Republican Assemblyman Curt Pringle opened a new field office Thursday as several dozen Democrats picketed outside.
Pringle narrowly defeated Democrat Christian F. (Rick) Thierbach in the 72nd Assembly District last November in a race that prompted charges of racism after the Republicans hired uniformed guards to monitor polling places in predominantly Latino precincts in Santa Ana.
The guards were paid by county GOP officials. Democrats as well as local Latino leaders contend that the presence of guards discouraged some Latinos from casting ballots in a race that ended in Pringle’s favor by fewer than 900 votes. A civil lawsuit seeking to overturn the election results is pending.
Democratic activists, still upset over the use of the guards, marched Thursday evening in front of Pringle’s new district office at 12822 Garden Grove Blvd. Pringle had been using the late Assemblyman Richard Longshore’s office in Westminster but decided to relocate to a site more centrally located in the central Orange County district.
When asked whether the protesters would spoil the open house, Pringle said: “Not a chance. When they are done picketing, I hope they come in and have some refreshments.”
Defeating Pringle in 1990 has become a top priority among local Democrats.