SAN FRANCISCO – Two Filipino Americans in two counties are poised to make political history again as a result of the June 7 primaries.
Daly City Council Member Mike Guingona, the first Filipino American elected in Daly City, is gunning for a political seat never occupied by a Filipino or Asian American, while Contra Costa Ambrose Recreation and Park District board member Mae Cendana-Torlakson aims to be the first Fil-Am woman elected to the California State Legislature.
Both will duel with their co-winners in the Nov. 8 runoff.
Guingona, five-time mayor of the city in the continental United States with the highest concentration of Filipino Americans, will face fellow Daly City Council Member and current Vice Mayor David Canepa to represent District 5 on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors.
Canepa bested a field of four with 5,991 or 45.74 percent of the vote in the primary. Guingona placed second with 2,840 or 21.68 percent. Torlakson placed first in her race by getting 25,380 or 32.5 percent; her opponent Timothy Grayson came a close second with 25,022 or 32.1 percent to represent Assembly District 14 covering Vallejo-Concord.
Meanwhile, incumbent Assembly Member Rob Bonta, who in 2012 broke the Assembly race barrier for Fil-Ams, sailed through with 60,092 votes or 87.9 percent over challenger Roseann Slonsky-Breault, who got 8,000 or 11.7 percent of votes for District 18 covering Oakland-San Leandro
The outcome in Daly City, northernmost town in San Mateo County, fulfills prognostication that the candidates from this city with over 100,000 would beat the candidates from the smaller towns. Cliff Lentz, current mayor of Brisbane, took 2,336 for 17.84 percent. Helen Fisicaro, current vice mayor of Colma, received 1,930 votes of 14.74 percent.
Placing second did not dampen Guingona's famous confidence.
"I am energized and excited to be in the runoff election despite being outspent by my opponents," he told Philippine News.
Topnotcher Canepa opted for magnanimity.
“We are humbled to make the top two and we will work hard to earn their (voter) support in November,” Canepa told Philippine News day after the primaries.
Guingona, seniormost of all four primary candidates with nearly a quarter of a century in governance, is optimistic the finals will favor him.
"The November general election will be very different as voter turnout was somewhat low even in this historic primary election,” he gave his analysis. “The general election will include many more voters who will select only one of two candidates for Supervisor this time and not among four. I am already working to secure new endorsements and supporters and continuing to reach out to voters directly.”
The next round is a completely new contest, he told Philippine News, asking the electorate to fulfill his forecast.
“Like Hillary Clinton, my election will be an historic first for our community as I would be the first Asian – Pacific Islander San Mateo County Supervisor in our county’s 160 years of existence. I invite every voter in the district to help me make history."
Both candidates boast Filipino-American leaders in their camps. —Philippine News