With ballot-counting still underway, many races are too close to call, including in Orange County. So far, Katie Porter has won reelection in the U.S. House, but two other Congressional races are still hanging in the balance. Former mixed martial arts fighter Tito Ortiz is now on the Huntington Beach City Council. And Vicente Sarmiento is poised to be Santa Ana’s first new mayor in more than two decades.
“Orange County was never as blue as people made it out to be. … So that Huntington Beach elected an MMA fighter who thinks coronavirus is population control … no that’s peak Huntington Beach,” says Gustavo Arellano, host of KCRW’s “Orange County Line.”
He continues, “That Michelle Steel, the current supervisor is leading the incumbent Harley Rouda by a razor thin margin, even though she was basically a coronavirus skeptic all year, no that doesn’t surprise me at all.”
He says what happened in Santa Ana was surprising. “If all the votes continue the way they’re going, Vicente Sarmiento will be the first ever Bolivian American mayor in the United States. And he’s also at the head of a progressive City Council majority that will definitely upend politics in that city.”
Arellano says it’s silly to suggest that a blue wave has subsumed all of Orange County. “We know that the crazies of … Huntington Beach and Newport Beach, they’re still very very active, and they’re still out there. … And of course right now Orange County is going for Joe Biden by … 54% to 44% for Trump, so Orange County is definitely bluer. But to think that the Republican Party is completely dead … we’re still not there yet.”