Hammond Enters OCBE Race & Withdraws from AD-69, Producing OC Democrats’ Worst-Case Scenario
Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 11, 2012
There are no Republicans running for AD-69, leaving OC Democrats’ worst-case scenario in place. With no Republicans running for AD-69, Democrats will now spend their human and financial resources attacking each other in June and again in November. Under Prop 14, the top two finishers in June advance to November. The presumption had always been that it would be the top Democrat and Republican Robert Morris Hammond facing off in November. With Hammond out, the Democrats now effectively have to run their expensive primary twice.
OC Clerk-Recorder Tom Daly, Santa Ana Councilwoman Michele Martinez, Union Leader Julio Perez, and Businessman Paco Barragan were supposed to sort out who would carry the Democrats’ banner against Hammond in November. There had been much speculation that the Latino vote would split, allowing Daly to win the plurality of the Democrats to face off against Hammond, who would consolidate the entirety of the Republican vote. However, Hammond’s withdrawal leaves two of those four Democrats to face off against each other. Presumably, Daly still advances with the to face off against one of the Latino candidates.
The question of who wins the AD-69 election is: as the least liberal Democrat in the race, can Daly consolidate the Republican vote behind him? If the Martinez-Perez-Barragan voters consolidate behind one candidate, they would presumably be the majority of the votes cast by Democrats. However, if Daly can capture the Republicans, then he will win by combining the Republican vote with the portion of the Democrats’ votes he had in June. In AD-69, Democrats make up 49.7% of registered voters, Republicans make up 27.5% of registered voters, and No Party Preference voters make up 19.1%. By winning all the Republicans, half the NPP, and just 30% of Democrats, Daly can form a winning coalition in November. However, if any of the others can make a play for the Republican vote, they could destabilize the Daly coalition and win themselves. In a most unusual election, the Democrats in AD-69 may well try to position themselves as the conservative candidate in the Primary, in hopes of holding the Republican vote in November. (We’ve already received e-mail messages this weekend at OC Political from some of the Dem AD-69 candidates touting their “non-partisan” or “bi-partisan” viewpoints.)
Bottom line for Republicans: the AD-69 race will eat up valuable human and financial resources for the Democrats in November, freeing up Republican resources to spent on other races. Furthermore, the least liberal Democrat will likely be elected to represent the seat.
Orange County Board of Education Member Long Pham is partly to thank for this event. Pham’s bid for the 72nd Assembly District left his seat on the County Board vacant. Republican Robert Hammond had been running for AD-69, heavily on education issues, including overturning SB 48 and enhancing career technical education programs. Indeed, Hammond has been a teacher since he completed his service in the Marine Corps and earned his college degrees. With the solidly conservative Pham vacating the OCBE’s Central Orange County seat, that left conservatives searching for a candidate to succeed Pham.
Conservatives quickly turned to one of the most passionate conservative education advocates in Central Orange County – Robert Hammond. With Hammond’s deep knowledge of and passion for education issues, he is well-suited to be the conservative standard bearer for the Central OC seat on the OCBE.
Ordinarily, we’d run press releases under the “Newsletter Reprint” account, but this particular press release is central to an important piece of political news, so here is the press release from the Hammond campaign…
Robert Hammond Enters Orange County Board of Education Race
SANTA ANA, CA – At the urging of conservative activists and leaders across the county, Robert Morris Hammond has entered the race for Orange County Board of Education, Trustee Area 1. The seat is being vacated by the incumbent, fellow conservative Republican Long Pham, who is now running for the 72nd Assembly District.
“Education has always been one of my great passions. After completing my service in the United States Marine Corps and earning my college degrees, I became a teacher,” Hammond said. “I’ve taught in special education, English Immersion classes, teacher training programs, and adult literacy courses.”
Hammond has long campaigned on education issues, emphasizing faith, family, and freedom. He has also worked on efforts to overturn SB 48. As an Orange County Board of Education member, Hammond will be able to fight the implementation of SB 48 in the schools overseen by the OCBE. SB 48 and increasing career technical education had been two major issues that drove Hammond to run for office.
“It is with great reluctance that I withdraw from the 69th Assembly District race, but after Dr. Pham filed for the 72nd Assembly District on Thursday, numerous conservatives urged me to enter the race for Dr. Pham’s seat,” Hammond added. “We were all concerned that Dr. Pham’s seat could fall into liberal hands, and with Trustee Area 1 covering much the same territory as AD-69, many concerned conservative citizens and leaders asked me to consider entering the race for the Orange County Board of Education, which I have now done. I look forward to a vigorous campaign and victory in June.”
Orange County Board of Education, Trustee Area 1 covers Santa Ana, Tustin, Garden Grove (east of Beach Boulevard), and Fountain Valley (east of the 405 freeway).
(In the interest of full disclosure, Hammond is a Custom Campaigns client.)