Across the country, except for a few bright spots, most Viet candidate fall flat, losing their races, sometimes spectacularly.
Now, of course, there is such a thing as a “Vietnamese bounce” – late absentee ballots cast mostly by Vietnamese – which has caused people (including the Bolsavik here) to sometimes prematurely announce the demise of some campaigns.
But, from the way things look, even the Vietnamese bounce won’t help this time.
Starting with the highest ranking Viet elected official, U.S. Rep. Joseph Cao, he of the claim to fame as the only Republican to vote for health care reform.
Two years ago, Cao won in a year where most Republicans lost. Now that most Republicans are winning, Cao lost spectacularly, 34%-64%, and conceded early in the night.
Another Viet Congress hopeful, California Assemblyman Van Tran, ended the night trailing Rep. Loretta Sanchez 42%-51% with all precincts counted. The distance to be made up is 4,993 votes, a spread widely considered too wide for late absentees to cover.
And the man who had hoped to replace Tran in the Assembly, Democrat Phu Nguyen, fought valiantly in a district with 1/3 more Republicans than Democrats and in a Republican-leaning year. Phu Nguyen got all the way up to 44%-56%, and fell 8,000 votes short.
Two groups lost big in Little Saigon. One is an organization calling itself, well, actually, not sure what its English name is, but it held a public voting all over Little Saigon earlier this year, resulting in a committee of 7 that’s supposed to be the official representatives of the community. Its grandiose Vietnamese name translates into the Committee of Representatives of the Community.
The Vice-President of the group is Bruce Tran, owner of VHN-TV. (Click here for all entries tagged Bruce Tran.) Tran ran for mayor of Westminster, and lost big time, 19%-71%.
The spokesman of the committee that organized that public voting, Charlie Chi Manh Nguyen, ran for the Huntington Beach Union HSD, which reaches into and covers parts of Westminster. With 3 positions available, Nguyen ended in 4th place with a little over half the votes the 3rd place person got.
The other group that lost big is SBTN-TV, the media giant that had backed Hoa Van Tran for OC Supervisor. This time, SBTN stands behind the Westminster City Council race for Khoa Do, a show host who’s well thought of in the community, having volunteered for several popular community events. Despite the might of mass media thrown in, Do ended up next to last place.
It’s not as if other Viet candidates for council fared any better. Incumbent Andy “DUI” Quach burned tens of thousands on the race, and ended up 48 votes behind the other Viet incumbent, Tri Ta. It looks like there will no longer be a Viet majority on the Westminster city council, as challenger Penny Loomer – almost a winner two years ago – took the first spot, leaving Quach and Ta sort out among themselves the 48 votes plus-or-minus whatever late absentees, for the second position available.
Also running in the area is former Councilman Tony Lam, the first Vietnamese-American to win public office. Returning to politics seeking a seat on the Midway City Sanitary District, he ended dead last.
There is one local bright spot. In the city of Fountain Valley, businessman Michael Vo, owner of a traffic school, finished ahead of two incumbents to win a seat on the city council. (In this same race, another candidates reputedly also supported by SBTN ended in the single digits.) This marks the first time an OC Viet candidate wins without the votes of Westminster/Garden Grove.
And there’s an out-of-state bright spot. State Representative Hubert Vo in Texas held off a powerful challenge by his Republican opponent and is leading by around 1000 votes when the election office there went to sleep and stopped updating its web site for the night.