With ballot-counting still continuing, embattled Assemblyman Bill Brough, R-Dana Point, appeared to be out of a job Wednesday.
Unofficial results from Tuesday’s election show Brough, who was rocked by allegations of sexual misconduct by multiple women, including Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, in fourth place with 17.95% of the vote in his reelection bid. He was ahead of only Mission Viejo City Councilman Ed Sachs, who had just 14.26% in the 73rd District.
Laurie Davies, who was endorsed by the Orange County Republican Party after it rescinded an endorsement of Brough, was leading the way in the race and with 27.85%, and she appeared to be heading into the November runoff against Democrat Scott Rhinehart, who lost to Brough in 2018 by was in second place in Tuesday’s election with 21.66%.
“It is an honor to serve in the legislature,” Brough told City News Service. “I always fight for what I believe is best for our community. I look forward to the next chapter of my life.”
There are 158,201 votes left to count out of 487,699 cast on Tuesday, according to Orange County Registar of Voter Neal Kelley’s office. The county has 1.6 million registered voters. It was unclear how many of those remaining votes might affect the final outcome in the 73rd District.
Brough has denied the misconduct allegations.
In other races, Republican Orange County Supervisor Don Wagner is heading for another term, leading Democratic challenger Ashleigh Aitken 54.42% to 45.58%.
Supervisor Andrew Do was leading in his reelection bid with 44.60%. He will have to face a November runoff, against either Westminster City Councilman Sergio Contreras, who had 20.57%, or termed-out Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido, with 19.93%. Just 382 votes separate Contreras and Pulido as of Wednesday afternoon. Garden Grove City Councilwoman Kim Nguyen finished last with 14.90%.
Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, led the pack in his 37th District reelection effort. Moorlach had 49.95% of the vote, with UC Irvine law professor Dave Min at 25.50% and Costa Mesa Katrina Foley at 24.55%. Min leads Foley by 1,569 votes, leaving it unclear which one will challenge Moorlach in November.
Sen. Ling Ling Chang, R-Brea, captured 49.90% of the vote in the 29th District, setting up a runoff with former state Sen. Josh Newman, who was recalled and lost to Chang.
Democrats appear to have been shut out in the 72nd Assembly District with former state Sen. Janet Nguyen making a comeback with 35.09% of the vote over incumbent Republican Assemblyman Tyler Diep with 26.46%. Diep has angered some Republican leaders, who complained he has sided with Democrats too often. Democrats Diedre Nguyen and Bijan Mohseni trail with 23.66% and 14.78% respectively.
Assemblyman Steven Choi, R-Irvine, appears headed for a runoff in the 68th District with Democrat Irvine City Councilwoman Melissa Fox. Choi had 45.62% with Fox trailing with 31.91%.
Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris, D-Laguna Beach, appears headed for a runoff with Newport Beach Mayor Diane Dixon. Petrie-Norris leads 49.21% in the 74th District ahead of Dixon with 26.93%, but Republican Deputy District Attorney Kelly Ernby is close behind with 23.87%.
Kelley said voting in Orange County went relatively smoothly — in sharp contrast to the glitches that led to hours-long lines at some vote centers in Los Angeles County.
“I’m really proud of where we ended up with a launch of a whole new way of voting and, overall, it’s worked really well,” Kelley said.
The longest Orange County lines popped up at Cal State Fullerton and UC Irvine, where “all of the students showed up in droves,” Kelley said.
A couple of power outages at UCI delayed voting there Tuesday night, Kelley said. But university officials helped restore power before Kelley had to use back-up power generators.
“We were able to process every single voter up till 10:15 p.m.,” Kelley said.
There were no issues with the voting devices either, Kelley said.
Turnout was projected to ultimately be in the high 40s, up from 42% in 2018 and possibly matching 49% in 2016. In 2012, turnout was 26%.