Asian American Candidates Do Well in Primary

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Rafu Staff Report

Several Asian American candidates will move on to the November general election after placing first or second in Tuesday’s primary.

This election was conducted under a new system in which the top two vote-getters, regardless of party, go to a runoff. In some cases, Democrats are pitted against Democrats or Republicans against Republicans.

Because of redistricting, re-election is a challenge for incumbents, who lost some of their base of support and have to run in areas that they did not previously represent.

Since it has already been decided that Barack Obama and Mitt Romney will be the presidential nominees of their respective parties, voter turnout for the primary was low. The higher turnout in November is expected to affect the outcome of the local races.

State Assembly and Senate

In the 66th Assembly District, Democrat Al Muratsuchi, a member of the Torrance Board of Education and a prosecutor with the California Department of Justice, finished first with 22,225 votes (40.9 percent). Republican Craig Huey, a businessman and former congressional candidate, was second with 20,939 (38.5 percent). Republican Nathan Mintz, an aerospace engineer and founder of the South Bay Tea Party, was third and out of contention with 11,170 (20.6 percent).

Assembly candidate Al Muratsuchi walks to the polls with his wife, Hiroko, and their daughter, Sophia. (Facebook)

If elected in the fall, Muratsuchi will be the only Japanese American member of the Assembly from Southern California, as Assemblymember Warren Furutani has declined to run for a third term.

In the 49th Assembly District, there was an all-Asian American contest. Republican Matthew Lin, former mayor of San Marino and an orthopedic surgeon, led with 16,254 votes (51.3 votes) and Ed Chau, a lawyer, followed with 11,277 (35.6 percent). Mitchell Ing, a Monterey Park councilmember, trailed with 4,179 (13.2 percent).

In the 37th Assembly District, Assemblymember Das Williams (D-Santa Barbara) led with 39,868 votes (55.9 percent), followed by Republican Rob Walter, an attorney, with 31,483 (44.1 percent).

In the 28th Assembly District, Assemblymember Paul Fong (D-Cupertino) was in first place with 28,326 votes (53.7 percent) and Chad Walsh, a patent attorney who left the GOP to run as an independent, was second with 24,442 (46.3 percent).

In the 24th Assembly District, Republican Chengzhi “George” Yang, a software engineer, was second with 14,713 votes (29.0 percent) and Assemblymember Richard Gordon (D-Menlo Park) was first with 28,412 (56.1 percent). Also running were Democrat Geby E. Espinosa and Joseph Antonelli Rosas (no party preference).

In the 20th Assembly District, optometrist Jennifer Ong, a Democrat, was in second place with 9,717 votes (25.0 percent) and Hayward City Councilmember Bill Quirk was first with 11,773 (30.3 percent). Union City Mayor Mark Green (no party preference) was third with 8,131 (20.9 percent). Also running were Republican Luis Reynoso and Democrat Sarabjit Kaur Cheema.

In the 19th Assembly District, San Francisco Assessor Phil Ting, a Democrat and former mayoral candidate, led with 28,866 votes (55.8 percent), followed by Democrat Michael Breyer, an entrepreneur, with 11,605 (22.4 percent). Also running were Republican Matthew Del Carlo (9,074 or 17.5 percent) and Democrat James Pan (2,164 or 4.2 percent).

In the 18th Assembly District, Rob Bonta, a Filipino American and vice mayor of Alameda, was the top vote-getter with 18,703 (37.4 percent). He will face off with fellow Democrat Abel Guillen, a Peralta Community Colleges trustee, who received 14,408 (28.8 percent). Another Democrat, AC Transit board member Joel Young, was out of the running with 9,352 (18.7 percent) and Republican Rhonda Weber was fourth with 7,551 (15.1 percent).

Assembly candidate Peter Tateishi with his wife, Anna Feliz, and their daughter, Victoria.

