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Half are Republicans, Half are Democrats, and Other Random Stats on Orange County’s Directly-Elected Mayors

Posted by Chris Nguyen on November 20, 2012

The New Republican Irvine City Council Majority:
Councilman Jeff Lalloway, Councilwoman-Elect Christina Shea, and Mayor-Elect Steven Choi

Partisan Breakdown

Since 2004, Republicans have held a 4-2 advantage among Orange County’s directly-elected mayors:

  • Anaheim: Tom Tait (since 2010), Curt Pringle (2002-2010)
  • Garden Grove: Bill Dalton (2004-2012)
  • Orange: Carolyn Cavecche (2006-2012), Mark Murphy (2000-2006)
  • Westminster: Margie Rice (Republican 2004-2012; Democrat 2000-2004)

The two Democrats were:

  • Irvine: Sukhee Kang (2008-2012), Beth Krom (2004-2008)
  • Santa Ana: Miguel Pulido (since 1994)

Anaheim’s Tait has Orange County’s only four-year mayoral seat, so he was not up for election this year. Major changes were in store with three mayors termed out (Garden Grove’s Dalton, Irvine’s Kang, and Orange’s Cavecche) and one mayor voluntarily retiring (Westminster’s Rice), leaving only Santa Ana’s Pulido seeking re-election this year.

While Steven Choi captured the Irvine mayoral seat for the Republicans, Bruce Broadwater of Garden Grove and Tita Smith of Orange captured their respective mayor’s posts for the Democrats.

The Republicans are:

  • Anaheim: Tom Tait (term limit: 2018)
  • Irvine: Steven Choi (term limit: 2016)
  • Westminster: Tri Ta (no term limit)

The Democrats are:

  • Garden Grove: Bruce Broadwater (term limit: 2020)
  • Orange: Tita Smith (term limit: 2018)
  • Santa Ana: Miguel Pulido (term limit: 2020)

It could be worse though, like the 2000-2002 line-up of directly-elected mayors, which had Orange’s Mark Murphy as the sole Republican:

  • Anaheim: Tom Daly (1992-2002)
  • Garden Grove: Bruce Broadwater (1994-2004)
  • Irvine: Larry Agran (2000-2004)
  • Orange: Mark Murphy (2000-2006)
  • Santa Ana: Miguel Pulido (since 1994)
  • Westminster: Margie Rice (2000-2004 as a Democrat; 2004-2012 as a Republican)

2012 Demographics

An odd sidenote about 2012: in an election that saw Asian Americans vote 3-1 for Barack Obama, Orange County’s Asian American directly-elected mayors went from consisting of one Democrat (Kang) to consisting of two Republicans (Choi and Ta).

While Cavecche was replaced by Smith in Orange, women lost ground as Rice was replaced by Ta in Westminster.

Term Limits

Anaheim, Garden Grove, and Santa Ana have eight-year term limits (two four-year terms in Anaheim and four two-year terms in Garden Grove and Santa Ana).  Orange has a six-year term limit (three two-year terms).  Irvine has a four-year term limit (two two-year terms).  Westminster has no term limits (two-year terms).

Santa Ana’s mayoral term limit is the newest, having been adopted this month.  Irvine’s mayoral term limit is the oldest, taking effect in 1991.

Anaheim has the toughest term limit on Councilmembers who want to be Mayor.  A first-term Councilmember running for Mayor may only serve one mayoral term.  A second-term Councilmember may not run for Mayor.

Excluding Westminster’s non-limit, Garden Grove and Irvine have the most generous term limit for Councilmembers who want to be Mayor.  In both of those cities, when Councilmembers term out, they can run for Mayor, and when they term out as Mayor, they can run for Council, in a never-ending merry-go-round.

Age

After the 2012 election, the mayoral median age is 60.5 with a mean age is 59.3:

  • Garden Grove: Bruce Broadwater (74)
  • Irvine: Steven Choi (68)
  • Orange: Tita Smith (65)
  • Santa Ana: Miguel Pulido (56)
  • Anaheim: Tom Tait (54)
  • Westminster: Tri Ta (39)

Before the 2012 election, the mayoral median age was 58 with a mean age of 62.3:

  • Westminster: Margie Rice (83)
  • Garden Grove: Bill Dalton (69)
  • Irvine: Sukhee Kang (60)
  • Santa Ana: Miguel Pulido (56)
  • Anaheim: Tom Tait (54)
  • Orange: Carolyn Cavecche (52)

The biggest age change was in Westminster, where Margie Rice was replaced by Tri Ta, who is 44 years younger than her.  The smallest age change (excluding Tait and Pulido, for obvious reasons) was in Garden Grove, where Bill Dalton was replaced by Bruce Broadwater, who is 5 years older than him.

While Westminster had a dramatic age decrease for mayor, Garden Grove, Irvine, and Orange all had age increases for mayor.

The Democrat median and mean ages both increased from 58 to 65.

The Republican median age decreased from 61.5 to 54 while the Republican mean age decreased from 64.5 to 53.7.

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