2020 Orange County Primary Election
On March 3, 2020, California held its 2020 primary election. Traditionally, the California primary is held in June, but the state moved it to March in 2017 to wield greater influence over presidential elections. Official results will take up to a few weeks for close races. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders won the state and Orange County, surpassing fellow candidate Joe Biden considerably. Among Orange County’s vulnerable freshmen Democratic Representatives elected in 2018, only Gil Cisneros of the 39th District is currently trailing a Republican challenger. Rep. Cisneros’ district includes northern Orange County and parts of Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties. His deficit may be reduced as more ballots are counted. Reps. Katie Porter and Mike Levin, who represent the 45th and 49th Districts, respectively, are maintaining strong leads over their challengers.
Assemblymember Steven Choi, who represents the 68th Assembly District, will face Democrat and Irvine Councilmember Melissa Fox in November in what is expected to be a close race. In the 72nd Assembly District, incumbent Assemblymember Tyler Diep currently trails former state Senator and fellow Republican Janet Nguyen by a significant margin, with Democratic challenger Deidre Nguyen not far behind him. Incumbent Assemblymember Bill Brough, who has been plagued by scandals, will not advance to the November election for the 73rd District. Republican Laurie Davies, who is the Mayor of Laguna Niguel, will likely face Democrat Scott Rhinehart for this seat. Freshman Assemblymember Cottie Petrie-Norris has a strong lead over her Republican challengers. State Senator Ling Ling Chang, who represents the 29th Senate District, will have a rematch with former state Senator Josh Newman. In the 37th Senate District, incumbent John Moorlach’s two Democratic opponents, Katrina Foley and Dave Min, are neck-and-neck.
More ballots must be counted to determine the winners of key local races. While incumbent Supervisor Andrew Do will advance to the November election, his Democratic challengers are locked in a tight race. It appears that Supervisor Do will face either Westminster Councilmember Sergio Contreras or Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido in the First District runoff. In the Third District, where the winner will earn a full term, incumbent Supervisor Don Wagner is holding a steady lead over Democratic challenger Ashleigh Aitken, though many ballots must still be counted. In the race for County Board of Education Area 4, it appears likely that La Habra Councilmember Tim Shaw and educator Vicki Calhoun will advance to a runoff in November, though this could change.