Politics & Elections

Key votes coming on Election Day

THE 2018 ELECTION season starts with Tuesday’s primary general election.

From Tribune staff reports

The primary election on Tuesday is not expected to draw a huge turnout, but there will be many interested local parties with potentially historic changes on the line.

Voters in the 48th Congressional District will decide what to do with long-term Republican Representative Dana Rohrabacher, while Westminster Vice Mayor Tyler Diep is seeking to make the jump to the state Assembly.

Additionally, there’s a state ballot measure that – if approved – could provide funds for more parks for local cities.

GOP rumble could crumble Demo hopes

Rohrabacher, 70, has been in Congress since 1989. The district is centered on Huntington Beach, and also includes Seal Beach, Midway City and parts of Garden Grove and Santa Ana, but also reaches all the way south as far as pieces of Laguna Beach and Irvine.

A former journalist and speechwriter for President Ronald Reagan, Rohrabacher won re-election with relative ease in 2016, as he polled 58.3 percent of the vote against Democratic challenger Suzanne Savary.

But in this cycle expectations are a bit different. In the 2016 presidential election, the district went for Hillary Clinton, suggesting that Rohrabacher might be vulnerable to a challenge from the left.

Complicating the equation is a challenge from the right, former Assemblyman and Orange County Republican chair Scott Baugh.

Baugh’s entry into the race complicates the Democrats’ hope for a win. Under the current “top two” – some call it a “jungle primary” – system, the pair of candidates with the most votes in the June election face off in November, regardless of party. Both Baugh and Rohrabacher have more name recognition than any of the Democrats running, which is often the deciding factor in a low-turnout election. It’s a very crowded field, with six Republicans, eight Democrats, one Libertarian and one “non-partisan” candidate in the race.

If the incumbent and his GOP challenger finish one-two, the Democrats won’t have anyone on the ballot in the fall.

Can Diep go high?

The 72nd state Assembly District seat is open this year and Westminster City Councilman (and vice mayor) Tyler Diep, 35, is in the race, and the Republican is considered to be the front -runner.

The two-term councilman seeks to replace fellow Republican Travis Allen, who is running for governor. The district leans Republican but went for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Almost a third of the 72nd is Asian, with 39 percent considered white and 26 percent Hispanic.

It covers all of Westminster, most of Garden Grove and about half of Huntington Beach.

Normally, this would seem to be an easy win for the GOP, but since there are three Republicans in the race – Diep, Greg Haskin and Long Pham – against one Democrat (Josh Lowenthal) – the situation becomes more complicated.

More money for parks, maybe

Just about everyone likes parks. They provide open space, a place to play volleyball or have picnics and offer a relief from all the asphalt and concrete. But are you willing to pay for them?

Voters on Tuesday will get a chance to underwrite more cash for state and local parks, as well as environmental protection, restoration projects and flood control.

Approval of the $4 billion general obligation bond will – over 30 years – cost about $6.53 billion.

But there’s a special sweetener for voters in Garden Grove and nearby cities. The bond issue measure requires that $725 million be devoted to “park-poor neighborhoods” through a competitive process. Garden Grove is one of the most “underparked” cities in Orange County.

In the state legislature, all Democrats voted to put Prop. 68 on the ballot, while most – but not all – Republicans voted against it.

Two … four … two or four?

In Westminster, voters will decide on Measure E, which would change the term of the city’s mayor from two years to four. The current mayor is Tri Ta and if Measure E wins on Tuesday and Ta runs and is elected again in November, it would be to a four-year term.

Note: Balloting in Tuesday’s general election will be from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, including your polling place, go towww.ocvote.com.

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