AD68 Watch: Irvine Mayor Steven Choi Joins The Race To Succeed Assemblyman Don Wagner


Irvine Mayor Steven Choi has joined the growing field of Republican candidates vying to succeed termed out Assemblyman Don Wagner in the 68th Assembly District race.

Former Anaheim Councilman Harry Sidhu was the first to jump in the race, doing so in February of this year. Former Villa Park Councilwoman Deborah Pauly tossed her hat into the ring earlier this month. Lake Forest Mayor Scott Voigts (a long-time conservative activist who is Wagner’s senior assistant) has also been weighing a run. The winner will be eligible for up to 12 years in the state legislature.

From Choi’s announcement press release:

“It has been the realization of the American Dream for me to build a successful business, help our next generation seek better educational opportunities, and give back to our community by serving as mayor,” Choi said. “I look forward to bringing a fresh perspective of common-sense problem-solving to the Legislature so that California can get back on track,” he added.

Mayor Choi kicks off his campaign with the support of his colleagues on the Irvine City Council, as well as California State Board of Equalization Member Diane Harkey, who says, “I’m thrilled that Mayor Choi is running for Assembly to succeed Assemblyman Don Wagner when his term expires in 2016. Steven will bring a fresh, local perspective to the Assembly that will serve the best interests of Orange County taxpayers. Steven is the best candidate for the job.”

Irvine Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Lalloway, an enthusiastic supporter of Mayor Choi, comments that: “I’ve served with Steven for five years side by side on Irvine City Council. He’s the man of integrity that Sacramento needs.”

Steven brings a wide breadth of experience having served on the Board of Directors of the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) and the Orange County Sanitation District. He also serves on several other important boards such as the Orange County Public Library Advisory Board, and the President’s Advisory Council at Concordia University.

Steven Choi has served as Irvine’s directly-elected mayor since 2012, following two terms on the City Council. Mayor Choi previously served as a member of the Board of Education for the nationally-recognized Irvine Unified School District. He and his wife Janie have lived in Irvine since 1993, where they raised their children Daniel, now an anesthesiologist and Michelle, an attorney.

This is Choi’s second Assembly attempt; he ran in 2010 for what was then the 70th Assembly District. Although it was considered his race to lose, he was narrowly upset by Don Wagner, 32.8% to 30.1%.

AD68 includes Orange, Tustin, Villa Park, Anaheim east of the 57 Freeway, most of Irvine and a large chunk of Lake Forest. The partisan breakdown is 43.2% Republican, 28.4% Democrat and 23.9% No Party Preference.


  1. There is no question that the only authentic and principled conservative in this race is former Villa Park City Councilwoman Deborah Pauly. The Tea Party in O.C. will be solidly behind her candidacy and she will have no shortage of dedicated and committed volunteers to see her through the finish line in 2016! Deb Pauly is one of the very few constitutional conservatives on the O.C. GOP Central Committee and she will serve the good people of the 68th with honor and integrity if elected! I’m excited, as I know most conservatives are in O.C., to have such an excellent candidate to get behind next year! I encourage folks to get on board with her campaign and donate if you can. She will be going up against all the big money, big donors, the establishment, and the high profile endorsements! She truly is the only one in this race that we can trust!

    • Kelly, you realize you just said that most of the 63 members of the OC GOP Central Committee are not constitutional conservatives? Unless you have specific knowledge of the particulars of each member’s political philosophy, don’t you think that’s a pretty broad and careless brush you’re painting them with?

  2. Dan Chmielewski

    “Authentic and principled?” Sure…if that’s what Pauly represents, then Republicans are bigoted against anyone who isn’t Christian, white, straight, or rich.

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