On Tuesday, Nov. 8, voters in Irvine will be heading to polling places to fill out a ballot for the first time since 2020. Locally, the 2022 Midterm Elections could result in a new mayor, and two new city council members.

Aside from a mayoral race, and a pair of seats on Irvine’s City Council, voters in Irvine and throughout Orange County still have many choices to make as Election Day approaches. Specifically, Irvine residents will have the opportunity to select a pair of U.S. Representatives, along with California Governor and Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, and Controller.

With a total of six different congressional and nine State Assembly races happening in Orange County, Irvine voters will have a say in the 47th Congressional District election, along with the State Assembly District 73.

With Irvine Mayor Farrah Khan along with Irvine Council members Anthony Kuo and Larry Agran seeking reelection, voters will have some familiarity along with new candidates vying to represent Irvine for the next few years.

With City Council terms set at four-years and the Mayor serving a two-year term, Khan, Agran and Kuo will need to convince voters that back-to-back terms are warranted.

There are two open seats on the City Council and Agran and Kuo will face off against four other candidates. Khan will take on four candidates for mayor.

In 2020, Khan, a nonpartisan, defeated former Irvine Mayor Christina Shea with a total of 56,304 votes and is campaigning for a second term this year.

With a total of 11 candidates on the 2022 ballot, voters are seeking actionable answers to topics ranging from the inner workings of the Orange County Power Authority and the potential switch from at-large to district elections in Irvine.

Candidates are also highly focused on the impact on the quality of life All American Asphalt is having on residents in Orchard Hills.

Irvine Mayoral Candidates

Out of the candidates for Irvine mayor, Katherine Daigle, an author and journalist, is the only candidate on the 2022 ballot with prior campaign experience. An eight-year resident of Woodbridge, Daigle ran for mayor in 2020. She received 8.2% of the vote.

This year, Daigle’s top priorities are to cease operations of the All American Asphalt facility and create more transparency within the Orange County Power Authority, according to her candidate statement.

Also running for mayor of Irvine is Tom Chomyn, a 25-year resident of Irvine. Chomyn moved here after graduating from Indiana University. As a technology account executive, Chomyn is highly involved in the community, with positions in the Greentree Homeowners Association, AYSO and Irvine High School Boosters.

Chomyn supports building a Veterans Memorial Park and Cemetery at the Great Park and expanding the council in a switch to district elections.

In his candidate statement, Chomyn expressed the need for more accountability and transparency inside the Orange County Power Authority, as well as the relocation of the All American Asphalt facility.

Simon Moon is an active chaplain in the United States Army Reserve and is also running for Irvine mayor. As a 10-year resident of Irvine, Moon serves as a pastor locally at the Onnuri Church. In his statement for candidacy, Moon vowed to never defund the police and wants to advocate for the homeless.

Lifelong Irvine resident Branda Lin has experience as a Community Services Commissioner for the city of Irvine. Lin also co-founded Irvine Watchdog, “a non-profit organization dedicated to spotlighting city issues and holding elected officials accountable,” according to her candidate statement.

“I’m well-versed in the challenges we face, from inadequate shade structures in our parks to asphalt plant pollution; haphazard planning and insufficient retail in the Great Park; and high electricity rates without adequate notification,” said Lin.

Current Irvine Mayor Farrah Khan will seek reelection for mayor. In 2020, Khan garnered 47.6% of the vote. Since her election, Khan has had some notable accomplishments, working closely to bring innovation and climate action into Irvine.

Khan has faced criticism, however, for several issues over the last two years — failing to bring a veterans memorial park and cemetery into Irvine, and issues relating to the potentially toxic emissions stemming from the All American Asphalt facility.

Irvine City Council Candidates

Irvine City Council incumbent and long-time Irvine politician Larry Agran has been the county’s most outspoken proponent for a veterans memorial park and cemetery in Irvine. Agran has also served as Irvine mayor.

Agran, who filled Khan’s City Council seat in 2020 will be running for a four-year term.

In his statement, Agran proposed a Climate Action Plan that will offer residents an alternative to the Orange County Power Authority. If elected, Agran supports district elections with the aspect of expanding the council from five to seven seats.

John Park currently serves as the chairman of the Irvine Finance Commission and ran for City Council on the 2020 ballot. Park fell short despite receiving more than 32,000 votes.

Park, a 22-year resident of Irvine, hopes to change things in 2022 and says that public safety, excellent education and open spaces are all great aspects of Irvine. However, Park is concerned with the rapid state of growth in Irvine, which he says is “unprecedented.” In order to mitigate that growth, in his candidate statement, Park said the city will need a candidate with “fiscal fortitude” that understands multimillion-dollar budgets.

