Garden Grove political update

I spoke at length the other day with a Garden Grove community leader who had quite a bit to say about the political scene in his city. Mayor Bruce Broadwater is finally termed out, and there are at least three candidates vying for his seat, including: Mark Leyes, a City Councilman who recently lost in the primary for the 68th Assembly District; Bill Dalton, who also serves on the City Council; and a Vietnamese candidate. I have not been able to identify with certainty the latter, however I believe it is Van Vo. He also ran in the Davis recall election as a Republican. Vo is a registered Republican, as are Leyes and Dalton. He identifies himself as a radio producer and businessman.

Van Tran’s primary victory against Leyes has opened up a seat on the Garden Grove City Council. Mark Rosen’s seat is also up for reelection. My friend indicated that there are many candidates considering running for these seats. Chief amongst them is Janet Nguyen, who used to work for Ken Maddox, the termed out Assemblyman in the 68th District. Maddox by the way is rumored to be going to work for one of the Indian casino tribes. If that happens I will be surprised – I figured he would be going to work for a labor union. My readers might recall that Maddox probably cost himself his political future by backing the Orange County PLA (project labor agreement).

Will Maddox’ failure as a politician affect Nguyen’s campaign? That is hard to say, but about a third of the electorate in Garden Grove is comprised of Vietnamese-American voters. Leyes and Broadwater may split the rest of the vote, possibly allowing Vo to become Mayor. At the Council level, Nguyen is one of two Vietnamese candidates. They just might prevail against a very large array of candidates.

Van Tran seems to be staying out of all this, but there are rumors abounding that he is working with the other Vietnamese candidates behind closed doors. During his campaign against Leyes, Tran was accused of registering Vietnamese Democrat voters as Republicans in order to prevail against Leyes. If he is indeed orchestrating the campaigns of Nguyen, Vo and the other Vietnamese council candidate, Tran is running the risk of being perceived as a kingmaker for his community. On the other hand, he is clearly becoming one of the most powerful Republicans in Orange County and he is young enough and connected enough to be a player locally for years to come. He may eventually become a threat to Loretta Sanchez, the infamous Democrat who serves Garden Grove, Santa Ana and part of Anaheim in the 47th Congressional District.


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