Southeast Orange County is home to a growing Hispanic population vying for political power. It’s also facing some of the region’s most intense development pressures.
In the Aug. 26 nonpartisan primary for this County Commission District 4 region, residents will have a choice between incumbent Commissioner Jennifer Thompson, or one of two newcomers in Euri Cerrud and Maribel Cordero. If no candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two finishers will go to a Nov. 4 runoff.
Thompson, a Republican, has made missteps in her first term, including paying a $500 civil fine. But she but still enjoys strong donor support from business and tourism interests. She also has backing within a key rural growth watchdog group.
For his first race, Cerrud has corralled traditional Democratic supporters. But he and Cordero, a fellow Puerto Rican Democrat and first-time challenger, could end up splitting any anti-incumbent or pro-Hispanic sentiment. That makes Thompson “the easy favorite at this point,” said GOP analyst and blogger Frank Torres.
To seal a win, Torres said, Thompson must make up for two notable “slip-ups.” One was a “textgate” controversy, in which Thompson said she lost texts from her phone and paid a civil fine for an open-government violation. An untold number of texts were with lobbyists who, like Thompson, opposed putting a paid sick-time referendum on the 2012 ballot. Thompson agreed with tourism interests who said it was confusing and could kill jobs.