Orange County Seal

Updated – Jan. 31, 2015 9:16 a.m.
By MEGHANN M. CUNIFF / STAFF WRITER

Andrew Do was elected to the 1st District Board of Supervisors seat by 43 votes after the vote-counting wrapped up Friday, leaving Lou Correa, one of Orange County’s longest-standing politicians, jobless for the moment.

Do, 51, will take over for his former boss Janet Nguyen next week unless Correa requests a recount and election officials discover unprecedented counting errors. Correa has five days to request one and he’ll have to pay for the process, which Orange County Registrar Neal Kelley estimates would cost about $2,400 for each day spent counting.

Friday’s vote tally ends an uneasy week for Do and Correa, who were separated by as few as two votes since election night Tuesday after a seven-week, five-candidate campaign that saw both men raise nearly $80,000 and earn about 39 percent of the vote.

Do will be sworn in Tuesday, unless Correa challenges the results, Board Chairman Todd Spitzer said. Spitzer said his staff sent Do a bouquet of flowers Friday night, as well as the agenda and document packet for Tuesday’s meeting.

Neither Do nor Correa could immediately be reached for comment Friday night.

Do’s victory also is a huge win for Nguyen, who rehired him as her chief of staff last summer before being elected to the state Senate. Nguyen was the first Vietnamese-American to be elected to the Board of Supervisors; Do is the second. Nguyen also is the first Vietnamese-American state senator, and she used her clout with the Little Saigon community to campaign for Do.

Do’s election gives the Board of Supervisors its first Asian majority: Vice Chairwoman Lisa Bartlett is Japanese-American and Supervisor Michelle Steel is Korean-American. It’s the first Asian-American majority for an elected panel in Southern California.

Do moved to Garden Grove from Vietnam when he was 13. He was elected to the Garden Grove City Council in 2008 but resigned in 2011 to tend to his struggling sandwich shop. Do’s wife, Cheri Pham, had been appointed as a Superior Court judge in 2010, and Do told the Register this week that his family’s schedule had become too hectic to support his council duties. He said during his resignation speech in April 2011 that his struggling business was the main reason for his departure.

“I owe it to my family and to my employees who depend on it for their jobs for their livelihood to make my business work,” Do said at the time. “Failure is not an option.”

Do sold the business, which at one point was partly owned by Nguyen’s husband, in 2012. He worked as an Orange County deputy district attorney before joining a law firm that merged to become FitzGerald, Yap & Kreditor last September.

Mike FitzGerald said Friday that Do’s future at his firm has not yet been decided.

“That’s something that we’re obviously going to be discussing,” FitzGerald said. “He’s an exceptional lawyer. To the extent that he can remain involved, obviously we would be open to that.”

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