Who might replace Loretta Sanchez or Jose Solorio?

Earlier this week we revealed that former State Senator Joe Dunn is considering running for Ward 3 of the Santa Ana City Council, against the sole Republican on that Council, Carlos “Space Commander” Bustamante. It is my understanding that Dunn is considering making this move so he can be in position to run for Congress if U.S. Representative Loretta Sanchez moves on in the next few years to other endeavors.

While sitting on the Council would give Dunn a local title to run with, he won’t be the only one vying for Sanchez’ seat. Or for Assemblyman Jose Solorio’s seat in the state legislature. So let’s take a look at what those races might look like.

47th Congressional District

This is the big one. You can expect State Senator Lou Correa to toss his hat in the ring in addition to Dunn. But why stop there? Other local Democrats who might want to replace Sanchez include Santa Ana Councilwomen Claudia Alvarez and Michele Martinez, and Councilmen Vince Sarmiento and David Benavides. But realistically this race would come down to Dunn vs. Correa, in a match-up of heavyweights that would likely tear the local Democratic Party in half.

In the meantime, GOP Assemblyman Van Tran would likely run from the Republican side of the ticket. Other Republicans who might try to take Sanchez’ seat include Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle (not sure if he lives in the district, but much of Anaheim does lie in the 47th); O.C. Board of Education Member Alexandria Coronado; O.C. Supervisor Chris Norby, who would have to move to the sliver of Fullerton that is in the 47th; and O.C. Supervisor Janet Nguyen.

But it is likely that either Dunn or Correa would edge out the eventual Republican candidate. So who would win in a Dunn vs. Correa contest?

Dunn is very popular with the OC Democratic Party base. Correa is not. But Correa would likely do very well with the district’s Latino voters, who presumably would not want to replace Sanchez with a white guy. Correa would also attract independents and some Republicans, especially if Tran was the GOP candidate. Supervisor Nguyen would actually be a bigger threat to the Democrats in this scenario than Tran would be.

I think Correa would win this race. But it would be a bitter battle and the OC Democratic Party would be left in tatters.

69th Assembly District

Assemblyman Jose Solorio will term out in a couple of years, unleashing a mad scramble for his seat, which favors the Democrats more than the 47th Congressional District does.

Dunn would be an obvious candidate for this seat, since he already has served in the State Senate. Other possible Democratic candidates would include most of the Santa Ana City Council. It would be hilarious to see Councilman Sal Tinajero and Councilwoman Claudia Alvarez, who are currently chummy, at each other’s throat!

But given the dysfunctional nature of the Santa Ana City Council, you have to believe that Dunn would prevail over his “keystone cop” peers.

The OC GOP would likely have no candidate to oppose Dunn. By the time Solorio terms out, Santa Ana Councilman Carlos “Space Commander” Bustamante will have been off the City Council for a couple of years. He would be a total afterthought. I doubt that O.C. Supervisor Janet Nguyen would be interested in this seat. Republican SAUSD Trustees Rob Richardson and Rosie Avila have little hope of being reelected to the SAUSD Board of Trustees, much less the 69th Assembly District.

Most likely Dunn would end up running against an unknown college Republican. And Dunn would beat him senseless.

But of course Dunn needs a political title. I hope he goes after the Space Commander. As I wrote before, “Councilman” Joe Dunn has a nice ring to it!

By the way, I would be remiss if I did not note that Dunn might we be Mayor of Santa Ana by the time he has a chance to run for the Congress or the State Assembly. If Pulido moves on, either via indictment or by becoming Ambassador to Mexico, Dunn would be the top candidate to replace him. Who could possibly take Councilmen Vince Sarmiento, David Benavides or Carlos Bustamante seriously against Joe Dunn? Not me.

And if Joe Dunn was the Mayor of Santa Ana, he would have an even loftier title to use while running for either Congress or the State Assembly. That would be bad news for his Democratic opponents…

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"Admin" is just editors Vern Nelson, Greg Diamond, or Ryan Cantor sharing something that they mostly didn't write themselves, but think you should see. Before December 2010, "Admin" may have been former blog owner Art Pedroza.