Garden Grove Councilwoman Kim Nguyen’s campaign for the 2nd District seat on the OC Board of Supervisors received a major boost, picking up the endorsement of the powerful Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs (AOCDS). Nguyen is facing off against Santa Ana Mayor Vince Sarmiento in the November run-off.
Sarmiento finished first in the June primary with 35% of the vote, followed by Nguyen with 22%. Both candidates are Democrats.
While the AOCDS had made an independent expenditure on Nguyen’s behalf during the primary, they didn’t formally endorse her. The union spent $139,077.34 in support of Nguyen during the primary.
“I am honored to have earned the endorsement of the men and women of the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs who help keep us safe across Orange County,” said Nguyen in statement. “I am humbled by their trust in me and will always work hard on behalf of public safety professionals and our first responders.”
“Far too few of us accept the responsibility of seeking public office. We appreciate Councilwoman Nguyen taking an active part in our County, her years of honest and dedicated public service, and her support of law enforcement,” commented in the AOCDS in a statement.
Nguyen was first elected to the Garden Grove City Council in 2016, and re-elected in 2020 with 70% of the vote.
While both candidates are progressives, Sarmiento has charted a distinctly left-wing course since his election as mayor in 2020, aligning himself with the young, left-wing council majority and its anti-law enforcement stance. During the primary, Sarmiento sent an e-mail to Democratic Party of Orange County Central Committee members boasting of his efforts to divert resources away from the Santa Ana Police Department and into social services – a key tenet of the “Defund the Police” movement.
Sarmiento’s sister and business partner Vickie has made a career out of suing law enforcement agencies in use-of-force litigation. She is currently co-representing the family of Brandon Lopez in their $20 million wrongful death lawsuit against the Anaheim Police Department in Lopez shooting death following an vehicle pursuit and hours-long stand-off. Vince Sarmiento has an ownership interest in his sister’s law practice and stands to benefit financially from any settlement.
Nguyen, on the other hand, has struck a more supportive position toward law enforcement, eschewing “woke” positions on public safety issues. For example, she publicly stated she thinks that undocumented immigrants who are “dangerous criminals” and a “clear threat to public safety” should be turned over to Immigrant and Customs Enforcement. This position, while squarely in the mainstream of public opinion, led to Nguyen being attacked left-wing social justice activists.
Nguyen is endorsed by all of her council colleagues (except Councilman Phat Bui), as well as a majority of Sarmiento’s colleagues on the Santa Ana City Council.
How Much Will AOCDS Spend?
The AOCDS has the largest warchest of any political player in Orange County. As of June 30 (the end of the most recent campaign reporting period), the union had $1,036,392.09 in cash in its independent expenditure committee.
The AOCDS IE committee is like a natural spring of campaign funds, continually filling up with dues automatically deducted from its members paychecks.
Between May 22 and June 30 of this year, the AOCDS IE committee spent $290,787.31. During that same period, $150,581.59 in dues revenue came into the committee.
There is effectively no limit to how much the AOCDS can spend in the 2nd Supervisor District campaign (and in the 5th District election, as well).
The big question is whether the AOCDS will limit itself to supporting Nguyen, or also pour its resources into hitting Sarmiento on his record on public safety, taxes, municipal mismanagement and “woke” stances like his support for allowing non-citizens to vote in Santa Ana City Council elections – stances that please his left-wing base but alienate mainstream voters who are concerned with rising crime and growing public disorder.