The outcome of Tuesday’s election is guaranteed to change the makeup of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, and though the office is nonpartisan, it could potential tip the political party balance on the dais with the pivotal District 5 seat.
In District 2, Santa Ana Mayor Vicente Sarmiento and Garden Grove Councilwoman Kim Bernice Nguyen are battling to represent the county’s first Latino-majority voting district, which is anchored by Santa Ana and was created last year by the once-a-decade redistricting process.
District 4 Supervisor Doug Chaffee, who currently chairs the board, is hoping to fend off a challenge from Buena Park Mayor Sunny Park and win a second four-year term.
In the new District 5, which stretches from Costa Mesa and Newport Beach along the coast to the San Diego County line, Supervisor Katrina Foley (who was drawn out of the old District 2) is facing off with state Senator Pat Bates.
While supervisor seats are technically nonpartisan, the board has traditionally been a bastion of GOP power. The district 2 and 4 contests are runoffs between Democrats, and the two incumbent supervisors not on the ballot are Republicans, so all eyes will be on District 5 to see if Democrat Foley or Republican Bates emerges victorious.
Issues facing the next Board of Supervisors include continuing to try to reduce homelessness, administering state and federal funding for food assistance and other social service programs, and getting a state-run veterans cemetery and a new public cemetery built in Anaheim Hills.
Orange County’s five-member Board of Supervisors oversees a budget of more than $7 billion that funds the offices of the Sheriff, District Attorney and Public Defender, social services, 60,000 acres of public parks, beaches and open space, and the public health department that’s been leading the local COVID-19 response.