Election 2020: Petrie-Norris faces two Republican challengers for 74th District Assembly seat

From left, incumbent Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach) and Republican challengers Diane Dixon and Kelly Ernby are running for the 74th Assembly District seat.
(File Photos)

The upcoming primary election for the California Assembly’s 74th District seat is a three-woman race among Democratic incumbent Cottie Petrie-Norris of Laguna Beach and Republicans Diane Dixon of Newport Beach and Kelly Ernby of Huntington Beach.

The top two vote-getters in the March 3 contest will advance to November’s general election.

The 74th District includes Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, Laguna Beach, Irvine and Laguna Woods.

The candidates are:

Cottie Petrie-Norris

Party: Democrat
Currently: Assemblywoman, 74th District
Age: 44
Campaign fundraising: $1.1 million (reporting period from Jan. 1, 2019, to Jan. 18, 2020)
Endorsements include: Rep. Katie Porter (D-Irvine), Rep. Harley Rouda (D-Laguna Beach), Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley, Laguna Beach Mayor Bob Whalen, Indivisible OC 48, California Teachers Assn., Orange County Employees Assn., Teamsters Joint Council 42, Costa Mesa Firefighters Assn., Huntington Beach Firefighters’ Assn., Emily’s List, Sierra Club and Women for American Values and Ethics, among 72 endorsements

Petrie-Norris won her first two-year term in the Assembly in 2018, displacing Republican Matthew Harper. She has served as chairwoman of the Accountability and Administrative Review Committee and a member of the appropriations, judiciary, veterans affairs and revenue and taxation committees. Before being elected, Petrie-Norris worked in marketing for Capital One, American Express and two start-ups. She also was an organizer for local progressive groups.

Diane Dixon

Party: Republican
Currently: Newport Beach City Council member
Age: 68
Campaign fundraising: $350,544 (Jan. 1, 2019, to Jan. 18, 2020)
Endorsements include: Former Gov. Pete Wilson; Assembly members Marie Waldron, Jay Obernolte, Steven Choi and Frank Bigelow; former Assembly members Matthew Harper, Travis Allen and Diane Harkey; Republican National Committeeman Shawn Steel; Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Michelle Steel; former Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens; Newport Beach Mayor Will O’Neill and Lincoln Club of Orange County, among 69 endorsements

Dixon was elected to the Newport Beach City Council in 2014 and reelected in 2018. She served as mayor in 2016 and 2019. Dixon spent 30 of her 40 years in the private sector with Avery Dennison, retiring in 2011 as an executive responsible for the company’s global communications, marketing communications and corporate philanthropy.

Kelly Ernby

Party: Republican
Currently: Orange County deputy district attorney
Age: 44
Campaign fundraising: $162,411 (Jan. 1, 2019, to Jan. 18, 2020)
Endorsements include: Assemblymen Phillip Chen and Vince Fong, Orange County Supervisor Don Wagner, former Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, Costa Mesa Councilman Allan Mansoor, former Costa Mesa Councilman Steve Mensinger, former Newport Beach Councilman Scott Peotter, Laguna Beach Mayor Pro Tem Steve Dicterow, Huntington Beach City Attorney Michael Gates and Huntington Beach Councilman Erik Peterson, among 40 endorsements

Ernby is an Orange County prosecutor specializing in environmental and consumer protection cases. She describes herself as a pro-business, pro-taxpayer political outsider.

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