Big 3 Elk Grove 2022 elections: Part III - Guerra v. Nguyen for District 10 California State Assembly

UPDATED 3:15 p.m. July 19 |  

District 10 California State Assembly. 

In Part III of this series, we provide an overview of the elections and some voting patterns we see and make a prediction based on current conditions.

A memorable quote from the epic movie Lawrence of Arabia should be considered when reviewing these three contests. That quote was Nothing is Written. 

With less than four months until the general election, anything can happen.


However, as it now stands in the contest between Democrats Elk Grove City Councilmember Ms. Stephanie Nguyen and Sacramento City Councilmember Eric Guerra is, as Dan Rather famously said, "This race is tight like a too-small bathing suit on a too-long ride home from the beach."

Nonetheless, we have a guess who the race currently favors, even if so slightly as of July 19.  

Here's the reasoning.

Primary voting results 

Of the Big 3 contests for Elk Grove voters, the primary race for the District 10 California Assembly seat produced the closest results. Nguyen came in first by 459 votes to second place finisher Guerra for a statistical tie.

One interesting trend as votes were tabulated was how Nguyen's lead steadily narrowed. The first couple of vote tallies had Nguyen around 34 percent to Guerra's 27.

With each subsequent update, Nguyen and Guerra's positions converged. The other two candidates, third-place finisher the late Republican Eric Rigard and Democrat Rev. Tecoy Porter, maintained their supporters' base at 27 and eight percent, respectively.

After the final results were issued, Porter threw his support to fellow Sacamentan Guerra. However, the bigger question for this entire race is where do Rigard's supporters migrate? 

Not surprisingly, Guerra did well throughout Sacramento on a precinct basis, while Nguyen was strong in Elk Grove. Rigard also carried about a third of the precincts, all in the rural areas and Elk Grove. 

In one non-rural Elk Grove precinct, Rigard received 43 percent to Nguyen and Guerra's 30 and 17, respectively. Rigard also carried on rural Elk Grove precinct by a commanding 58 percent

Guerra did win one Elk Grove precinct but only by one-quarter of one percent. Nguyen's best-performed Elk Grove precinct was at 44 percent. 

The Rigard Republican factor

Setting aside money - both candidates have plenty, and negative advertising - we expect Nguyen will hit Guerra on Sacramento's homeless problems, and Nguyen will be subjected to more independent expenditure committee mailers and maybe cable TV commercials - the most significant factor determining the winner will be who, if anyone, do Republicans support and what affect that has on Democratic voters.

For Nguyen, the Republican voters provide the most opportunity and risk. Considered a pro-law enforcement moderate, Nguyen has already appealed to this base of voters and should be able to pick up a significant number of Rigard supporters if they decide to vote for a Democratic candidate.

Herein lies Nguyen's dilemma. If she makes a too overt appeal to GOP voters, as they did in the primary, the independent expenditure committees will smack hard on that. 

In this time of heightened partisanship, if Democratic voters view Nguyen as cozy with Republicans, will they abandon her for Guerra? And if they do, will it be enough for Guerra to overcome his weakness with more moderate Elk Grove voters? 

Our guess is even if she does not appeal to Rigard supporters, Nguyen will be portrayed as a Republican as already demonstrated during the primary election. If Nguyen addresses this and subtly disavows Republican ties, will these voters abandon her? 


Undoubtedly, Guerra and Nguyen's strategists are reviewing voter analytics and developing their campaigns. Nonetheless, subjective factors could influence this race in unquantifiable ways.

For instance, three of the four Sacramento City Council races will be on the November ballot. District 5 is one of those seats and is within Assembly District 10.  

The candidate for that city council seat is Democrat Caity Maple, who is considered more of a progressive and moderate. Although he has not endorsed Maple, could Guerra benefit from a strong Democratic turnout in that area of the Assembly District?

Like Sacramento, Elk Grove has three local races which help affect the Assembly race. First, there is the reelection campaign of Elk Grove Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen, who has endorsed Nguyen.

Unlike 2020's vitriolic and controversial mayoral campaign, Singh-Allen should easily win reelection. As a result, this contest will not factor significantly for Nguyen.

Elk Grove City Council Districts 2 and 4 will be on this year's ballot, and both are open seats. Nguyen currently represents District 4 and supports fellow Democratic candidate Elk Grove Planning Commissioner Sergio Robles, which could provide both candidates a shot in the arm.

The late Eric Rigard (red areas) won all of the precincts in Elk Grove's current City Council 2 District boundaries. 

District 2 is a bit more complicated, based on the two declared candidates. These candidates, both Democrats, are businessman Felipe Martin and Democratic Cosumnes Community Services District Director Rod Brewer.

Although Nguyen and Brewer are both elected Democrats in Elk Grove and not political allies per se, will they endorse each other? It would be a good move for Nguyen, especially with Assembly District Democratic voters.

However, Rigard won all the precincts in Elk Grove's District 2. If Nguyen supported either, she could risk losing District 2, which will be crucial in her pathway. 

What about abortion? Guerra has the endorsement of Planned Parenthood, and he will undoubtedly promote this in the hopes of attracting support, which is significant in the current political climate. 

Nguyen has voiced support for abortion rights, but if she continues highlighting this, does she alienate Rigard's pro-life voters? Conversely, does she risk her standing with Democratic voters if she does not address it?

Another development in tight races where each campaign is looking for an edge is the pursuit of an October Suprise, or in the case of California's vote-by-mail elections, a Late September Surprise. We have already seen how anti-Nguyen forces revealed that she was at one time a registered Republican.

Guerra and Nguyen's political operatives are scrubbing every city council vote, quote, court record, and any other source to dig up dirt. If there is dirt, they have the money to find it and reveal it just as ballots start arriving in mailboxes.  

Our best guess on July 19 

As noted, this is a tight race. Right now, we would give a razor-thin edge to Nguyen based on her strength, name recognition, and likely ability to capture many Rigard voters in Elk Grove and her respectable showing on Guerra's home turf.

However, given this race's tightness and fluidity, this Assembly seat is up for grabs. We suspect some Late September surprise or X factor will be the deciding factor, and even then, the victor will be by less than two percent.  

And remember, Nothing is Written. 

UPDATED - The story was updated to reflect that Felipe Martin is a Democratic, not a Republican candidate, as reported. That change slightly modified the original copy and analysis. 

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