Andrew Do
Republican Andrew Do defeated well-known Democrat Lou Correa by a razor-thin margin in Tuesday’s special election for the Orange County Board of Supervisors.

By Christopher Goffard and Anh Do
January 31, 2015

Few Orange County politicians command the name recognition of Lou Correa, who has held seats in both houses of the California Legislature and on the county’s Board of Supervisors.

As he battled to regain that supervisor’s seat in recent months, the advantages seemed to be his: He led a five-candidate field in fundraising and faced relatively obscure opponents in a district where his party, the Democrats, far outnumbered Republicans.

But Republican Andrew Do, an attorney who has held no office higher than the Garden Grove City Council seat he left more than three years ago, defeated him by a razor-thin margin in Tuesday’s special election. Do received 18,905 votes to Correa’s 18,862.

Correa, who did not return calls from The Times, has until Wednesday to request a recount.
Andrew Do
Republican Andrew Do defeated well-known Democrat Lou Correa by a razor-thin margin in Tuesday’s special election for the Orange County Board of Supervisors.

Do had assets that seemed to prove decisive, including ubiquitous access to the hyper-connected, politically engaged Vietnamese-speaking community of Little Saigon in central Orange County, who voted in large numbers, many of them by mail-in ballot.

“It’s certainly a Vietnamese win,” said Fred Smoller, an associate professor of political science at Chapman University, noting that the three Vietnamese American candidates together won about 60% of the vote.

Do’s election gives Orange County — and most likely Southern California — its first Asian American majority Board of Supervisors. Michelle Park Steel, a Korean American, and Lisa Bartlett, a Japanese American, won seats on the five-member Orange County board in November.

In this and other recent races, the success of Asian American candidates may represent renewed hope for the Orange County GOP, which has seen its once-ironclad grip on the county slip significantly in recent decades amid a growing Latino population.

In 2012, a Latina schoolteacher named Sharon Quirk-Silva defeated GOP Assemblyman Chris Norby in a northwestern district. In November, however, Republican Young Kim, a Korean American, ousted Quirk-Silva while county Supervisor Janet Nguyen, a Vietnamese American and a Republican, defeated Jose Solorio in a state Senate district controlled by the Democrats.

Smoller described the results of the Do-Correa contest as a “bellwether,” saying: “The Vietnamese seem to be doing to Hispanics what the Hispanics started to do to the Anglos. It’s an ethnic shift.”

Fred Whitaker, chairman of the Republican Party of Orange County, said the results of the 2012 election — in which only 27% of Asian Americans in California voted with the GOP — was a wake-up call for the party. He said the party has since ramped up efforts to reach voters of Asian descent.

To read entire story, click here.