Kathleen Treseder is a climate scientist and a professor at UC Irvine. With a passion for environmental issues, Treseder helped spearhead the creation of OC Clean Power, which according to their mission statement, “is an alliance of community members and businesses in Orange County who support energy choice, clean energy and local control.”

Locally, Treseder has also been vocal about air quality issues in relation to the All American Asphalt Facility, and helped introduce an air toxic reporting system for Irvine residents.

Navid Sadigh, currently a student at Irvine Valley College, is studying computer science.

As a lifelong resident of Irvine, Sadigh said he has noticed a lack of internet service providers within the city, and he hopes to change that.

Appointed by Khan to the Irvine Transportation Commission, Irvine resident Scott Hansen has served on a number of community-based boards and associations, including the Irvine Unified School District Finance Committee and Legacy Partner in the Irvine Public Schools Foundation.

Lifelong Irvine resident and incumbent Anthony Kuo is opting for a second four-year term as a City Council member. This year, Kuo, who is a resident of Woodbridge, said he knows what it takes to “run Irvine city government with business-like efficiency.”

U.S. House 47th Congressional District: Katie Porter (D) vs. Scott Baugh (R)

Opponents from Huntington Beach and Irvine will face off in the race for the U.S. House 47th Congressional District. In this race, Scott Baugh, a Huntington Beach-based lawyer, and former State Assembly member, will be challenging 45th Congressional District Democratic incumbent and Irvine-native Katie Porter.

The 47th District, which topographically spans between Seal Beach and Laguna Beach from north to south, widens at its center to include Irvine.

For the last two years, Porter has served as the 45th Congressional District representative, after defeating republican Greg Raths in the 2020 election. As a member of the House Financial Services Committee and the House Financial Services Committee, Porter built a well-known reputation for her frequent use of a whiteboard during congressional hearings.

On her campaign website, Porter has been vocal about reducing inflation, combating the rising cost of healthcare and maintaining reproductive rights for women.

During her most recent campaign, the former UC Irvine professor has raised more than $22 million from donations, spending a total of $24 million in the process, according to the campaign finance website OpenSectets.org.

Baugh, Porter’s 47th District opponent, has raised substantially less funding during his campaign according to the same website. As of October 19, Baugh has reported a total of $2.6 million in contributions, spending $2.5 million.

In terms of experience, Baugh served in the California State Assembly between 1995 and 2000.

Baugh was indicted on multiple felony charges in 1996, after an investigation found that he, along with several members of the GOP, engaged in election fraud to help secure a victory for Baugh in the 1995 election. Eventually, Baugh admitted to violating state campaign finance laws. He paid a civil fine totaling $47,900.

Baugh’s conservative views on abortion are the opposite of Porter’s. In a recent O.C. Register interview, Baugh was attributed to saying “life begins at conception.” Baugh also supports the charter school system and plans to create avenues for the state’s per-pupil funding.

In terms of endorsements, Baugh’s website has listed endorsement support from Irvine City Council member Anthony Kuo, O.C. Sheriff Don Barnes, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz and The Orange County Register.

Orange County Supervisor 5th District: Katrina Foley vs. Patricia Bates

Laguna Niguel resident and State Senate Republican Patricia “Pat” Bates, and current Orange County District 2 Supervisor Katrina Foley, will be facing off for control of Orange County’s 5th Supervisor District.

The district which covers Aliso Viejo, Costa Mesa, Dana Point, a large portion of Irvine, Laguna Beach, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Newport Beach, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, along with unincorporated areas of Coto de Caza, is currently held by O.C. Supervisor Lisa Bartlett.

In terms of experience, Bates has served Senate District 36 since 2014, most recently defeating Democratic candidate Marggie Castellano in 2018. Prior to the Senate, Bates was Laguna Niguel’s first mayor, serving four terms between 1989 and 1998.

If elected, Bates lists coastal and environmental protection, the protection and support of senior citizens in Orange County as top priorities. In terms of endorsements, Bates has secured support from the Orange County Register along with many members of Congress and State Senators.

Foley was elected to the Orange County Board of Supervisors in 2020 by defeating long-time Orange County Republican John Moorlach. If elected to represent the 5th District, Foley’s campaign website indicates she will continue to push for economic recovery, stronger public safety measures and reduce homelessness.

