By Tomoya Shimura, Orange County Register
Irvine Mayor Steven Choi is headed to the November general election in the race to replace termed-out Assemblyman Don Wagner, making him the favorite against a Democratic opponent in the conservative 68th Assembly District.
Choi edged former Anaheim City Councilman Harry Sidhu by 154 votes, or 0.1 percentage points, to finish second in the June 7 primary. It took the Orange County Registrar of Voters office nearly three weeks to count and certify the results because of an unprecedented number of last-minute mail-in ballots.
Lone Democrat Sean Jay Panahi finished first, receiving 33 percent of the votes. Voters could cast votes for any candidate regardless of party affiliation in the primary. The race featured seven candidates, including five Republicans and one with no party preference.
The top two vote-getters – Panahi and Choi – will face off in the Nov. 8 general election.
Choi said he is “99 percent” confident he will win the general election based on the district’s voting history.