Election officials in Orange County today will begin recounting ballots in the 34th state Senate district, where Democrat Tom Umberg unseated incumbent Republican Janet Nguyen.
The final tally from the initial count has Umberg more than 3,000 votes ahead of Nguyen. It’s unlikely a recount will change the outcome of the race.
A voter is requesting the recount on Nguyen’s behalf in some parts of Orange County. Under California law, those who request recounts must pay for them.
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Nguyen, who lost the election by more than a percentage point, was defeated by a large margin in the Los Angeles County part of the district. She fared better in Orange County, where she won by two votes.
Nguyen, the first Vietnamese-American woman elected to the Legislature, was removed from the Senate floor in 2017 for refusing to stop giving a speech criticizing a late senator who opposed the Vietnam War. The incident prompted swift backlash for Democratic Senate leaders, who ultimately allowed Nguyen to give her speech the next week.
The seat is one of eight in the Legislature that Democrats flipped this year, giving them historic majorities. Democrats now control about three-fourths of the Legislature.
NEW JOB FOR FORMER UNION LEADER
A political consulting firm that works with Kamala Harris, Gavin Newsom and other high profile California Democrats has announced former union leader Laphonza Butler is joining as a partner.
Butler previously served as president of Service Employees International Union Local 2015, one of the most powerful labor unions in the state.
The firm, previously called SCN Strategies, is rebranding with Butler’s arrival. Under partners Ace Smith, Sean Clegg, Juan Rodriguez and Butler, they’re changing their name to SCRB Strategies.
TWEET OF THE DAY
Assemblyman Ash Kalra of San Jose is in India for a two-week visit with some of his fellow lawmakers.
The trip, which began last week, marks the Assembly’s first time sending a trade delegation to the country to discuss the relationship between India and California.
Campaign funds will cover expenses for lawmakers and staff, while state funds will cover costs for Assembly sergeants traveling with the group for security, said Kevin Liao, a spokesman Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon. Total costs aren’t yet finalized, Liao said.
Lawmaker travel is typically funded with campaign money or by nonprofit groups or foreign governments. The Bee’s Alexei Koseff reported earlier this year that the California Legislature has spent more than $192,000 in public money for international travel to cover costs for staff members and sergeants since 2013.
The Senate spent more than $150,000 covering staff travel during that period. The Assembly has spent nearly $40,000 to send sergeants-at-arms to provide security on trips abroad in the past three years.
The delegation comprises Assembly Democrats Kalra, Cecilia Aguiar-Curry of Winters, Richard Bloom of Santa Monica, Sharon Quirk-Silva of Fullerton, Eloise Gomez Reyes of Grand Terrace and Mark Stone of Scotts Valley.