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The Race is On For AD 27

February 3, 2015

The Race is On For AD 27

by The Left Hook

The campaign to replace Assemblymember Nora Campos when she terms out in 2016 is already off the ground for at least two candidates interested in the seat. San Jose City Council Member Ash Kalrakicked off his campaign over the weekend, drawing a strong and supportive crowd, as lion dancers ushered in the lineup of impressive names there to endorse him.  State Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones and Board of Equalization Member Fiona Ma came from points beyond the Valley to show their support for Kalra.  Among the popular former Public Defender and Georgetown Law graduate’s many talents seems to be raising money.  He just surpassed the $100-thousand mark in campaign funds.

As for websites, the first one up and running belongs to former political prisoner Cong Thanh Do, who declared his intention to run for the District 27 seat even before the New Year.  Do has a fascinating background, having fled Vietnam for the U.S. in the early 80’s only to be imprisoned in Vietnam while visiting 20 years later.  Do was held for more than a month, waging a hunger strike, before Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren was able to secure his release. Do continues to advocate for human rights in Vietnam, but now he’ll turn his attention to trying to win a seat in the CA Assembly.  The district has a sizeable Vietnamese American population, which has a growing reputation for getting out the vote.  The seat, which was held by a succession of Latino representatives, including Campos, Joe Coto, and Manny Diaz, also has a large Latino population.

Splitting that strong Vietnamese American voting block will likely be former Vice Mayor Madison Nguyen, who will have some bridge building work to do with a large segment of the community who was angered by her role in the Little Saigon controversy. But there’s been no official word on her candidacy.  Nguyen’s former co-council members Rose Herrera and Xavier Campos are said to have their eye on the State Assembly seat as well, along with Santa Clara County School Board Member Darcie Green.  And we have to ask, just because we know she’s ambitious, even though she was just elected to the SJ City Council, will Magdalena Carrasco find the idea of a state office too tempting to stay put on the City level?

This is the first time an open seat in a heavily Democratic district like this one is subject to the “top two” factor.  Campos wasn’t strongly challenged in her last two races.  She knew she wouldn’t have a strong Republican opponent in the General Election, but the game has changed.  Candidates will get to serve longer in the Assembly, 12 years, giving the new ones an opportunity to move up the ranks in power, getting a longer term perspective on policy.  Stay  tuned, things are just getting interesting.


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