Updated throughout the night, with the freshest post on top
Late: Oy. Squeezed my way through the madness (good-looking madness) that was the OC Republican election night party in search of some Irvine players to chat with. No luck. Instead, I got to wander through a sea of boos when President Obama's face appeared on the screen and watch Carly Fiorina ask supporters to keep the faith. Well, Irvine, your mayor is Sukhee Kang and your City Council seats are filled by Larry Agran, Jeff Lalloway, Beth Krom and Steven Choi. Good night!
9:52: City councilman Larry Agran announces that "there is no way that Sukhee Kang will not be our re-elected mayor." Applause and wooos. As for City Council, with just three of 129 precincts reported, Jeff Lalloway is at 24%, Larry Agran is at 23.4%, Lynn Schott is at 20.7% and Shiva Farivar is at 17.4%. Agran's grandkid took the mic and said: "The reason we're behind is because most of the registered voters are Republican. I think we will catch up!" Laughs and cheers. Agran added, "Don't you think we should lower the voting age to 8?" It was cute. Now heading to the Irvine Hyatt to check out the Republican soiree.
9:30: Remaining "very confident," Sukhee tells me that this election is a reflection of the city's "confidence in the leadership and direction of the city." He adds: "During this downturned economy, we have focused on bringing the business community together. ... We are seeing signs of [economic] recovery. We've maintained our 'Safest City' distinction for six years in a row. We've maintained our quality of education. We're making sure that all of the services the city provides stay at 100-percent."
9:02: It's a packed house and I think everyone is developing claustrophobia. Sukhee is "very confident" (he told me twice) and now he's holding someone's baby. Hold on while I sneak out for some air.
8:15: Lots of Asians in the hizzouse. Sukhee's crew is feeling confident. One campaign staffer said in broken English that it's a "99-percent win." That's not quite accurate (right now, Sukhee is at 62.8% and his opponent, Chris Gonzales, is at 37.2%, with only the absentee ballots reported) but no one here is breaking a sweat.
7:40 p.m.: Hanging with the Irvinians tonight, first with the Dems at Crystal Jade, an upscale Chinese restaurant in a strip mall (so Irvine). Incumbent Mayor Sukhee Kang just waltzed in--he's chatting it up with the Korean press. Had a quick convo with City Council candidate Shiva Farivar, dressed in all black and here with her whole fam. "Believe it or not, I've had a lot of fun," she said of the race. If Farivar wins, she'll be the first Persian American in an Irvine City Council seat. "That would mean a lot to me. It would open the door for future generations."
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The current gang. Who's in and who's out?