In the 9th Assembly District, Assemblymember Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) led with 15,808 votes (37.3 percent), followed by Republican Antonio “Tony” Amador with 8,770 (20.7 percent). Also running were Republicans Sophia Gonzales Scherman and Edward J. Nemeth, Democrat Tom Y. Santos, and C.T. Weber of the Peace and Freedom Party.

In the 8th Assembly District, Republican Peter Tateishi, former Carmichael honorary mayor and chief of staff for Rep. Dan Lungren, has squeaked into second place with 11,399 votes (22.3 percent) after running neck-and-neck with fellow Republican Barbara Ortega, a small-business woman and former lobbyist, who finished with 10,742 (21.0 percent). The top vote-getter was Democrat Ken Cooley, a Rancho Cordova councilmember, with 21,895 (42.7 percent). The percentages for Republicans John Thomas Flynn and Phillip A. Tufi and Libertarian Janice Mariae Bonser were in single digits.

In the 4th Assembly District, Assemblymember Mariko Yamada (D-Davis) finished ahead of her Republican opponent, John Munn, former head of the Yolo County Taxpayers Association, 39,928 (60.2 percent) to 26,404 (39.8 percent). She is currently the only Japanese American member of the Assembly in Northern California.

The outcome was still uncertain in the 72nd Assembly district, which includes Little Saigon. Republican Troy Edgar, mayor of Los Alamitos, was clearly ahead with 13,735 votes (28.5 percent), but Democrats Travis Allen, a Huntington Beach financial planner, and Joe Dovinh, a Vietnamese American and Garden Grove planning commissioner, were vying for second place with 9,579 (19.9 percent) and 9,351 (19.4 percent), respectively. Absentee ballots may affect the outcome. Republican Long Pham, a member of the Orange County Board of Education, was fourth with 8,767 (18.2 percent) and Democrat Albert Ayala was fifth with 6,784 (14.1 percent).

Unsuccessful candidates included William T. Akana, who finished last out of five contenders, all Republicans, in the 67th Assembly District, which covers southwest Riverside County. A teacher and retired Marine, he is the son of a Hawaiian father and a Japanese mother. In the 23rd Assembly District (Fresno County), Republican Vong Mouanoutoua — a Hmong American, a lawyer and an instructor at CSU Fresno — placed fourth out of five candidates. In the 10th Assembly District (Marin and Sonoma counties), lawyer and veteran Connie Wong, one of five Democrats in the race, placed fourth out of seven candidates.

In Senate District 25, Sen. Carol Liu (D-La Canada Flintridge) was first with 51,105 votes (51.7 percent) and Republican Gilbert Gonzales, director of public affairs and government relations for Vons/Safeway, was second with 42,370 (42.9 percent). Democrat Ameenah Fuller was a distant third.

Democrat Christopher Kent Chiang finished fourth out of four candidates in Senate District 13, which includes parts of San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.

Members of the API Legislative Caucus who have termed out are Assemblymembers Mike Eng (D-Monterey Park), Mary Hayashi (D-Hayward) and Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco). Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) will be termed out in 2014.

U.S. Congress

In the 41st Congressional District, Democrat Mark Takano of the Riverside Community College District board was second with 16,005 votes (36.3 percent) and Republican John Tavaglione of the Riverside County Board of Supervisors was first with 19,815 (44.9 percent). They were trailed by Democrat Anna Nevenic, a registered nurse and author, and Republicans Vince Sawyer, a construction supervisor and carpenter, and George Pearne, a salesperson. Takano previously ran for Congress in 1992 and 1994.

Congressional candidate Mark Takano.

In the 45th Congressional District, Democrat Sukhee Kang, mayor of Irvine and the first Korean American mayor of a major U.S. city, was second with 26,311 votes (33.3 percent) and the Republican incumbent, John Campbell, was first with 40,362 (51.0 percent). Republican John Webb, owner of an insurance agency, was third with 12,445 (15.7 percent).

