O.C. registrar certifies official primary election results and cites high voter turnout

People walk to the vote center at Costa Mesa City Hall during the March 3 primary election.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

The March 3 primary election brought out more voters in Orange County than in any presidential primary since 2000, according to the Orange County registrar of voters office, which certified the official results Monday night.

The final vote tally totaled 817,844, or 50.1% of the county’s 1.6 million registered voters. The turnout was 18.2% higher than in 2016 and 91.5% more than in 2012, the registrar’s office said.

Most voters (79.2%) chose to mail in their ballots rather than vote in person at one of the 189 vote centers throughout the county.


Here are the final results of four local primary races for state and federal seats. The top two vote-getters in each advance to the general election Nov. 3.

37th state Senate District

The November election for the 37th state Senate District seat will come down to incumbent John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) and Dave Min (D-Irvine).

The district includes Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Costa Mesa, Irvine, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Tustin, Orange, Villa Park and Anaheim.

In an initially tight race for the second spot on the November ballot, Min, a UC Irvine law professor, ultimately received 28% of the vote in the primary to beat out Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley, also a Democrat. Foley received 24.7% of the vote.

Moorlach collected 47.3%, easily advancing his campaign for his second full term in the state Senate. He was first elected in 2016 after winning a special election for the seat the year before.

48th Congressional District

Rep. Harley Rouda (D-Laguna Beach) and Orange County Supervisor Michelle Steel (R-Seal Beach) are advancing to the general election for Rouda’s seat representing the 48th Congressional District.

Rouda had 46.7% of the primary vote, followed by Steel with 34.9%.

Rouda was elected to his role in 2018. Steel, currently chairwoman of the county Board of Supervisors, has been on the board since 2014.

The 48th District includes Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley, Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, Seal Beach, Laguna Niguel and parts of Garden Grove, Midway City, Aliso Viejo, Santa Ana and Westminster.

72nd Assembly District

Garden Grove Councilwoman Diedre Nguyen will be facing off against former state Sen. Janet Nguyen after narrowly beating Assemblyman Tyler Diep, who was running for his second two-year term representing the 72nd District in the state Assembly.

Diedre Nguyen, a Democrat, received 25.5% of the primary vote, while Diep (R-Westminster) received 24.8%.

Janet Nguyen (R-Fountain Valley) grabbed the top spot with 33.8%.

The 72nd District includes Fountain Valley, Los Alamitos, Seal Beach, Westminster, portions of Huntington Beach, Garden Grove and Santa Ana, and the unincorporated areas Midway City and Rossmoor.

74th Assembly District

Incumbent Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach) and Newport Beach Councilwoman Diane Dixon, a Republican, will compete this fall for the 74th Assembly District seat.

Petrie-Norris, who was first elected in 2018, received 52.3% of the vote in the primary. Dixon collected 25.2%.

Kelly Ernby, a Republican Orange County deputy district attorney from Huntington Beach, received 22.4%.

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

Support our coverage by becoming a digital subscriber.