State Assembly District 73: Cottie Petrie-Norris (D) vs. Steven S. Choi (R)

The race for State Assembly District 73 will be fought between two Irvine-based opponents looking to represent Irvine residents at the state level.

Irvine resident, and Republican Assemblyman Steven S. Choi, Ph.D., who currently represents Assembly District 68, will look to keep the State Assembly District 73’s right-leaning trajectory intact, by defeating 74th District incumbent Democratic Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris.

Choi, a former Irvine Mayor from 2012 and 2016, and a City Council member between 2004 and 2012, has held his State Assembly District 68 seat since 2016. In 2020, Choi successfully defended his seat against former Irvine City Council member Melissa Fox (D-Irvine).

Per Choi’s campaign website, he plans to continue to fight for COVID-19 protections for both residents and those experiencing homelessness in Orange County. As one of his main points of emphasis, Choi co-authored Assembly Bill 251, which provides an income tax credit for family caregivers, giving families the ability to purchase medical equipment, transportation and/or make needed modifications to their homes.

In terms of additional priorities, Choi wants to improve healthcare by combating rising costs, oppose racism and discrimination in Orange County, and continue residents overcome financial challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. In terms of financial help, Choi said he has advocated for the Governor to allow counties to delay property taxes without penalty.

Choi has received endorsement support from Orange County District 3 Supervisor Don Wagner, Lucy Dunn of the Orange County Business Council (retired), and John Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.

As of October 22, Choi listed just over $339,000 in campaign contributions and a total of $429,828 in campaign expenditures.

Petrie-Norris (D-Irvine) will be challenging Choi, having generated more than $1.5 million in campaign contributions since January 2021. In 2020, Petrie-Norris narrowly defeated Republican Diane Dixon for the AD-74 seat, in a race that was decided by less than 3,000 votes.

In terms of priorities for AD-73, which spans between Santa Ana and Lake Forest, and including Costa Mesa in the south and Limestone Canyon in the north, Petrie-Norris’s campaign website lists maintaining women’s reproductive rights, aiding the county in wildfire prevention funding, and combating homelessness in Orange County, as core campaign issues.

Endorsing Petrie-Norris are U.S. Senator Alex Padilla, California Governor Gavin Newsom and California U.S. 45th District Representative Katie Porter.

Secretary of State: Shirley N. Weber (D) vs Robert Bernosky (R)

California’s race for Secretary of State is between Republican candidate Robert Bernosky who will be challenging Democratic incumbent Shirley N. Weber, Ph.D., a position Weber has served since being appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in January 2021.

Bernosky describes himself as “a career Chief Financial Officer,” and prior to running for Secretary of State, ran for State Assembly District 30 in 2012. He went on to lose to then-incumbent Luis Alejo in a lopsided defeat by more than 35,000 votes.

In terms of candidate campaign financing in the race for the California Secretary of State, Weber is the clear front runner having generated $1.6 million in campaign contributions. Weber has also secured endorsements from Gov. Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Rob Bonta.

In his quest for Secretary of State, Bernosky’s campaign has reported $0 in campaign contributions. His campaign website also does not list any specific endorsements.

Controller: Leehan Chen (R) vs. Malia M. Cohen (D)

As incumbent Betty Yee ends her term as Controller of California due to term limits, there are two of California’s political minds vying for one of the top spots in state government.

A Democrat and Republican will face off in this highly contested statewide race. In terms of responsibilities, the State Controller’s office in California issues paychecks for approximately 50 million individuals each year. Those checks include payments to state employees, personal income tax refund checks, and payments to Medi-Cal recipients.

Leehan Chen (R-San Francisco), took leave from his position as Director of Domestic Policy Studies at Stanford University in order to focus on his campaign. In addition to his background in education, Chen has also worked as a political advisor for both George W. Bush and Mitt Romney.

In his quest for Controller, Chen’s campaign website indicates that his top priorities include auditing state programs for fraud, while utilizing technology to create transparency in taxpayer expenditures.

Cal Matters reports that Mr. Chen’s campaign contributions have exceeded $5 million since January 2021.

Malia M. Cohen is also applying for the job of Controller. Cohen has represented the 10th District on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors since 2014 and currently serves on the State Board of Equalization.

Sporting the endorsement from the California Democratic Party, Cohen’s website indicates that she will work to address equity issues among women and single families, and will take action on climate. As Controller, Cohen said she will use the position to build a climate action agenda for California.

