Breaking News: Young Kim Enters CD-39 Race with Royce Endorsement

Cross-posted from OC Political…

Young Kim

Less than 36 hours after Congressman Ed Royce (R-Fullerton) unexpectedly announced his retirement after 13 terms in Congress, former Assemblywoman Young Kim (R-Fullerton) has entered the race to succeed Royce and dropped out of the race to succeed termed out Supervisor Shawn Nelson (R-Fullerton).

As OC Political noted this morning in our analysis of potential candidates for CD-39:

Former Assemblywoman Young Kim represented 35% of CD-39 voters, with 95,000 of the 367,000 CD-39 voters residing in AD-65.  However, Kim also holds the unique distinction of having worked for Royce for nearly 20 years before her election to the Assembly.  She had been his Director of Community Relations and Asian Affairs.  In 2014, Kim defeated Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva’s re-election bid, but in 2016, Quirk-Silva avenged herself by defeating Kim’s re-election bid.  Kim is certainly familiar with what a swing seat campaign entails, with her sheer number of volunteers and staff.  She raised $2 million in each of her two Assembly campaigns.  Kim is currently in the midst of her bid to replace the termed out Nelson to represent the Fourth District on the Board of Supervisors.  If Kim switched to the Congressional race, it would leave La Habra Mayor Tim Shaw the sole Republican candidate facing off against Democrat Joe Kerr, a former long-time firefighters’ union president, for Supervisor (other Democrats running for the seat would presumably be eliminated by the voters in the June primary).

The switch to Congress was so quick that Kim’s campaign committee does not yet have a Federal Election Commission (FEC) ID number, as seen by the disclaimer at the bottom of her web site:

Paid for by Young Kim for Congress. FEC ID# C00XXXXXX

In endorsing Kim, Royce said:

“We have an opportunity to elect an outstanding community leader to Congress – Young Kim. I can attest to Young’s dedication and abilities because she worked for me for almost 20 years, serving as a key advisor and community liaison. She knows our district, its people and its needs. She is a tireless and dedicated public servant. In Congress, Young will be an effective voice for middle class families and for policies that keep our country secure, grow jobs and increase economic opportunities for the people of our 39th district.”

The question now is: will Kim clear the field of any other Republicans, or will another formidable Republican jump in?  Conventional wisdom would have Republicans coalesce behind one candidate.  However, with the top-two primary, there is a scenario where two Republican candidates could work well.

In CD-31 in 2012, with four Democrats and two Republicans running, the top-two primary allowed Congressman Gary Miller and State Senator Bob Dutton to advance to an all-Republican run-off in a tough swing seat.  In CD-39 in 2018, there are currently six Democrats running.

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