Van Tran for Senate?
The word is out. The rumor has been kept as faithfully as certain elected officials’ wedding vows. Van Tran is likely to run for SD34.
After the 2004 debacle where not a single seat changed Party hands, conventional wisdom is that the only thing that could result in a change of breakdown in Sacramento is either the abduction of Dean Gardner (or whatever his name is) by aliens, or the passage of Prop 77.
However, I think one more thing could change that – Van Tran for Senate.
When I first heard Van was taking a serious look at this, I scoffed. But I did so foolishly, as I just didn’t know the numbers.
A little less than two years ago, I would’ve been right – running for this seat would’ve been a fool’s errand. There was a 10-point registration gap (44-34), and the numbers had been holding steady since they were drawn. But the mapmakers underestimated one thing, or rather one person, Van Tran.
When Van decided to run for Assembly, he got to work bringing Vietnamese-Americans into the political process, and the results have been staggering. Whereas about the time of the recall, the 34th Senate District had a 10-point gap, today Democrats hold only a 4-point advantage 41-37.
Additionally to Van’s advantage is that while his 68th AD holds only 65% of his home of Garden Grove, the 34th SD has 86% of it.
Further, evidence from recent elections shows Republicans can prosper. Bush beat Kerry this last year 52-47, and if anybody doesn’t think Van can outpoll the President in a district made up of 19% Asian voters is fooling themselves.
Initially, Senate Republican leader had been leaning towards recruiting a Hispanic Republican to run for this seat – someone such as Santa Ana Councilman Carlos Bustamante. Ackerman’s rationale for this was simple, demographically, Hispanics make up a whopping 60% of the district, while Asians make up only 18%. However, when you factor in the percentages each group makes up of the registered-voter population, Hispanics drop dramatically to only 30% of the electorate, while Asians actually climb a point to 19%. And this doesn’t even factor propensity, which as Mark Leyes found out the hard way, Asians in this area do tend to turn out for Van.
On the Demo side, the likely suspect to take the nomination appears to be Assemblyman Tom Umberg, though some rumors also place County Supe Lou Correa in the mix. If it is Umberg, as the good money says it’ll be, I wonder what the line on this race would be. Having seen numerically how Van has transformed the area, I sure wouldn’t bet against him.
Email Van, and tell him to make a go at this – we’d love to see a shakeup in Sacramento.