Looking at the 2008 California State Assembly 68th District race

In comparison to Tom Harman’s State Senate district, the 68th State Assembly district is, unsurprisingly, smaller, but also pretty interesting for a variety of reasons — as you can see in this map, it reaches from Costa Mesa up through Fountain Valley, Westminster and Garden Grove, along with areas of other cities. If you know the area, you know that those last three cities named are ground zero for the Vietnamese American community that settled in OC following the Vietnam War — and that, politically, said folks are extremely politically conservative, given the repercussions and divisions of the war. As the years have passed and roots have been put down further there’s been increasing political participation as a result, so it should be little surprise to learn that the incumbent is Republican, Vietnamese and, indeed, quite conservative:

Assemblyman Van Tran (R) (this is his official site rather than his campaign site, for reference)

Ken Arnold (D)

Perhaps as befits what is, after all, meant to be the scrappier side of the legislature, this race is one of those ones where local politics looms large — partially due to what I’ve noted, but partially due to other things. There’s been a major, major political feud at the OC County Supervisor level that stretched out for a long while where Tran had input — more here if you’d like some background, along with a brief follow-up here. That said, this election isn’t about that position but Tran’s current job, and there’s little to add here that I didn’t already say in regard to Harman for his positions, a fairly standard conservative take on things for California.

Arnold’s site, meanwhile, is truly scrappy — classic rough-hewn design that now inevitably screams 1995 or so — and it’s not entirely encouraging to read on his issues page this statement:

I am sorry that I do not yet have a comprehensive set of issue statements on this website.

My top areas of concern besides the state economy and budget are education, environment, energy and health care.

But what I am really about is bringing real representation to the district.
Being someone that will listen and care.

He provides links and discussion to issues elsewhere but there’s something to be said for centralization, frankly. Especially with two days to go to the election! (Then there’s his biography, which is…well, expansive. Not that I mind, I can be expansive too, I admit.)

Honestly, this is a race I don’t feel passionate about. Tran’s a political pro, full stop, and he’ll easily cruise to reelection. Running against him is an enthusiastic candidate but that only gets you so far, and I can’t say the enthusiasm’s rubbed off on me. Maybe next time.

My vote…I don’t know, I think I’ll write in someone.

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