Attorney General: Rob Bonta (D) vs. Nathan Hochman (R)

Bonta was never elected to the Attorney General position, instead being appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2021 after then-Attorney General Xavier Becerra was appointed U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services. With that said, this would be his first shot at winning the election for his current position. During the primary election, Bonta received more than 3.7 million votes, good for 54.3% of the vote, while his opponent Hochman received 1.2 million votes, or 18.2%.

In his short stint as Attorney General, Bonta has focused on ensuring sentences for gun traffickers and sex traffickers, as well as multiple high-profile settlements with pharmaceutical companies for wrongful conduct. Bonta has also expressed prioritizing the opioid crisis, already creating a task force and securing billions of dollars in settlements against manufacturers and distributors.

“As your Attorney General, I and my team are confronting our fentanyl crisis head on to protect California families,” Bonta said.

Hochman is an attorney, who formerly worked in the Criminal Division as an Assistant U.S. Attorney. He has stated that his primary focuses would also revolve around getting fentanyl off the streets of California, “prioritize compassionate solutions” for homelessness and prosecute human traffickers statewide.

State Treasurer: Fiona Ma (D) vs. Jack M. Guerrero (R)

Ma, a certified public accountant (CPA), has served as State Treasurer since 2018 and received 58% of the vote in the primaries. Like other officials in this year’s election, Ma has expressed interest in running for governor in the future. Ma has stated that if re-elected, her focus would revolve around funding for healthcare, housing, jobs and education at all levels.

“California’s economic recovery requires a proven problem solver with a track record of getting things done,” Ma has said about her run for re-election. “I’m running for re-election as Treasurer to fight for people all across California by investing in the healthcare, housing and schools we need.”

Guerrero is also a CPA and former Mayor of the City of Cudahy. He has stated in his campaign that he would advocate for policies that would lower taxes and reduce government power.

“California’s financial crisis is the consequence of severe mismanagement and poor leadership by reckless politicians,” Guerrero has stated. “They do not care about California’s horrible credit rating, unfunded pension liabilities in excess of $1 trillion, record-high interest payments, and fake budget ‘surpluses.’”

Insurance Commissioner: Ricardo Lara (D) vs. Robert Howell (R)

Lara has served as State Insurance Commissioner since 2019 and became the first openly gay California statewide elected official. He has stated that his priorities include creating a competitive insurance marketplace, saving insurers on premiums. As Commissioner, Lara tackled the COVID-19 pandemic by directing insurance companies to provide $1.75 billion in relief for businesses, due to reduced risk of loss. Lara also spearheaded the move for insurance companies to provide more telehealth options.

“As your Insurance Commissioner, I am bringing years of on-the-job experience to solve some of California’s most pressing problems, from helping wildfire survivors to holding insurers accountable,” Lara said in his California voter guide statement. “And as reproductive rights are under attack nationally and in other states, I am more committed than ever to fighting for equality in health care choices here in California.”

Howell is a cybersecurity equipment manufacturer and says he is “not another politician.” If elected as insurance commissioner, Howell has stated he intends to create affordable insurance rates for Californians with a focus on affordable housing, wildfires and insurance rights.

Member, State Board Of Equalization: Ted Gaines (R) vs. Jose Altamirano (D)

Ted Gaines is a Republican from Northern California, who served as a State Senator between 2011 and 2018. Gaines has represented District 1 on the State Board Of Equalization since January 2019. With his four-year term ending in January, he will be seeking re-election against Democratic candidate Jose Altamirano.

In terms of priorities Gaines’ campaign website indicates that he will be focused on job creation. Altamirano indicates that he wants all taxpayers, “to know their rights as taxpayers in California, and that’s what the BOE does.”

Altamirano, of West Sacramento, is seeking to become the first Latino on the State Board Of Equalization, and has previous experience in an appointed position as a commissioner in West Sacramento from 2015 – 2019. He also worked at the California State Compensation Insurance Fund for more than three decades.

In terms of financing, Gaines campaign contributions have slightly surpassed $500,000, spending roughly $925,000 since January 2021. Altamirano has raised substantially less during the same election cycle, posting less than $10,000 in campaign contributions.

U.S. Senator Full Term: Alex Padilla (D) vs. Mark Meuser (R)

The race for the U.S. Senator places two candidates on the 2022 ballot twice. Democratic incumbent Alex Padilla and Republican challenger Mark Meuser are both running for U.S. Senate, and in a special election for the U.S. Senate to represent California.

Meuser, an attorney, has laid out an eight-layer action plan on his campaign website. In short, Meuser’s priorities include battling inflation, improving education and infrastructure. In terms of political experience, Meuser unsuccessfully ran for California State Senate District 7 in 2012, but was defeated by Democratic incumbent Mark DeSaulnier.

