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Orange County Mothers A Major Force In California’s Midterm Elections

Her husband, a Republican, has taken to jokingly asking if this is her new career.

"Our husbands are really afraid of us. They have definitely seen a side of us they haven't seen before," Kalvoda said. "Some of them are reconciling that, going 'Whoa, who are you?'"

On a Thursday afternoon not long before the election, Kalvoda drove from her home in Laguna Hills to Gil Cisneros' campaign headquarters in a Brea strip mall to meet with deputy political director Allen Chen about organizing phone banks and fundraisers. Her 8-year-old daughter, familiar with the routine, beelined for the kitchen where there are always snacks. She pulled out her homework from her pink sequin-lined backpack, grabbed a pencil and half-heartedly scribbled away.

They next headed to a Fountain Valley cafe where Kalvoda delivered $2,000 in sponsorship checks from WAVE and from herself for a "rock the vote" concert the Vietnamese American Democratic Club was organizing that weekend. As the night wore on, the girl folded over onto her mother's lap. Kalvoda stroked her back and kept talking. Asked how many of these meetings her mom has dragged her to, the girl replied:

"I don't know, a million?"

Kalvoda took her two daughters, the older one is 10, to all the primary debates and most of her afternoon meetings.

They may not appreciate it now, but she hopes that when they're grown, they won't make the mistake she did and sit on the sidelines for decades.

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