In politics, the unforced error can keep campaigns up at night. Such may be the case for the Sacramento-area Stephanie Nguyen for State Assembly campaign after an AD-10 rival discovered she has inaccurately been calling herself a lifelong Democrat on her Web site, in news releases and in a campaign mailer.
The campaign of Democratic Sacramento City Council Eric Guerra shared with SactoPolitico.com that for nearly 2½ years in her early 20s, Nguyen was a registered Republican. This was confirmed with the Sacramento County Elections division. Nguyen is currently a member of the Elk Grove City Council.
“[Nguyen] has repeatedly referred to herself as a lifelong Democrat, and she’s clearly not telling voters the truth,” said Guerra spokesperson Michael Terris. “It is a very Democratic seat, and voters need to trust the people they elect.”
When contacted early last week, the Nguyen campaign was slow to respond at first. By Thursday, all references to “lifelong” were removed from the Nguyen web site. A campaign spokesperson then called acknowledging Nguyen had been a registered Republican as a young adult, but also argued so many bigger issues exist in the campaign than this.
The spokesperson pointed to the large amounts of late independent expenditures being spent against Nguyen in support of Guerra. According to the state database, this totaled $177,888 from a group called Housing Providers for Responsible Solutions. Most of is listed as for TV ad buys. Guerra has also benefited from $88,423 in other supportive independent expenditures sponsored by the California Charter Schools Association Advocates, but these do not target Nguyen.
Records show Nguyen has benefitted from $35,218 in supportive independent expenditures from groups such as the Sacramento County Deputy Sheriffs Association PAC and the Asian Pacific Islander Leadership PAC.
AD-10 comprises southern parts of the City of Sacramento and all of the southern suburbs of Elk Grove and Florin. Given four Democrats are in the AD-10 primary and only one Republican (Eric Reigard), most likely just one Democrat will move onto the Nov. 6 runoff. Thus every vote could be critical for Nguyen, Guerra and the two other Democrats in the race Tecoy Porter and Ben Thompkins (no campaign website found).
County election records confirmed that Nguyen first registered to vote with no party affiliation in February 2003. In September of that year before the Gov. Gray Davis recall election, she re-registered as a Republican but did not vote. Then in February 2006, she re-registered as a Democrat and has stayed a Democrat since then.
When asked if Guerra was a registered lifelong Democrat, Terris shared when Guerra first became a citizen he registered with no party preference. Soon after, he re-registered as a Democrat. However, Terris pointed out, “He hasn’t been inaccurately claiming in campaign materials to be a ‘lifelong Democrat,’ and who forgets they changed parties?”
ENDORSEMENTS OF NON-DEMOCRATS
Terris said that Nguyen’s purist Democratic credentials are also undermined by her 2018 endorsement of the Republican Sheriff Scott Jones for re-election. “For voters, this raises an issue about what her core values are. Are they Democratic values? Are they Republican values?”
The Nguyen camp responded by noting Guerra had endorsed conservative District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert in 2018 when she officially ran as an independent.
This election cycle, Nguyen has endorsed Thien Ho for Sacramento County District Attorney and Democrat Jim Cooper for county sheriff. Guerra does not appear to have endorsed in either race.