Like most people paying attention to the District 7 council race, Fly was surprised that the runoff between councilmember Madison Nguyen and Republican furniture-store owner Minh Duong ended up being a squeaker. After the revelations about the Chamber-endorsed Duong’s pile of bad debts and financial screwups, Fly was expecting that District 7 residents would re-elect the increasingly independent Nguyen by a landslide. Not so.
During the campaign, Nguyen’s camp complained about the rampant vandalism of her campaign signs by Duong supporters. Way before a certain sweatpants-wearing councilman was “busted” (set up?) pulling up illegal lawn signs, Fly got a tip that prominent Vietnamese American activist and lawyer Michael Luu was spotted doing the same on McLaughlin Avenue. “I saw a young guy who was trying to untie the campaign sign of Madison Nguyen from a wire fence at the corner of that intersection,” wrote the tipper.
When poll results rolled in on the evening of Nov. 2, the business backed-Duong and SBLC-supported Nguyen were neck and neck. At one point it appeared possible that Nguyen would be beat by a “business candidate” who was widely known to have a personal history of financial defaults, debts, foreclosures and tax violations (oh yeah, and being thrown off the Small Business Development Commission). Nguyen eventually pulled ahead, retaining her seat with 54.25 percent of the vote—but not before admitting to Fly that even she “didn’t think it was going to be this close.”