‘Toss-up’ congressional election in once credible Republican Orange County will help determine congressional control

Despite the enrollment numbers, Varma said Chen has a formidable challenge ahead of him heading into November.

Even in a new neighborhood, Steele is well known in Orange County. She served on the county board of supervisors and, along with her husband, has been an active participant in local Republican politics for decades.

But she’s also a staunch conservative in an increasingly purple district. was jointly proposed.

Meanwhile, Chen campaigns to protect abortion rights, gun control, and access to healthcare.

“We need to make sure health care and your rights are protected. When you want to start a family, that’s your decision,” he said.

Varma said those policy differences might help Chen, but there are no guarantees.

“It depends on how the campaign frames the question. [Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] Agenda, she has an advantage,” she said.

But Varma added that it would be wise to hold Steele accountable for Cheng’s vote against contraception and same-sex marriage.

Over the course of the campaign, Steele says he aims to emphasize voting against tax increases and government spending, and supporting law enforcement and tougher criminal penalties. Most of them are angry about inflation, gas prices and crime this year, she said.

“Normally NPPs [no party preference] people are quiet about who to vote for [for],” she said. “It’s totally different now. They’re saying, ‘You know what?

But Chen, unlike some Democrats, isn’t trying to avoid these wallet problems, but to reframe them and focus on the true culprits.

“We want to make sure we bring costs down. Talk more about inflation,” he said. “You know, there’s a lot of price increases going on right now. We have Chevron and Exxon. They made $30 billion in profit last quarter. That’s a lot more than they’ve ever done. We are paying record highs for our pumps.”

Barbara Eames, a volunteer at the National Nights Out event in Westminster, where she has lived for over 50 years, told Steele that she and others in her church congregation were MPs like her. He said he hopes there will be more.

“We need more people like her because there is so much that is destroying our country right now,” Eames said. One is that we care so much about our children, and critical race theory, and the homosexual agenda in schools — all of that.

But at Garden Grove, Diana Tran embraced Chen’s message about efforts to curb gun violence.

“I’m homeschooling my kids now, and I started homeschooling because of the pandemic. Now, it’s really, really difficult to integrate oneself into society.

One thing both candidates want to talk about is their own immigrant family. Steel was born in South Korea and raised in Japan. Chen’s parents are Taiwanese and moved to the Midwest before Chen was born.

Both hope their background will help them connect with voters in their one-third Asian district, which includes one of the largest Vietnamese communities in the state. But Varma said each candidate is likely to appeal to different segments of the diverse Asian-American community here.

“It’s not a monolith. And Asian-American voters aren’t even monolithic among different ethnicities. I don’t feel it,” she said. “[Chen and Steel] generationally different. Their immigration stories differ from generation to generation. “

Varma also noted that while young Vietnamese voters tend to be biased toward the Democratic Party, their parents and grandparents still support the Republican Party. .

For example, among some of the candidates’ overlapping positions are mutual support for Taiwan’s independence and outspoken opposition to China’s leadership.

But Varma thinks the Republican Party’s recent shift to the right, including its acceptance of autocratic world leaders like Hungarian President Viktor Orban, could hurt Orange County’s conservative candidates.

“I mean, do Vietnamese voters still believe that Communists are against communism when they see Republicans inviting and befriending dictators and fascists?” she said. “I don’t know how it will play.”

And like most close elections, Varma added, this will come down to who’s paying attention — and it turns out that they actually vote.

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