Orange County Vietnamese newspaper, Nguoi Viet Daily News, is reporting that Westminster City Councilman Tyler “Truong” Diep has dropped out of the 72nd State Assembly race. Diep, who is serving his first term on the council, could not be reached late Tuesday night to confirm the news.
My Vietnamese is a bit rusty, but based on a free Google translation of the news article, Diep told the newspaper that he was dropping out because it was “no longer (a) strategic advantage.” Just a few hours before Diep’s announcement, Jon “Always Has It First” Fleischman reported right here on the Flash Report that “rumors have been swirling for a couple of weeks that Diep was going to be dropping out of the race for personal reasons.”
Diep’s announcement completely reshuffles the 72nd Assembly race. Yesterday, the Flash Report confirmed that Republican Troy Edgar, the Mayor of Los Alamitos, was dropping his congressional bid in favor of the State Assembly race. Edgar will face off against Little Saigon businessman Long Pham and Matt Harper, a Huntington Beach City Councilmember and former state YR Chairman.
Fleischman’s assessment of the race, which you can read here, predicts: “Unless Harper is able to significant step it up on the fundraising side, Edgar becomes a prohibitive frontrunner at this point. Pham would need to post some big bucks raised to engage in this battle.”
I’d just add a few observations about the 72nd Assembly race.
1) Rohrabacher-Royce split: The two OC congressional heavyweights are on opposite sides in this race. Edgar has the support of Congressman Ed Royce, while Harper has the backing of Congressman Dana Rohrabacher. The 72nd Assembly race could turn into a proxy battle for one of the OC congressional showdowns that never materialized.
2) Official End of the Tran-Nguyen Rivalry: For almost a decade, there’s been an internal rivalry within the OC Vietnamese community between OC Supervisor Janet Nguyen and former Assemblyman Van Tran. Diep was groomed in the Tran political operation. Harper currently works for Nguyen’s county office. Diep’s exit from the Assembly race leaves no Tran heir apparent to run for state office. Is this the official end of the rivalry?
3) State Assembly= Bad Career Move: One wise former GOP Assemblyman has repeatedly told me that running for State Assembly was the worst career move of his life. Six years with mediocre pay and no retirement. If you don’t move up to the State Senate, your career is over. It’s unclear if Diep’s “personal reasons” or “strategic advantage” have anything to do with the State Assembly being a dead-end job for a young councilman.