The conventional wisdom within the community is that County Supervisor Chairwoman Janet Nguyen is the most important politician as far as congressional candidates Van Tran and Quang Pham are concerned for the upcoming Republican primary. Whoever she supports will win the majority of Vietnamese-American votes. Right now she has not decided on the matter.
With Anaheim Union High School Board Trustee Katherine Smith running, there is a strong possibility that neither Quang Pham nor Van Tran have a chance of winning in a three-person race. Van Tran probably has done some internal polling and is this the reason why Van Tran has not filed his election paper?
Quang Pham has nothing to lose in reality. As an ex-marine, a succesful businessman and with a non-political background, the odds are he has more appeal to the independent voters and Vietnamese-American voters in this year of the anti-incumbent, especially with Van Tran involving in controversy after controversy.
Van Tran is a well known controversial candidate within his Vietnamese-American community. His nickname, "The Godfather", brings a connotation of a powerful politician playing above the law. His imagine of "The Godfather" is reinforced with recent articles by OC Register and OC Weekly of him abusing and manipulating the system against the taxpayer's interest. The articles point to the fact that he is becoming more and more controversial to the mainstream voters.
Van Tran clearly has the name recognition vs. Quang Pham or Katherine Smith. However his negative is high and it shows in his inability to raise fund within his own community. His acceptance of over $40,000 from Vietnamese businessmen who have close tie with the communist government in Vietnam has not helped his image of a strong anti-communist conservative candidate in his community.
A lot more is at stake for Van Tran than Katherine Smith and Quang Pham. By being weak and controversial, he opens door for 2 challengers. If he lost the primary, his political career is very much over.