Jose Solorio will cruise in the June primary but the general election could be bloody.
Jose Solorio will cruise in the June primary but the general election could be bloody.
Solorio for Senate

Mexicans Jose Solorio and Sharon Quirk-Silva Face Strong Election Challenges from Asians

Will Democrats holding/losing supermajorities in the California Assembly and State Senate come down to whether two veteran Mexican politicians in Orange County can fend off challenges from charging Asian-American GOP candidates? Jose Solorio and Sharon Quirk-Silva would surely like to know the answer to that.

While the national media looks for signs of Republicans snuggling up to Latino voters to save the party of immigrant bashing from itself, the California GOP is looking at the quickly changing demographics in the Golden State as an opportunity to score wins with conservative Asian-American candidates who can save the party of irrelevancy.

State Republican Party Chairman Jim Brulte has said eliminating the Democratic stronghold in both houses is the primary goal for the GOP. This seems most feasible in the state Senate, which is already below the 27-member supermajority line with the current suspensions of Democrats Ronald Calderon and Leland Yee (alleged bribery and corruption charges) and Rod Wright (accused of voter fraud and perjury).

Thwarting supermajorities is key to Republicans because, with them, Democrats have the power to raise taxes, pass emergency legislation, put measures on the ballot and override gubernatorial vetoes. And it could be a long reign because expanded term limits will allow incumbents to stay in one house for longer, up to 12 years.

The supermajority struggle is putting all eyes on the state Senate's 34th District seat, for which former school board member and Assemblyman Solorio (D-Santa Ana) is seeking the Democratic nomination in the June primary. Seeking the same seat on the GOP side are current county Supervisor Janet Nguyen and former Orange County Board of Education trustee Long Pham, both Vietnamese-Americans.

Writes Judy Lin for the Associated Press:

Solorio describes himself as a battle-tested moderate who will get more done for the residents of Santa Ana and Long Beach by working with the party in power. He cites budget reform and workers compensation among some of his accomplishments.

"A Democratic senator is going to be more influential for delivering Long Beach and Orange County priorities," he said.

Nguyen says democracy suffers when one party dominates, so she is campaigning on a platform of jobs, public safety and education. She is especially critical of [Gov. Jerry] Brown's three-year-old prison realignment law, which increased the burden on local governments and contends it has led to an increase in theft and burglaries.

Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva may face a strong re-election challenge.
Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva may face a strong re-election challenge.

Brulte has been talking up Young Kim, an aide to U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-Fullerton) and Korean-American, as a strong challenger in the 65th Assembly District race to Fullerton Democrat Quirk-Silva, who touts herself as being "One of 50 Most Outstanding Hispanic Alumni [at] Cal State Fullerton."

According to, the incumbent's priorities are to:

* Work across party lines and stop the partisan bickering. * Use constituent feedback in determining how to best prioritize the issues that will move both Orange County and California in the right direction. * Work to create jobs and economic opportunities by rewarding companies that create jobs here not overseas. * Fight to provide a first class education system for our children. * Demand fairness for Orange County in VLFAA funding formula. * Develop commonsense policies that rebuild our aging infrastructure, and invest in renewable and clean energy technology.

Over at, the challenger says she is committed to:

* Improving our economy and making California business-friendly so businesses can grow and create jobs. * Improving education opportunities for all students, so they can be prepared to compete and prosper in their chosen fields. * Fixing the state budget to end the wasteful spending and eliminate debt that harms future generations. * Making public safety a priority again and stopping the early release of dangerous criminals.

Email: Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!


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