Thursday, April 19, 2018

Three Yorba Linda residents seek Assembly seat

Three Yorba Linda residents – a Democrat and two Republicans – are among the five contenders on the June 5 primary ballot seeking to advance to the November general election to represent Yorba Linda, Placentia, La Habra and Brea in the state Assembly.

Businessmen James Gerbus and Scott Lebda, both Republicans, and Democrat Melissa Fazli, a documentarian and activist, are among the challengers to incumbent Republican Phillip Chen of Diamond Bar for a two-year term serving the 55th Assembly District.

Also running is Democrat Gregg Fritchle of Walnut, a social worker who lost three previous elections for the same seat. The district also includes Chino Hills in San Bernardino County and Diamond Bar, Rowland Heights, Walnut and parts of Industry and West Covina in Los Angeles County.

Gerbus won a four-year term on the Orange County Republican Central Committee as one of six representatives from Orange County's portion of the 55th Assembly District in 2016. Lebda is president of L & L Foods in Anaheim and an MBA grad from USC.

Fazli, a former real estate agent with Tarbell and Berkshire Hathaway and Cal State Fullerton communications grad, makes documentary films. Fritchle, a children's social worker in Los Angeles County, has psychology degrees from USC (BA) and Cal State Los Angeles (MA).

Chen, a Servite High and Cal State Fullerton communications grad, was a trustee at the Walnut Valley Unified School District before his 2016 election to the Assembly. In 2014, he lost a heated primary battle for the seat to Ling Ling Chang, who beat Fritchle in November.

The district has 245,000 registered voters, 37 percent Republican, 33 percent Democratic and 26 percent no party preference. The Orange County total is 115,000 registered voters, 44 percent Republican, 30 percent Democratic and 22 percent no party preference.

The special recall election targeting Josh Newman in the 29th State Senate District has drawn six candidates to fill the remaining two years of Newman's term if he's voted out. They include Ling Ling Chang, who lost to Newman by 2,498 votes out of 317,962 cast in 2016.

Other Republicans on the ballot are Marine Corps veteran George Shen of Industry and Fullerton City Councilman Bruce Whitaker. Democrats in the race are Josh Ferguson of Fullerton, Joseph Cho of Buena Park and Kevin Carr of Stanton.

The district includes Yorba Linda, Placentia, La Palma, La Habra, Fullerton, Brea, Cypress, Stanton and portions of Buena Park and Anaheim, as well as Chino Hills in San Bernardino County and Diamond Bar, Walnut and portions of West Covina and Industry in Los Angeles County.

Registered voters total 451,000, 36 percent Democratic, 34 percent Republican and 25 percent no party preference. The Orange County total is 309,000 registered voters, 37 percent Democratic, 36 percent Republican and 24 percent no party preference.

Hillary Clinton won in both districts in 2016.