Irvine Mayor Sukhee Kang announced today he's running in 2012 for what will likely be three-term Republican John Campbell's newly redrawn congressional district seat.
Kang, obviously un-chilled by City Council colleague, former mayor and fellow Democrat Beth Krom's handy loss to Campbell in her 2010 bid for the 48th Congressional District office, must first
lock up a Democratic primary race be one of the top two vote-getters to qualify for a runoff in a new district carved out of parts of the 48th and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher's 46th district.
Redistricting will not be finalized until the fall.
Voice of OC has the scoop on Kang seeking to become the second Korean-American elected to the House. Jay Kim represented the 41st Congressional District that straddled the Orange, Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties lines from 1993-1999.
Kim pleaded guilty to accepting $230,000 in illegal donations--including one-third of all contributions to his 1992 campaign--and was sentenced to two months of house arrest. He kept his seat but lost the 1998 Republican primary to Gary Miller, who has represented the district ever since.
Kang hopefully has no such skeletons in his closet. He'll build support off what the Voice of OC's Adam Elmahrek dubs his "rock-star status" within the Korean-American community.
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He'll need it to counteract heavy Republican support in three coastal enclaves that are expected to include territory in the new congressional district: Irvine, Laguna Beach and Huntington Beach.
Of course, presuming Kang
wins the Democratic nomination, finishes in the top two, losing the general election can still represent a "win" in local Irvine politics. Kang is part of the majority block on the council that includes Krom and Councilman Larry Agran, who routinely builds election slush funds that piggyback off higher-profile races: