Cross-posted from OC Political…
As reported by OC Daily in English and Viet Bao in Vietnamese, Westminster Mayor Pro Tem Tyler Diep has officially thrown his hat in the ring for the 72nd Assembly District, finally confirming rumors that had swirled since mid-June. The seat is being vacated by Assemblyman Travis Allen, who is running for Governor.
Diep comes out of the gate wielding a $260,000 City Council warchest that he can easily transfer to his Assembly race. Diep also wields the most useful endorsement for this seat: the incumbent, Travis Allen. The endorsement of the current occupant of the seat being sought is always uniquely helpful in a campaign, but Allen’s endorsement has an extra degree of usefulness in 2018 due to his increased name ID from his bid for Governor.
The two dominant population centers of AD-72 are Little Saigon and Huntington Beach. In these two areas, Diep has locked up the endorsements of nearly anyone who could run against him. He has sought to not only clear the field but win the support of the field. It is difficult to launch a bid against someone when you have already endorsed them.
Diep quickly rounded up the endorsements of all three rumored candidates from Huntington Beach: Councilmembers Barbara Delgleize, Mike Posey, and Patrick Brenden. (Posey is so popular that he was rumored for AD-72 despite being a resident of AD-74.)
Diep has locked down the endorsements of nearly every Vietnamese-American elected official in AD-72: Westminster Mayor Tri Ta, Westminster Councilwoman Kimberly Ho, Fountain Valley Mayor Pro Tem Michael Vo, Garden Grove School Board Members Dina Nguyen and Lan Quoc Nguyen, and Westminster School Board Members Frances Nguyen and Khanh Nguyen. (In fact, Diep has the endorsement of every Vietnamese-American school board member in AD-72.)
The only other Republican Vietnamese-American City Councilmember in AD-72 (or actually, in all of Orange County) is Phat Bui of Garden Grove. However, Bui was so badly bloodied in the First Supervisorial District race last year in which he came in third behind Santa Ana Councilwoman Michele Martinez and Supervisor Andrew Do that an AD-72 bid by Bui would be quixotic. The Democrats’ sole Vietnamese-American City Councilmember is Thu-Ha Nguyen, who was just elected last year, but the AD-72 seat will remain in Republican hands and Councilwoman Nguyen occupies a small district seat since Garden Grove switched to by-district elections last year, so her name ID is confined to a small portion of Garden Grove.
At this point, it is difficult to see any viable opponent to Diep since virtually any viable candidate for AD-72 has endorsed Diep.
In my conversations with other people about the Diep candidacy before he officially announced, I commented that Diep appeared to be borrowing a page from the Mimi Walters strategy, and his official announcement bears that out. In June 2013, when Congressman John Campbell announced that he would not seek re-election in 2014, Walters came barreling out of the gate with a large warchest and a slew of endorsements that included nearly every potential opponent. The strategy worked well for Walters who won her seat and worked to help elect so many other Republicans that she was quickly elected by freshmen Members of Congress to serve as their representative in the House Republican leadership after the 2014 election and then again as the sophomore representative after the 2016 election.
And, yes, Walters has endorsed Diep.
Here’s the full text of the Diep’s announcement:
Councilman Tyler Diep Launches Campaign for 72nd Assembly District
Diep Enters Race with Significant Momentum: $260k COH & Key Endorsement
(Westminster, CA) – Westminster Councilman Tyler Diep announced today that he is running for State Assembly.
The announcement comes after 72nd District Assemblyman Travis Allen opted to vacate the seat in 2018 to run for Governor. Allen has endorsed Diep’s campaign to succeed him in the Assembly.
“Tyler is the right person to represent us in the State Assembly,” said Assemblyman Allen. “He is a dedicated public servant and has a proven record of fighting higher taxes and job killing regulations.”
Councilman Diep will begin the campaign with significant campaign resources – he will transfer approximately $260,000 from his council campaign account to his assembly race.
“I am passionate about public service, my community and fighting to make Orange County a better place to raise a family and start a business,” said Diep. “I look forward to taking my experience in Orange County to Sacramento and between now and election day I’ll work hard to earn the vote of every neighborhood in the 72nd district.”
The 72nd District includes all of Westminster, Garden Grove, Fountain Valley, Los Alamitos, Seal Beach, a portion of Huntington Beach and the unincorporated county island of Midway City.
Axiom Strategies will serve as general consultants for Diep’s campaign, John Bovee of Capital Development Strategies will assist Diep with fundraising, and Lysa Ray will serve as his treasurer.
Diep was first elected to the Westminster City Council in 2008. He has been a strong taxpayer advocate, is committed to job creation and supporting small businesses by keeping taxes low, and has prioritized hiring more police officers and road repair while on the city council. He also serves as Director of the Midway City Sanitary District and works for the State Board of Equalization where he helps small businesses navigate through the bureaucracy of the IRS and Franchise Tax Board.
To learn more about Diep and his campaign, please visit: www.TylerDiep.com###
(Cue my usual Nguyen disclaimer: I am not related to Garden Grove Councilwoman Thu-Ha Nguyen, Garden Grove School Board Member Dina Nguyen, Garden Grove School Board Member Lan Quoc Nguyen, Westminster School Board Member Frances Nguyen, or Westminster School Board Member Khanh Nguyen. The last name Nguyen is held by 36% of Vietnamese people.)