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Board will await O.C. election ruling

March 07, 2007|Mike Anton | Times Staff Writer

Orange County supervisors said Tuesday that whoever a judge decides won last month's election for an open board seat will be sworn in at their March 27 meeting.

Originally intending to fill the vacant position Tuesday, supervisors acceded to Monday's request by Orange County Superior Court Judge Michael Brenner that they wait until after a March 21 trial over a contested recount in the race, between Republicans Janet Nguyen and Trung Nguyen.

After hearing public comment for and against making a decision immediately, supervisors voted unanimously to wait three weeks. The trial may last three days.

Trung Nguyen initially won the Feb. 6 election for the 1st District seat but lost in a recount to Janet Nguyen by seven votes. Trung Nguyen has asked the court to invalidate the recount, saying some ballots were improperly disallowed, among other issues.

"Going into the weekend, I was committed to seat [Janet] Nguyen today," said Supervisor Bill Campbell. But Brenner needs to decide the case based solely on his interpretation of election law, he added. Seating a winner now, Campbell said, "could influence him looking at just the facts."

All four supervisors, noting that the position will have been vacant for nearly four months by March 27, said they would follow Brenner's ruling, irrespective of a likely appeal by the loser.

"I would not entertain any further delays," Supervisor Patricia Bates said. On March 27, "it will be either Ms. Nguyen or Mr. Nguyen."

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mike.anton@latimes.com

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