In January 2020, U.S. Senator Alex Padilla was appointed to the Senate by California Gov. Gavin Newsom, due to former Senator Kamala Harris vacating her Senate seat for the role of Vice President of the United States.

Now, with his term ending in January, Padilla is seeking re-election. If re-elected Padilla vows to continue addressing climate change, Medicare and immigration reform.

In terms of financing, Padilla is the clear front runner. Since January 2021, Padilla campaign has received more than $11.6 million in contributions. His campaign has spent roughly $4 million, leaving Padilla with more than $7 million in cash on hand, according to the campaign finance website opensecrets.org.

Meuser, according to the same website, generated a total of $948,966 in campaign contributions, spending nearly that total in the process. Currently, Meuser is reported to have approximately $130,000 cash on hand.

Lieutenant Governor: Eleni Kounalakis (D) vs. Angela Jacobs (R)

Eleni Kounalakis was the first woman elected Lieutenant Governor when she took office in 2018. She has made it clear that she has aspirations to one day be governor of California and has stated that Lieutenant Governor is one of the more direct paths to do so, as has been the case for two of the past four elected governors. Kounalakis received nearly 3.6 million votes during the primary election, good for a 52.7% share. In her time in office, Kounalakis said her primary focus was on public higher education, environmental protection and international engagement in collaboration with the governor.

Angela Jacobs was second to Kounalakis in the primary election, receiving 1.3 million votes, good for 19.9%. Jacobs is a former Lancaster City Councilmember and became the first Black woman to hold the position. She has received an endorsement from the California Republican Party, but has still agreed with multiple actions made by Governor Newsom, including his decision to leave water and drought measures up to local government and Newsom’s CARE Court law, which provided funding for homeless individuals who may be suffering from psychosis or schizophrenia disorders.

Governor of California: Gavin Newsom (D) vs. Brian Dahle (R)

To retain his seat as Governor of California, Democrat Gavin Newsom will face off against Republican State Senator Brian Dahle.

Dahle, a Republican, is a farmer from the rural city of Bieber, north of Sacramento, and has served as a State Senator since 2019, filling the vacant 1st District seat through a special election. Below are multiple points Dahle made during his only debate against Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Dahle on climate change:
“There’s nobody who cares about the climate than myself. I’m a farmer, I’m in tune with the climate every day and it is changing, no doubt about it, but the policies that (Gov. Gavin Newsom) has put forward aren’t doing anything to actually help the climate. He is driving up the cost of gasoline and electricity. Californians are suffering and they’re fleeing to other states.”

Dahle on homelessness:
“I commit to declaring homelessness a public health crisis. We have a housing crisis, which hits the poorest Californians hardest. Streamline housing production and we’ll ease the pressure. Drug addiction drives many people to the street and keeps them there. We must treat the drug crisis with urgency, hammering suppliers while helping addicts into recovery. We can’t just lock people up because they’re sick, but California needs better tools to steer those who need into psychiatric care. There’s nothing compassionate about letting people spiral into crisis while living on the street.”

Dahle on crime:
“I commit to keeping our communities safe and holding criminals accountable. I will appoint a Parole Board that will not allow for the early release of violent and repeat offenders. I will fully fund the Armed and Prohibited Persons System to take guns out of the hands of felons.”

Governor Gavin Newsom assumed office in 2019 after taking over for Governor Jerry Brown. Before his position as governor, Newsom served as Lt. Governor for eight years and Mayor of San Francisco for seven years before that.

Newsom on climate change:
“The best science tells us that we need to act now to adapt to California’s water future. Climate change means drought won’t just stick around for two years at a time like it historically has – extreme weather is the new normal here in the American West and California will adapt to this new reality.”

Newsom on crime after announcing his public safety plan:
“We’re not walking back on our commitment in this state to advance comprehensive reforms, but we also have to recognize this moment we’re in. We have to recognize people’s fears and anxieties.” … “Through robust new investments and ongoing coordination with local agencies, this plan will bolster our prevention, deterrence and enforcement efforts to aggressively curb crime, hold bad actors to account and protect Californians from the devastating gun violence epidemic.”

Newsom on homelessness:
“It’s unconscionable what’s happening on the streets and sidewalks, that’s why we’re requiring accountability plans. We’re not going to hand out any money any longer if local governments can’t produce real results. When I got here there was no homeless strategy. No plan. No resources of any merit. Today there’s $15.3 billion dollars, there’s real strategy and there’s accountability for the first time.”

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