A Democratic consumer rights attorney has officially entered the race for California’s 45th Congressional District, a seat currently held by Republican Rep. Michelle Steel.
Entering a crowded field: Derek Tran, a 42-year-old U.S. Army veteran, declared his candidacy on Monday, entering a crowded Democratic primary field that will go on to challenge incumbent Steel.
Tran is joining other Democratic contenders such as Garden Grove City Council member Kim Bernice Nguyen, trial attorney Aditya Pai and immigration attorney Jimmy Pham. As a board member of the Consumer Attorneys of California, his notable advantage over the other candidates is his connections within the trial attorney community, in which he is well-positioned to mobilize support.
About the district: Based in Orange and Los Angeles counties, the 45th district is notable for being among the 18 districts that voted for Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election while being held or won by a Republican.
Tran’s roots in the Vietnamese American community offer a distinct advantage over the GOP, as over one-third of the district’s population identifies as Asian American or Pacific Islander, with 17% of residents being of Vietnamese descent. Tran’s family’s story of resilience and sacrifice makes him a compelling candidate in this diverse district.
Business owner and attorney: Tran, who co-owns a pharmacy in Anaheim with his wife, Michelle, outlined his commitment to putting people above politics and protecting democratic principles in his campaign announcement.
“My parents were Vietnamese refugees who worked hard and sacrificed so that I could realize the American dream. I joined the Army to give back to the country that has given me so much, and every day as a consumer rights attorney, I fight for workers across the 45th District — holding bad actors accountable and ensuring that individuals, not special interests, get the justice they deserve.”
“People over politics”: Tran espouses a moderate approach, emphasizing collaboration across party lines to advance the district’s interests. He plans to be a part of the New Democrat Coalition, a bloc of House Democrats focused on business-friendly policies.
“I’m running for Congress to put people over politics, to protect our democracy and to ensure that everyone, no matter what neighborhood they come from, has an opportunity to get ahead and live the American dream without fear of losing their freedoms,” Tran told HuffPost in an interview.
“Unlike MAGA Michelle who’s not on our side. She’s turned her back on us, CA-45, and made Trump, her party, and corporate backers her priority. People deserve better.”