Lt. Commander Jay Chen endorses Derek Tran for CD 45.

Longtime OJ friend Navy Lieutenant Commander Jay Chen, who ran against Michelle Steel in ’22, has endorsed fellow veteran Derek Tran in this year’s race for the same seat. Derek will first have to beat Party favorite Kim Bernice Nguyen-Penaloza (and some other Democrat lady who’s a social media star) in the upcoming primary.

Of course the most important thing is: Who can beat the odious, race-baiting MAGA Republican Steel, and help regain our Democratic Majority in Congress? More and more people are thinking that is Derek.

Kim has the support of the County and State Party, and Derek is a later entry, but his fundraising has been leapfrogging over Kim’s, and his endorsements and background are impressive. And Kim is part of a conservative Democratic clique in this county, strongly supported by police and sheriff unions – which tends to make us favor Derek.

We are still waiting to do our Derek Tran interview. Here’s the latest press release:


Lt. Commander Jay Chen Endorses Derek Tran In CA-45

Former Democratic Nominee Against Michelle Steel Backs Tran

Garden Grove, CA — Today, Workers’ Rights Advocate, U.S. Army Veteran, Consumer Rights Attorney, City Commissioner, and Small Business Owner Derek Tran, who is running in California’s 45th Congressional District, announced the endorsement of Mt. San Antonio College Trustee and the 2022 Democratic nominee in CA-45, Lt. Commander Jay Chen. In 2022 Lt. Commander Chen came within 4 points of defeating Michelle Steel, despite being outspent 3 to 1. The DCCC has listed CA-45 as a “District in Play” for the 2024 cycle.

“I’m proud to announce my strong endorsement of Derek Tran for Congress,” said Lt. Commander Chen. “As someone who has fought Michelle Steel and her underhanded attacks, I know that Democrats need to coalesce around the strongest candidate who isn’t afraid to punch back. Derek is that person: as a son of Vietnamese refugees, a workers’ rights advocate, a veteran, and a father, I trust Derek to finally defeat Steel and to have our backs in Congress.”

Chen’s endorsement comes on the heels of strong poll numbers for Tran, over $500,000 raised in just three months, and a series of high-profile endorsements which include; VoteVets, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, Chair of the California House Democratic Delegation, Rep. Mark Takano, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, and Rep. Judy Chu, Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. A full endorsement list can be seen here.


California’s 45th is a Congressional District representing portions of Orange and Los Angeles Counties in Southern California. A majority-minority district, the District has the second largest AAPI population (36.97%) of any Congressional District, and the largest Vietnamese community in the country.  President Biden won the current district lines by +6 points and it has a +6 point Democratic registration advantage. It includes all or part of the Cities of Garden Grove, Westminster, Cerritos, Buena Park, Placentia, Hawaiian Gardens, Cypress, Fountain Valley, Artesia, Los Alamitos, La Palma, Brea, Lakewood, and Fullerton, as well as the unincorporated community of Rossmoor. The DCCC has listed it as a “District In Play.”

Use of Derek Tran’s military rank, job titles, and photographs in uniform does not imply endorsement by the Dept. of Defense or U.S. Army.

The Steels greet Trump in LA

About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official political troubadour of Anaheim and most other OC towns. Regularly makes solo performances, sometimes with his savage-jazz band The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at, or 714-235-VERN.