In the 39th Congressional District, Democrat Jay Chen of the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District board was second with 22,241 votes (30.5 percent) and the Republican incumbent, Ed Royce, had a solid lead with 47,833 (65.7 percent). D’Marie Mulattieri (no party preference) was a distant third.

In the 27th Congressional District, Rep. Judy Chu (D-El Monte) led with 40,518 votes (58.1 percent) and Republican Jack Orswell, a Monrovia businessman, was second with 16,550 (23.7 percent). Republican Bob Duran was third with 12,699 (18.2 percent). Chu is chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.

In the 22nd Congressional District, Democrat Otto Lee was second with 18,048 votes (30.3 percent) and Rep. Devin G. Nunes (R-Visalia) was far ahead with 41,590 (69.7 percent). Lee, a former mayor of Sunnyvale, plans to move to the Fresno area.

In the 17th Congressional District, Rep. Mike Honda (D-San Jose), immediate past chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, was on top with 40,735 votes (66.1 percent), followed by Republican Evelyn Li, founder of the Asian Medical Clinic in Fremont, with 17,204 (27.9 percent). Charles Richardson (no party preference) was a distant third.

Rep. Mike Honda (Rafu Shimpo photo)

In the 9th Congressional District (San Joaquin County), Republican Ricky Gill, an Indian American and a 25-year-old political newcomer, was second with 28,652 votes (39.5 percent). Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-Stockton) had 35,088 (48.4 percent) and Republican John McDonald was in third place.

In the 7th Congressional District (Sacramento County), Democrat Dr. Ami Bera, an Indian American resident of Elk Grove, was in second place with 31,531 votes (40.7 percent), and Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Gold River) was first with 41,021 (52.9 percent). Libertarian Douglas Arthur Tuma and Curt Taras (no party preference) were far behind. Lungren beat Bera in 2010.

In the 6th Congressional District, Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento) had a solid lead with 43,938 votes (71.0 percent), while Republican Joseph McCray Sr., a retired military officer and former small business owner, had 10,371 (16.8 percent). Republican Erik Smitt, an engineer and businessman, was third with 7,565 (12.2 percent).

Unsuccessful candidates included Democrat Justin Kim, a Loma Linda lawyer, who was fourth out of six candidates in the 31st Congressional District (San Bernardino County); Democrat Blong Xiong, a Hmong American and Fresno councilmember, who was third out of three candidates in the 21st Congressional District (Fresno and Tulare counties); and Republican Phat Nguyen, a software engineer, who was third out of four candidates in the 19th Congressional District (Santa Clara County).

In other news regarding the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, Hawaii’s primary will be held on Aug. 11. Rep. Mazie Hirono is competing for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate with former Rep. Ed Case. The winner will run against the Republican nominee, most likely former Gov. Linda Lingle, to replace Sen. Daniel Akaka, who is retiring. Sen. Daniel Inouye has announced that he won’t make a formal endorsement until after the primary, but has expressed a preference for Hirono, saying he will vote for her. A Hirono-Lingle contest would be a rematch of the 2002 gubernatorial race. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, who had considered a run for the Senate, will instead seek re-election. Her Republican opponent is former Rep. Charles Djou, whom she defeated in 2010.

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3 Comments

  1. Another API candidate for the 23rd Assembly District, Republican Vong Mouanouatoua placed 4th out of field of 5 candidates with 7% of the votes. Republicans Jim Patterson and Bob Whalen who received 39% and 24% respectively, will advance to the general election.

  2. Thanks. I will add that to the story. To our readers, please let us know about any other omissions.

  3. Muratsuchi won’t be representing the 66th Assembly District this Fall. The votes just aren’t there for even a conservative Democrat. He lost in every City but heavily Democrat Gardena and even there his down ballot votes received compared to Obama was dismal.

    For a snapshot of the election results in AD66 go here -> http://KorDemoGraphics.com

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