Former State Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff announced in January that he will run for the Republican nomination to succeed Republican Representative Ed Royce in California’s 39th Congressional District election later this year. The district, which includes Fullerton, La Habra, Buena Park, Hacienda Heights and Rowland Heights, is one of the most hotly contested in the 2018 midterm elections.
At a press conference Jan. 27, local leaders gave the long-time politician their endorsement.
“Bob is not seeking a job,” Walnut City Councilman Eric Ching said. “Bob is seeking to represent you and I.”
Huff will face off against fellow Republicans Young Kim, a former state Assemblywoman, Orange County Supervisor Shawn Nelson, and La Mirada City Councilman Andrew Sarega. Kim, who worked for Royce as a district staffer before striking out on her own in 2014, carries Royce’s endorsement.
In addition, whoever emerges victorious in the primaries will have to face against one of nine Democratic contenders. According to Huff’s wife and business partner, Mei-Mei Huff, the Democrats have specifically targeted the 39th Congressional District for flipping.
But Huff said that his proven track record will sway voters in the packed race.
“The people here know me through my twelve years of representing them in Sacramento as a common-sense legislator who works hard to get things done,” Huff said in a statement announcing his candidacy. “I’ve fought to cut job-choking regulations, keep our tax burdens low and ease traffic congestion on our streets and freeways.”
But for many supporters, this race is about more than bad traffic.
“I am desperate,” former Monterey Park Mayor Betty Tom Chu said. “We have no voice that can speak on Asian issues!”
According to Chu, it’s Huff’s long-time support for the Asian community that makes him the clear pick. During his time in Sacramento, Huff worked to defeat an affirmative action bill that opponents said would decimate University of California acceptance rates among Asian students, and introduced a bill that officially issued an apology for the Chinese Exclusion Act. That bill later passed unanimously by the California State Senate.
“Bob Huff has fought for justice and equality,” Chu said.