No Asian Pacific American has ever served on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, and it appears that will still be the case after the June 7 election.
In District 4, currently represented by termed-out Supervisor Don Knabe, Mike Gin — former mayor of Redondo Beach and former deputy to Knabe — became the first Asian American to run for the seat. However, he dropped out of the race in March.
The front-runner is Rep. Janice Hahn, a Democrat, who is leaving Congress to run for supervisor. Gin, a Republican, previously ran for Congress against Hahn in an open primary in 2011, finishing fifth out of 16 candidates.
Also seeking the District 4 seat are Democrat Ralph Pacheco, a member of the Whittier School District Board, and Republican Steve Napolitano, senior deputy to Knabe and former Manhattan Beach councilman, who has been endorsed by the supervisor.
Although the race is nonpartisan, Gin told Easy Reader that replacing Hahn with a Republican was an important goal. “I came to the conclusion that we need to have a unified effort if there’s going to be a way to challenge Janice.”
He has been critical of Hahn, charging that she is “riding the coattails” of her father, the late Supervisor Kenneth Hahn.
Gin, whose endorsers included Assemblymember Ling Ling Chang of Diamond Bar and Orange County Supervisor Michelle Steel, added that he will continue to work on minority engagement in the political process. “This is extremely important, particularly among Asian Americans, to be a political force to be reckoned with in the future.”
District 4 includes Artesia, Avalon, Bellflower, Cerritos, Diamond Bar, Downey, El Segundo, Hawaiian Gardens, Hermosa Beach, La Habra Heights, La Mirada, Lakewood, Lomita, Long Beach, part of Los Angeles, Norwalk, Palos Verdes Estates, Paramount, Rancho Palos Verdes, Rolling Hills, Rolling Hills Estates, Santa Fe Springs, Signal Hill, and Torrance.
In District 5, eight candidates are vying to succeed termed-out Supervisor Mike Antonovich, a Republican. Those with the most name recognition, all Republicans, are Antonovich’s chief of staff, Kathryn Barger of Los Angeles; prosecutor Elan Carr of Granada Hills; Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch Englander of Granada Hills; State Sen. Bob Huff of San Dimas; and Glendale Mayor Ara Najarian.
The Democrats running are Darrell Park of Pasadena, educator and budget specialist; Billy Malone, Altadena Town Council member; and Rajpal Kahlon of Palmdale, real estate investor.
Kahlon, an immigrant from India, ran against Antonovich in the last election and received more than 20 percent of the popular vote. A long-time resident of the district, he accuses Antonovich of being unresponsive to constituents’ concerns and pledges to have an open-door policy if elected.
District 5 includes Alhambra, Arcadia, Bradbury, Burbank, Covina, Duarte, Glendora, La Canada-Flintridge, La Verne, Lancaster, parts of Los Angeles, Monrovia, San Gabriel, San Marino, Santa Clarita, Sierra Madre, South Pasadena and Temple City.
In District 2, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas is unopposed in his re-election bid. Supervisors Hilda Solis (District 1) and Sheila Kuehl (District 3) are not up for re-election this year.
In contrast to Los Angeles County, three of the five members of the Orange County Board of Supervisors are Asian Americans: Supervisors Lisa Bartlett (chair), Steel (vice chair), and Andrew Do, who is seeking re-election.
Do is being challenged by a fellow Republican and fellow Vietnamese American, Garden Grove City Councilmember Phat Bui, along with Santa Ana City Councilmember Michelle Martinez, a Democrat, and former Orange County Unified School District Board member Steve Rocco.
Do’s endorsers include Reps. Ed Royce, Dana Rohrabacher and Mimi Walters; State Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff; State Sen. Pat Bates; Assemblymembers Young Kim, Matt Harper, Don Wagner and Travis Allen; Supervisor Steel; Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens; and Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas.
Bui’s supporters include Garden Grove City Councilmember Chris Phan, Westminster City Councilmember Diana Carey, and Maj. William Mimiaga, president of Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 785.
Do was first elected in 2015, defeating former State Sen. Lou Correa.
In the current primary, the top two finishers will advance to the fall general election.
Both party affiliation and ethnicity could be factors in this nonpartisan race. According to The Orange County Register, of District 1’s 209,000 registered voters, 43 percent are Democrats, 30 percent are Republicans, 37 percent are Latino and 25 percent are Vietnamese. The district includes Santa Ana, Garden Grove, Westminster, and parts of Fountain Valley.
In District 3, Supervisor Todd Spitzer is unopposed.