Three Republicans and one Democrat are battling to become Orange County’s District 5 Supervisor, and the winner could potentially tip the balance on which party controls the five-member board.

District 2 Supervisor Katrina Foley (a Democrat) is vying with state Sen. Pat Bates, former state assemblywoman Diane Harkey and Newport Beach Mayor Kevin Muldoon for the seat representing the coastal and southern District 5.

Voter registration there favors the GOP, but it’s likely that party’s three candidates will split the vote and force Foley into a November runoff with one of them.

We’ll be providing live updates on election results as they’re reported, starting shortly after polls close at 8 p.m. and continuing into the evening and possibly over the next few days.

The district’s boundaries were redrawn late last year as part of the once-a-decade redistricting process. As a result, Foley ended up representing the new District 2, but she lives in Costa Mesa now in the new District 5, which also includes Aliso Viejo, Dana Point, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Newport Beach, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, several unincorporated communities and the southern portion of Irvine.

While supervisor seats are nonpartisan, the county’s Republican and Democratic parties get involved in the contest with endorsements, funding and other support for their preferred candidates.

Whoever wins the seat will help decide how the county should address issues including homelessness, public health threats such as COVID-19, and how best to provide for independent oversight of law enforcement agencies including the Sheriff’s Department and District Attorney’s Office.

Orange County’s five-member Board of Supervisors oversees a budget of more than $7 billion that funds the offices of the Sheriff, District Attorney and Public Defender, social services, 60,000 acres of public parks, beaches and open space, and the public health department that’s been leading the local COVID-19 response.

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