The unique growth of Asian Americans in Orange County has resulted in the majority of Orange County Supervisors being Asian American. Michelle Steel, a Korean native, and Lisa Bartlett, a Japanese American, were joined on the five member board by Andrew Do, who won a special election in January by 43 votes. “This is not your father’s Orange County,” said political science professor Fred Smoller of Chapman University, referring to the old stereotype of Orange County being a bastion of white male conservatives. Do’s win was not without controversy, however.
The close margin has led Do’s closest challenger to demand a recount. Former Califronia state senator Lou Correa has demanded a recount and mentioned that he had heard about a number of voting irregularities. Some Latinos feel that redistricting has diluted Latino voting strength, resulting in no Latinos being on the Board.
While the three Asian Americans on Orange County’s Board of Supervisors are Republican, Asian American Studies professor Eliza Noh says not to expect them to vote as a block.
“They are ethnically different. They’re also representing different neighborhoods, which all have different political orientation.”
The special election was held because Supervisor Janet Nguyen left the board after being elected as a State Senator.
(photo credit: Jeff Gretchen, OC Register Staff Photographer)