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Incumbent O.C. supervisor secures comfortable lead in reelection bid

Orange County Supervisor incumbent Andrew Do is facing challenger Michele Martinez, a Santa Ana councilwoman, for his 1st District seat.
Orange County Supervisor incumbent Andrew Do is facing challenger Michele Martinez, a Santa Ana councilwoman, for his 1st District seat.
(Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times)

In one of the most competitive races in Orange County, Supervisor Andrew Do secured a comfortable lead over challenger Michele Martinez, garnering 53% of the vote, with the Santa Ana councilwoman collecting 47%, with all precincts reporting.

Do, a former prosecutor who represents the county’s 1st Supervisorial District, currently serves on an all-Republican board boasting an Asian American majority.

If Martinez had succeeded in ousting Do, the 10-year councilwoman would have been the first Latina elected to the Board of Supervisors, and its lone Democrat.

The 1st District spans Garden Grove, Santa Ana, Westminster, unincorporated Midway City and parts of Fountain Valley. The area is home to key Latino and Vietnamese American voters whom the candidates tried to woo for months, with victory depending substantially on how many immigrant U.S. citizens from both communities they can inspire to cast ballots.

Experts observe that the race is a reflection of transformed demographics in central Orange County — forcing two opponents to look beyond courting white voters and find ways to craft political messages that help them form cultural connections.

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“This is one race to watch because it represents a lot for the future of the county,” said Jodi Palma, a political science professor from Fullerton College. “As these candidates try to win, they know that if they criss-cross cultures effectively, they can win. But what strategies will be successful? We’ll find out soon.”

Palma sees Martinez’s advantage as being a most “recognizable face” in Santa Ana, the largest city in the district. Still, Do is the incumbent, traditionally an effective title to tout. Both have been battling each other over homelessness — offering solutions to a homeless encampment of more than 400 people at the Santa Ana Civic Center, home to plenty of city, county and state agencies, whose employees describe the area as dirty and dangerous.

To win over supporters in the race, Do raised $740,000 — far surpassing Martinez, who raised more than $241,000.

anh.do@latimes.com

Twitter: @newsterrier


UPDATES:

3:30 a.m.: This article was updated with the latest vote tally.

This article was originally published at 11:10 p.m. on Nov. 8.


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