Irvine Councilwoman Melissa Fox, a Democrat, has announced she will challenge Republican incumbent Assemblyman Steve Choi for the 68th Assembly District in 2020. AD68 includes Anaheim Hills, Irvine, Orange and Lake Forest.
In a prepared statement issued on January 2, Fox stated:
“With Washington in continuous disarray, it’s more important than ever that we ensure California is a beacon of hope, progress and opportunity for the people of our state. I’m running for State Assembly to bring pragmatic, common sense leadership in Sacramento. That means building safer neighborhoods, growing a strong middle-class economy, protecting clean air and water, along with investing in education, renewable energy, healthcare, smart development, transportation and job-training, while holding government accountable, fighting waste and safeguarding taxpayers. We can do all of this and simultaneously create a more compassionate and inclusive state for the people of California.”
Notwithstanding the blue wave that hit Orange County in the 2018 general election, defeating Choi will be a tall order. The partisan breakdown in AD68 is 36.4% Republican, 30.6% Democrat, and 28.6% No Party Preference.
Choi, who previously served as both mayor of Irvine and a city councilmember, was re-elected in 2016 with 60.3% of the vote, even as Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump in the district by 5 points. Republican gubernatorial nominee John Cox carried AD68 with 51.4% in November 2018. Furthermore, Choi will not take re-election for granted.
Fox is an attorney and was first elected to the Irvine City Council in 2016. If she emerges from the March 2020 primary as one of the top two vote-getters – as seems likely – she’ll forgo running for re-election to the Irvine City Council.
In addition to being a member of the Irvine City Council, Fox serves on the Community Energy Partnership, Library Advisory Board of Orange County Library System, Newport Bay Watershed Executive Committee, the San Joaquin Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary, is chair of both the Green Ribbon Environmental Committee and the Irvine Community Land Trust for Affordable Housing.