While some races are settled, such as Lou Correa’s victory in the 46th Congressional District, others contests tightened significantly by early morning. Much of this was due to the phenomenon OC Daily reported earlier this morning: for the first time, more Democrats than Republicans cast ballots in Orange County.
Keep in mind there are a large number of ballots left to count. This evening’s update accounts for an additional 14,996 VBM ballots counted – leaving 217,485 ballots of all kinds still to be counted county-wide.
According to the OC Registrar of Voters, here are the estimated number of ballots left to count in various categories:
Vote-by-Mail (VBM) ballots: 43,004
VBMs returned at the rolls: 91,500
Provisional ballots: 61,370
After including various other ballots, the Registrar estimates there are 245,070 ballots still to be counted – an enormous number. Essentially, a third of the ballots were counted by last night; another third will be counted today; and the remainder will be counted during the next several days.
A big question on the minds of candidates and their consultants is whether the uncounted ballots will break like VBM voters, or track Election Day results, or split both ways?
The upshot: the results in close races could still change.
Here’s a quick rundown of where key races stand after today’s update.
46th Congressional District
Former county Supervisor/Assemblyman/state Senator Lou Correa will now add “Congressman” to the list of offices to which he’s been elected. The moderate Democrat far outpaced the other candidates:
CD46 is heavily Democratic. If Republican Bob Peterson hangs on to the second-spot, November will be a slam dunk for Correa. If Garden Grove Mayor Bao Nguyen dislodges Peterson to make it a Democrat v. Democrat race in the general, Correa will still win: his 41.6% is much closer to a majority than Nguyen’s 13.7% – plus the centrist Correa will pick GOP voters who wouldn’t cast a ballot for the leftist Nguyen.
29th Senate District
The story here is Democratic former Irvine Mayor Sukhee Kang’s apparent upset by relative unknown Democrat Josh Newman for the second spot in a November showdown with GOP Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang:
55th Assembly District
The story here is the narrowness of Republican Phillip Chen’s lead over fellow GOPer and long-time conservative activist Mike Spence considering the latter was vastly outspent by the former. As this morning, Chen led Spence by 664 votes, or 1%.
The Chen campaign’s expenditures topped half-a-million, along with $250,000 in pro-Chen independent expenditures. Plus, Chen had run high-spending campaign in AD55 just two years ago.
Spence, on the other hand, spent only $50,000.
65th Assembly District
Yesterday, GOP Assemblywoman Young Kim trailed Democratic former Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva by six points, 53% to 47%. Today, Kim picked up a little ground, and now trails 52.8% to 47.2%:
Questions no doubt being asked include whether Korean voters turned out, as well as if and how much the Trump nomination is harming the GOP brand among Asian voters.
AD65 is one the few competitive Assembly seats in the state. The Assembly Democrat leadership no doubt smells blood, and it will require all Republican hands on deck for the general election brawl in November.
68th Assembly District
Former Anaheim Councilman Harry Sidhu’s 735-vote lead over Irvine Mayor Steven Choi has constricted negligibly to 704 votes:
The most likely outcome is Sidhu maintains his lead and ends up in a November general with Democrat Sean Panahi.
1st District Supervisor
During the final rounds of vote tallying last night, Santa Ana Councilwoman Michele Martinez closed fast with 1st District Supervisor Andrew Do, finishing only 200 votes behind him – 35.8% to 35.5%.
Today’s count increased Do’s lead to 406 votes. Vietnamese-American candidates have an established tendency to pick up votes in the days following the election, which is probably the dynamic at work here:
When the initial returns were posted, Do led Martinez by more than 12 points – indicating the Santa Ana Democrat did well enough with Election Day voters to negate his advantage with VBM voters.
At the same time, it’s important to note that Do had to contend with a barrage of attacks from another Vietnamese-American Republican – Garden Grove Councilman Phat Bui – who won’t be on the ballot in November. United the Vietnamese community around his candidacy will be vital for Supervisor Do.
Orange County Board of Education – Area 1
As in the 1st Supervisor District, the Democratic challenger closed fast with the Republican incumbent during the final ballot updates. Robert Hammond initially led Beckie Gomez by 14 points – a lead which shrank to 1.9% by the end of the night.
Today’s tally increased Hammond’s margin to 1,232 votes – 2.4%:
While our previous story called this race as over, Gomez’s late surge superseded that estimation and it’s possible the result could flip – but today’s results make that less likely.