Umberg vs. Nguyen in senate battle?

STATE SEN. Janet Nguyen (in red) may face Democrat Tom Umberg in the 34th state Senate race this year.

If it’s an even-numbered year, it must be time for election mania. Candidates are throwing their baseball caps into the ring, and interesting matchups are developing.

On Wednesday, former state Assemblyman Tom Umberg, a Democrat, announced that he would run for the 34th State Senate seat now held by Republican Janet Nguyen.

Umberg served three terms in the state Assembly and is a retired U.S. Army colonel. At first blush, the numbers look good for Umberg. The 34th takes in all of Garden Grove, Santa Ana and Westminster, three cities that went for Hillary Clinton in 2016. She took 58.5 percent against Donald Trump’s 38.5 percent across the district.

But it’s not that simple. In her first Senate vote in 2014, Nguyen crushed Democrat Jose Solario 58 to 42 percent. She had and has several things working in her favor. She’s been in the public eye for a long time, having been elected to the Garden Grove City Council, the Orange County Board of Supervisors and now the state Senate. She’s a bit of a moderate and can probably command a large part of support of the Asian community, which represents about one-fifth of the district.

On Umberg’s side is a heavy edge in voter registration. The Democrats lead 40.45 percent to 31.47 percent Republican, with 23.93 percent independent or “no preference.”

This year also shapes up to be a big year for Democrats. A recent survey by The Hill newspaper indicates that voters would prefer a generic Democrat to a generic Republican in their local House of Representatives race by a 15 percent margin.

On the other hand, voter turnout usually drops off in non-presidential election years, a trend which normally favors the GOP.

On the other other hand, things have been anything but normal, lately so we’ll just have to wait and see.

History repeats itself on the hardwood

A very strong Garden Grove High School boys basketball team wins 27 games and is the favorite to win a CIF-SS title, but gets upset in a quarterfinal game on a home court.

If it sounds familiar, it not only happened on Tuesday when the Argonauts were defeated by Santa Maria 60-53, but also back in 1969. In that year, Grove was also 27-1 and top-ranked going into the quarterfinals, but lost 73-71 to Rowland when its top player – 6-11 senior Al Carlson – fouled out in the third quarter.

But don’t feel sad for the red-and-white. Ken Frank’s Argos expect to have six members of the roster back for next season, including their top player, Sebastian Castro, back for 2018-19.

Three set sail for HB council seats

Amidst all the tumult of Tuesday’s Huntington Beach City Council meeting at which the council voted to give Police Chief Rob Handy a five-year contract extension, three speakers in the public comments segment spoke of their candidacy for spots on the city council.

More to come, no doubt. The council posts which will be on the ballot in November are now held by Mayor Mike Posey, Mayor Pro Tem Erik Peterson and council members Barbara Delgleize and William “Billy” O’Connell.

Usually Reliable Sources is posted on alternate Thursdays.






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