2020 Primary Snakes, bipartisan edition!




Are there ever primaries without dirty tricks?  I’ll leave it to historians to discover any.  But for every dirty primary trick there exists at least one “Primary Snake” primarily responsible for it, and we have at least two this month.

This writer is on record saying he doesn’t care too much if we Democrats get more than a super-majority in the state senate and assembly … UNLESS – unless the Democrat is particularly good, independent and progressive, OR the Republican is especially bad.

And both those conditions obtain in the race for 72nd Assembly District, which was all set to be a death-match between two absolutely loathesome Little Saigon Republicans (Janet Nguyen and Tyler Diep) unless our endorsed candidate, biologist, community organizer and progressive Democrat Diedre Thu-Ha Nguyen (right), broke into the top two in the March primary.

And Diedre made it, finally besting second-place Tyler with late-counted votes about a week after election day.  But her progress was as slow and painful as that of the man in the Dali-Bunuel film “Un Chien Andalou” who has to lug two grand pianos, two dead donkeys and two clergymen behind him to get to his destination.

In Diedre’s case, it wasn’t so much grand pianos, dead donkeys and clergymen that held back her progress so stubbornly, as it was a second, mysterious, “Democratic” candidate that nobody ever heard of, one Bijan Mohseni.  Turns out Bijan had been a Republican until right before filing to run for assembly as a Democrat, and had also lived outside the district in Cypress until finding a quick Westminster apartment at the same time!  But he did get nearly 15% of the vote, and a lot of funding from Republican sources like the Lincoln Club and the Republican State Assembly fund, nearly knocking Diedre out of the top two.  Can you say “spoiler,” or “fraud?”

Diep, and last election’s pretend assembly candidate Laird.

This does sound like a trick that Tyler Diep‘s crowd (left) would engineer.  Two years ago we wrote about how Tyler ran a second white HB Republican “businessman” (the wayward, ne’er-do-well son of his campaign co-chair Ed Laird, LOL!) in the primary, to make it easier for Tyler to beat out the other, more serious white Republican businessman. 

One Republican who maxed out to Bijan this year was one Michael Carroll, who also shares an employer (Latham and Watkins) with the candidate.

[Here our story as originally planned falls apart a bit – further research reveals there are TWO well-off Republican Michael Carrolls in the south county – the Bijan-backing Latham whiz who looks like Greg Kinear (below) and the snakey Irvine Mayor Pro-Tem off-and-on registered Republican Mike Carroll (below) who was shamefully appointed by “Democrat” Farrah Khan (below), when, if she had joined her fellow Democrat Melissa Fox in backing another Dem and creating a council tie, the vote would have gone to Irvine voters who now have an overwhelming Democratic registration advantage.  Even as of two nights ago, Farrah is still voting slavishly with Irvine’s Republican council majority, removing all teeth from the town’s COVID eviction faux-moratorium, reportedly  both out of terror of the omnipotent Irvine Company and at the urging of her patron, paid FivePoint flack Melahat Rafiei (below) – Farrah is sounding an awful lot like Irvine’s Jordan Brandman to me! Anyway that’s how Mike Carroll ended up in our Primary-Snake photoshop, and he can stay there – there’s a little Bijan near the bottom anyway.]

Bijan’s Michael Carroll, Farrah’s Mike Carroll, Farrah, Melahat.

While we’re snooping around in the South County, and also speaking of powerful Democrats who have a lotta nerve accusing other Democrats of being bad Democrats, did you hear the one about former DPOC head Fran Sdao (who we THOUGHT had moved to DC to be with her husband in his new job) backing one Chris Duncan in the primary, against solid DPOC-endorsed AD-73 candidate Scott Rhinehart?  And just like in Diedre’s race, Fran did manage to keep both Democrats down below the top two Republicans, at least as of late Election Day night:

“Wait a second!” you exclaim, briefly disrupted from your slumber, “Did you say FRAN SDAO did that?  Wasn’t she – back when she ran the DPOC not long ago – the Queen Inquisitor against any DPOC member who would dare to even back a passable Republican (like Todd Spitzer) against a catastrophic Republican (like Tony Rackauckas) when there wasn’t even a Dem in the race?  And here she is, with her closest DPOC buddies, parading around with this Chris Duncan even after the party votes to endorse Rhinehart?  Furthermore I thought the woman moved to DC!  What gives?”

Sdao “hearts” Duncan

“Well…” you continue thoughtfully, “Chris must be really good!”  Pero no.  A perusal of Chris’ and Scott’s “issues” pages shows Chris to be way to the right of Scott, possibly even to the right of (sadly disgraced) Republican incumbent Bill Brough.  Chris’s page focuses on “common sense” and “nonpartisanship,” sounding like Daly or Correa.  Scott talks about healthcare, economic equality, pollution and gun control – issues Chris doesn’t touch.  Chris boasts about a career in homeland security, an opposition to taxes, and frets that – although climate change is regrettably real – some regulations might be too burdensome!  It really sounds like we’ve got an R-D matchup right here between Chris and Scott – is that what Fran prefers?  But it’s possible Chris just has more money than Scott – Fran has a well-known fetish for candidates who can “self-fund.”

Well, it’s water under the bridge now – despite the efforts of Fran and others, both Diedre and Scott Rhinehart did eventually make it into the top two after late vote counts, to take on Republicans Janet Nguyen and Laurie Davies.  So let’s forget about all the 2020 Primary Snakes for now, and give Diedre and Scott all our support in the summer and fall!


About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at vernpnelson@gmail.com, or 714-235-VERN.