WESTMINSTER — Supporters of Costa Mesa mayor and Republican state assembly candidate Allan Mansoor and his opponent, Phu Nguyen, clashed in Little Saigon in Westminster on Saturday as both camps vie for the Vietnamese vote in the 68th district.
Nguyen and about 30 of his supporters waved signs and American and South Vietnam flags outside of Mansoor's campaign office in Little Saigon, calling for his camp to stop the mudslinging.
"We're sending a message to (Mansoor's) campaign," Nguyen said from the Bolsa Avenue sidewalk, the main Little Saigon thoroughfare. "We want to talk about the issues."
Nguyen and Mansoor are running for Republican Assemblyman Van Tran's seat. Tran is termed out and running for U.S. Congress. Westminster's substantial Vietnamese population traditionally votes Republican, but Nguyen has been trying to make inroads, highlighting how his family businesses have helped locals there.
Nguyen still has work to do, based on Saturday's event. While six to eight Mansoor volunteers at his office Saturday came out to counter-rally and worked their way into Nguyen's crowd with their own signs, one Mansoor supporter stood out.
Mansoor said her name was Daisy, and she got toe to toe with Nguyen, shouting at him in Vietnamese, clearly unintimidated by the crowd surrounding her. Nguyen argued his points, but didn't shout back or appear angry. The entire exchange played out in front of Vietnamese broadcast and newspaper reporters, adding to his exposure.
Like Nguyen, Mansoor said he wants to stick to the issues leading up to the Nov. 2 election.
"My question is, why is Phu afraid to engage me on the issues and instead attacks one of my supporters?" Mansoor said. "It's wildly inappropriate."