In Orange County, 13 Candidates Are Running With the Same Last Name

If you want a testament to the growing influence of Asian Americans in politics, look no further than Orange County. There are 24 candidates of Vietnamese descent on the ballot in the O.C. this November and a whopping 13 — yes 13! — have the same last name: Nguyen.

“It shows the power of the Vietnamese ballot box, spreading their influence in central O.C. politics,” Public Policy Professor Karthick Ramakrishnan told the Los Angeles Times. “What you’re seeing now is the seed that was planted decades ago when the first Vietnamese ran and succeeded.”

Ngueyn is the most popular Vietnamese surname according to Atlas Obscura, with an estimated 30% to 40% lucky enough to share it. 

In races where there’s a Nguyen-Nguyen matchup, it can get confusing. For instance, Duy and Thu-Ha Nguyen are both running for Garden Grove Council District 3. But “most people vote along the party line, not for a name” anyway, Nguyen said. That’s Duy Nguyen, not Thu-Ha.

Among the 24 Vietnamese Americans running for office in Orange County with or without the Nguyen name is a candidate for state senator, Assembly, sheriff, and mayor of Westiminster.

Read more about Orange County’s office seekers here.