[cross-posted from our partner site, OC Political]
Councilman Steve Vargas (R-Brea) is entering the race for the 39th Congressional District to succeed the retiring Ed Royce (R-Fullerton), becoming the seventh Republican (and fifth current or former elected official) candidate for the seat. He faces off against Orange County Supervisor Shawn Nelson (R-Fullerton), former Assemblywoman Young Kim (R-Fullerton), former Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar), Councilman Andrew Sarega (R-La Mirada), retired U.S. Navy Commander Mark Gaouette (R-Chino Hills), and perennial candidate John Cullum (R-Placentia). There are also seven Democrats in the CD-39 race.
With seven candidates from each party, CD-39 is virtually assured a traditional Republican vs. Democrat match-up in November, though candidates can still choose to enter or withdraw until March 14 for CD-39. (Filing for most Federal, State, and County offices ends March 9, but for those in which a sitting incumbent is neither seeking re-election nor termed out, filing ends March 14. At this point, for seats that cover portions of Orange County, the March 14 deadline appears to apply to CD-39, CD-49, State Treasurer, Board of Equalization, and County Board of Education Trustee Area 5.)
Six of the seven Republicans live in the 39th District. The sole exception is Sarega, whose entire city of La Mirada is in the 38th District, which is represented by Congresswoman Linda Sanchez (D-Whittier).
As a Brea Councilman, Vargas represents 24,000 of CD-49’s 368,000 voters, or 6.5% of all CD-49 voters. Currently a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserve, Vargas was first elected to the Brea City Council in 1998. He was defeated for re-election in 2002. He subsequently lost bids to the return to the Council in 2006, 2010, and 2012. In 2014, Brea voters finally returned Vargas to the City Council for a second term. Vargas’s Council seat is up for election in November, so if he made the top two in the CD-39 race, voters would fill his Council seat in the regular election, but if he failed to make the top two, he could choose to run for re-election to the City Council.
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