Political Landscape: Ex-state Sen. Janet Nguyen eyes fellow Republican Tyler Diep’s Assembly seat

Former state Sen. Janet Nguyen plans a challenge to fellow Republican Tyler Diep in the 2020 primary election for Diep's 72nd Assembly District seat.
(File Photos)

Former state Sen. Janet Nguyen plans to take on fellow Republican Tyler Diep for his 72nd Assembly District seat in the 2020 primary election in March.

The district includes Fountain Valley, Los Alamitos, Seal Beach, Westminster, portions of Garden Grove, Huntington Beach and Santa Ana, and the unincorporated areas Midway City and Rossmoor.

Nguyen, of Fountain Valley, filed paperwork to run earlier this month after former Orange County GOP chairman Scott Baugh sent an email to local party leaders criticizing Diep for his voting record and comments supporting organized labor. Nguyen also has started an Assembly campaign website.

“[Diep] brought this fight to us by campaigning as a conservative and betraying us in Sacramento,” Baugh said in a follow-up email reported by the Orange County Register. “There is a rat in our cellar and I am turning on the light.”

Nguyen lost her 2018 reelection bid in the 34th state Senate District to Democrat Tom Umberg.

Diep, a first-term assemblyman from Westminster who was elected in 2018, blamed Baugh for Democrat Harley Rouda defeating longtime Republican incumbent Dana Rohrabacher for the 48th Congressional District seat in 2018 after Baugh had challenged Rohrabacher in the primary.

“Our Assembly Republican caucus is now down to just 18 members. We had 32 members just 12 years ago,” Diep said in an email to local Republican leaders, the Register reported. “Infighting and purity tests are not going to make us stronger.”

Last summer, Diep met with Jewish leaders and apologized for political mailers sent during his 2018 campaign that critics said employed anti-Semitic themes by depicting Diep’s opponent, Josh Lowenthal (D-Huntington Beach), with an enlarged nose and clutching $100 bills.

Diep’s campaign denied that it enlarged the image of Lowenthal’s nose and said Diep, who is Vietnamese, is “highly sensitive to attempts at exploiting stereotypes to score political points.”

Democrats Diedre Nguyen and Bijan Mohseni also are aiming for the 72nd District seat, according to election records.

H.B. City School District and Coast college district boards pick new officers

The Huntington Beach City School District and Coast Community College District boards of trustees have new officers for the coming year.

The Huntington Beach board chose member Ann Sullivan as president during its annual reorganization Dec. 10. Trustee Bridget Kaub was selected vice president and trustee Paul Morrow was named clerk.

The college district board selected new officers Friday, choosing trustee David Grant as president, member Lorraine Prinsky as vice president and trustee Jim Moreno as clerk.

The district includes Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, Golden West College in Huntington Beach and Coastline College in Fountain Valley.

Support our coverage by becoming a digital subscriber.