Special election: Orange County voters to choose a new supervisor today
Inland Orange County voters are heading to the polls Tuesday to pick who will fill an open seat on the county Board of Supervisors.
The winner-take-all contest – in which about one-fifth of county residents are eligible to vote – could influence the balance of partisan power on the board, and both parties have campaigned heavily in recent weeks in a race they see as the first major fight of the 2020 election cycle.
Seven candidates are competing for the 3rd District seat, including three front-runners: the race’s lone Democrat, former 20-year Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, and two Republicans, Irvine Mayor Don Wagner and former Anaheim Councilwoman Kris Murray.
Also running are former Villa Park councilwoman Deborah Pauly, former Orange County employee Larry Bales, Irvine business owner Katherine Daigle, and Tustin attorney Kim-Thy “Katie” Hoang Bayliss. All four are Republicans.
The district – which spans Irvine, Tustin, Villa Park, Orange, Anaheim Hills, Yorba Linda and large stretches of unincorporated county land – has been represented by Republican supervisors for decades. Most recently, Todd Spitzer held the seat before he was elected Orange County District Attorney in November.
If Democrats win the race, it will continue the party’s November success and mark the second time in a matter of months that the party has won a seat on the five-member board after not holding one in a decade. If Republicans hold the seat, it will serve as a counter to the region’s recent blue wave and evidence that the GOP can still preserver in local elections.
Whoever is elected likely would take office either March 26 or April 9. The new supervisor will serve for 21 months and could seek re-election in 2020.
This story will be updated when vote results are posted.