Voters will go to the polls Tuesday to selection a new Orange County supervisor in the Third District, a seat that was vacated after Todd Spitzer was elected district attorney.
As of Monday, turnout via vote-by-mail ballots was about 18 percent, according to Orange County Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley, who projected total turnout to fall between 24 to 27 percent.
Turnout in past special elections has fallen within that range, Kelley said.
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Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the district, which includes Anaheim Hills, most of Irvine, Orange, Tustin, Villa Park, Yorba Linda and a portion of Mission Viejo as well as unincorporated areas such as the canyons in the Cleveland National Forest.
Seven candidates will be on the ballot, but most observers expect it to be a showdown between Irvine Mayor Don Wagner and former Rep. Loretta Sanchez.
Other candidates on the ballot are attorney Kim-Thy "Katie" Hoang Bayliss, retiree and Vietnam veteran Larry Bales, former Anaheim City Councilwoman Kris Murray, small business owner Katherine Daigle, and former Villa Park City Councilwoman Deborah Pauly.
The election is a nonpartisan one, but behind the scenes Orange County Democrats persuaded several other potential candidates to back off in favor of Sanchez, the only Democrat on the ballot.
The rest of the candidates are Republicans. Orange County Republican Chairman Fred Whitaker said the organization endorsed Wagner.
"It's Don and Loretta," Whitaker said of the expected competition. "But we're pretty confident we can edge it out."
About 30 percent of the district's voters usually live in Irvine, Whitaker said.
Sanchez said about 100,000 of the district's voters are Republican, 100,000 are Democrats and 100,000 are declined to state.
Sanchez said the county's Republicans "have been shooting at each other" because "there's a big war going on in their circle."
Whitaker said he was not concerned about Republicans splitting up the vote because other than Wagner the other GOP candidates are "getting zero traction."
The election results are expected to be certified by April 11.