviled, she also has the scratch to come in here and blow Janet Nguyen out of the water. Is she the Belmont Shores type? I tend to think not, even for a fake abode. Someplace closer to an actual university might be better. In this district, that’s pretty much going to be Cal State Long Beach, where she can have her choice of nice neighborhoods named after the Bixby. I don’t know whether she would actually have to campaign here to win. She’d be able to serve three full terms. I would also be a thorn in her side, but see above.
(3) Board of Equalization Member Betty Yee
Yee is not the voracious fundraiser that Perez has been, nor as wealthy as Greuel — so she could, sadly, potentially be squeezed out of the Controller race by the bigger dogs. If that happens, where could she go? SD-34, that’s where! She’d be a wonderful addition to Huntington Beach’s tony but homey shoreline — maybe Huntington Harbour, if she wants to do some fundraising? She would not only save the state party majority but would help build and activate the Asian Democratic community in OC — in part simply by rejecting the sort of machinations that will be dogging Janet Nguyen for the next year. I would not be a thorn in her side, not one bit.
(4) Assembly Member Bonnie Lowenthal
I have no idea whether Asmb. Lowenthal of Long Beach lives in the district, but if she doesn’t she’d probably have to move a few miles at most to fix that problem. I also have no idea why she’s not running for a seat in the body that this time last year still hosted her ex-husband. I mean, seriously: there are going to be “Lowenthal for Congress” signs all over the place next year”; a few “Lowenthal for State Senate” signs could easily build what would already be high name recognition. She’d be a very good representative, too. (Where should she go live, if she needs to move? Do you really think I’m going to try to school her about Long Beach?) Can she raise enough money? I don’t know — but in this district she’d probably have help comparable to that on its way to Sharon Quirk-Silva in AD-65, which I expect to be substantial. (Cypress and Stanton — you’re either good for a great time or a horrible one, depending on how much you like political ads.) She’d be a reliable party vote in a way that Solorio would not, especially in committees — and that’s worth something.
So yes, Chris Nguyen, Solorio may be having fundraising problems — but happily, we Democrats still have options. Those options ought to be explored.