OC Primary: Todd Spitzer Faces Uneasy Path To Reelection Amid Scandals

LAKE FOREST, CA — Tuesday is the last day to vote in California’s primary, and the stakes are high in Lake Forest and across Orange County, as voters will choose could potentially a new district attorney for the first time since 2018, while also deciding who will represent them on the county’s Board of Supervisors.

Competitive congressional races are also underway in Orange County, including the new 40th Congressional District, where U.S. Rep. Young Kim (R-La Habra) — an incumbent of the former 39th District — finds herself fighting for re-election against two fellow Republicans and one Democrat.

Katie Porter (D-Irvine) is also looking to be reelected this year in the 47th District. She faces several Republican challengers in an area that narrowly skews toward Democrats.

Find out what’s happening in Lake Forestwith free, real-time updates from Patch.

Seats are also up for grabs in the 45th, 46th and 49th districts.

County Races

Three seats are open on the Orange County Board of Supervisors, with races in the 2nd, 4th and 5th districts.

Find out what’s happening in Lake Forestwith free, real-time updates from Patch.

Supervisors decide how to spend roughly $8 billion of taxpayer money on countywide issues like public health, criminal justice, homelessness, parks and libraries.

The race for the 2nd District involves the county’s first-ever supervisor district featuring a Latino-majority comprised of parts of Anaheim, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Orange, Santa Ana and Tustin. Five candidates are running for the seat, including Garden Grove City Council Member Kim Nguyen, Orange City Council Member Jon Dumitru and Santa Ana Mayor Vicente Sarmiento.

It’s a three-way race for the 4th District, as incumbent Doug Chaffee faces challengers Sunny Park and Steven Vargas. The district is made up of Anaheim, Buena Park, Fullerton and Placentia.

Supervisor Katrina Foley is running for election in the 5th District and faces three Republican challengers: Newport Beach Mayor Kevin Muldoon, State Sen. Pat Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) and former Assemblywoman Diane Harkey.

Current 5th District Supervisor Lisa Bartlett is terming out of office and currently running as a Republican for the 49th Congressional District.

The 5th District includes Costa Mesa, Dana Point, Irvine, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach and San Clemente.

Additionally, voters could usher in a new majority for the Orange County Board of Education with three seats up for election.

Board members have the power to approve charter schools and interdistrict transfers within the county.

The Board of Education elections are one of the few races in the June primary that will not have a runoff in the general election.

Also at the county level, voters will choose four new Superior Court judges, and a potentially new County Assessor and County Clerk-Recorder.

Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Don Barnes is up for reelection but is running unopposed.

State Races

At the state level, voters will decide whether to give Gov. Gavin Newsom a second term and U.S. Sen. Alex Padilla his first full term in office after he was appointed to the position in 2021 to fill the Senate seat vacated by Vice President Kamala Harris. Attorney General Rob Bonta is also running for his first full term in office after being appointed to fill the position vacated by Xavier Becerra, who left to serve in the Biden administration.

Voters will pick a new state controller, as Betty Yee is termed out. Other statewide races include secretary of state and lieutenant governor.

Voters have had the better part of a month to choose among the crowded field of contenders thanks to the state’s new universal vote-by-mail system. Ballots were mailed out by May 9, and ballots will be counted if postmarked by election day or dropped off at a ballot drop box, voting center, or county elections office by 8 p.m. June 7.

Early voting centers opened May 28, and in-person voting will be allowed until polls close at 8 p.m. Tuesday. In-person voting locations will offer same-day voter registration, replacement ballots and voting machines to those who need it.

Voters can find their early voting centers and ballot drop boxes here. And they can track their ballots here to make sure their vote is counted.

For a complete guide to statewide races, see the CalMatters California Election 2022 Voter Guide.

District Attorney’s Race

The race to find out who will be Orange County’s next district attorney is largely seen as headed to a runoff election in November as four candidates vie for the seat, including current District Attorney Todd Spitzer.

Spitzer’s office faces a number of widely-covered controversies and allegations, including accusations from a former employee that he said racist remarks during a death penalty case involving a Black man.

Spitzer is running on a tough-on-crime platform that promises Orange County residents from the LA-style progressive reforms.

RELATED: OCDA Reportedly Made ‘Racist Comments’ In Case Of Black Defendant

He faces three candidates in his bid for reelection, including Peter Hardin, a former Judge Advocate in the U.S. Marine Corps, who argues in his platform that he is putting forth a smarter approach toward crime that would make Orange County residents safer.

Former DA prosecutor Mike Jacobs and Drug Enforcement Administration attorney Bryan Chehock have also thrown their hats in the ring.

Jacobs’s platform focuses on his experience working as a prosecutor in the criminal justice system. He told Patch that if elected, he would like to “re-focus the emphasis and efforts of the District Attorney’s Office on the prosecution of serious offenses.”

Chehock’s platform promises Orange County residents independent and unbiased leadership, and a commitment to removing politics from the district attorney’s office.

For a complete guide to statewide races, see the CalMatters California Election 2022 Voter Guide.

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