Lately, every political maven is talking about State Assemblyman Van Tran and his next move. Tran is termed out in 2 010 and considered by many to be the 500 lb guerrilla of Vietnamese-American politics in Orange County. He has a choice of running for state senate in 2012 (since there are no current open seats in 2010) or going after Loretta Sanchez in 2010. Two years ago when his political star was not tarnished, it was a strong possiblity. With a viscious campaign trying to destroy Supervisor Janet Nguyen and "to teach her a lesson" as Andy Quach put it, not once but twice in one year, he managed to lose quite a bit of goodwill from his own base.
Tran is a very calculated politician and he worries about his legacy in his own community. He will not take risk by committing to a race that he does not feel he could win. He rather waits until 2012. Last year, he already tested out the water by having his lieutenant, Lan Nguyen, sent out email to his closest supporters asking to fund raising for his potential US congressional race. The response was not very enthusiastic.
But the more interesting race within the Vietnamese-American community is who is going to replace Van Tran. He himself made comments recently that he does not see anyone capable in the community yet. This is a Republican seat in an off year election where the turn-out will be low.
For 2004 election, Tran spent 2 years before raising over $900,000. More than 1/3 of it came from the Vietnamese-American communities across the US, mostly from the work of one man, Dang Ha, his loyal friend that sacrificed his own job, reputation and money for Tran. The sad story is that he discarded Dang promptly without even a personal thank you note after his victory. Dang, an activist of incredible energy and reputation both in Vietnam and US, spent years in the harshest concentration camp. Now he is laboring to make ends meet.
It is now early 2009 and not even a single Vietnamese-American candidate privately or publicly make their intention known.
If any of the "Trannie" decided to run, they will of course benefit from his network and support. However, receiving Tran's blessing is like receiving a two edged sword. Dina Nguyen and Trung Nguyen should be a lesson for other Trannie to learn from.
The conventional wisdom in Little Saigon is that it is a waiting game. The Trannies are waiting to see if their bitter rival will run. The whisper in the community is Andrew Do will run. Who will he run against is not known yet? Could it be Andy Quach who is thinking of making a political come back? Or is it the young but fierce looking Tri Ta who recently as a Westminster mayor pro term demanded VAALA to apologize to the community for having the nerve to express freedom of speech by showing the bust of the Great Uncle Ho chi Minh.
Stay tune for another bitter battle. The OC pundits are saying if Tran is throwing another Trannie to test the community, he better choses his choice carefully for "three strike and you're out rule" might apply to him and his gang. So far, only strike two.