By the Numbers: Stats on the Partisan Affiliations of Local Elected Officials
Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 28, 2013
In case you missed it, OC Political compiled this database of the partisan affiliations of every single local elected official in Orange County last week, updating our prior three databases here, here, and here, from October and November 2012.
Some readers had contacted us, expressing interest in us parsing this data on a more macro scale, so here we go.
The overwhelming majority of Orange County’s 509 local elected officials are Republicans, with 350 each, followed by 111 Democrats, 38 with no party preference, 3 from third parties, and 7 current vacancies (County Auditor-Controller, County Clerk-Recorder, County Public Administrator, three seats on the Capistrano Bay Community Services District, and one seat on the Surfside Colony Community Services District). Republicans hold 69% of the seats while Democrats hold 22%. (To move the needle up to 70% for Republicans or 23% for Democrats, the respective parties would need to gain 4 of the 7 vacancies.)
Looking at the County offices, it’s pretty one-sided. In case you were wondering, the No Party Preference is County Assessor Webster Guillory. Republicans hold all of the other non-vacant county posts, including all five seats on the County Board of Supervisors and all five seats on the County Board of Education:
Turning to the City Councils, there are 135 Republicans out of 176 City Council members, with 34 Democrats and 6 NPPs. The Reform Party member is Gerri Graham-Mejia of Los Alamitos. Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, and Santa Ana have seven-member councils while all other OC cities have five-member councils.
Inherently, all City Councils are multi-member entities, so let’s take a look at party majorities on the Councils. Out of 34 City Councils:
- 11 have only Republicans on them
- 13 City Councils have Republican supermajorities (6 out of 7 for Newport Beach, and 4 out of 5 for the other 12)
- 8 City Councils have a one-seat Republican majority (4 Republicans and 3 Democrats in Huntington Beach, with the other 7 being Councils with 3 out of 5 Republicans; it’s not all R/D, as Brea has 3 Republicans and 2 NPPs while La Habra has 3 Republicans, 1 Democrat, and 1 NPP); this includes the recently-recaptured Irvine City Council
- Laguna Woods has three Democrats and two Republicans
- Santa Ana has Orange County’s only City Council that is comprised entirely of Democrats
Five OC cities have elected city clerks (Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, Orange, Placentia, and San Clemente). Of these, Laguna Beach’s Lisette Chel-Walker and San Clemente’s Joanne Baade are the two Democrats while the other three (Huntington Beach’s Joan Flynn, Orange’s Mary Murphy, and Placentia’s Patrick Melia) are Republicans.
There are six elected City Treasurers, with 3 Republicans (Huntington Beach’s Alisa Cutchen, Orange’s Helen Walker, and Placentia’s Craig Green), 1 Democrat (Brea’s Glenn Parker), 1 NPP (Laguna Beach’s Laura Parisi), and 1 Libertarian (San Clemente’s Mark Taylor, OC’s only Libertarian elected official).
I’m not creating a chart for Huntington Beach Republican Jennifer McGrath, Orange County’s only elected City Attorney.
Moving on to the Community College Districts, which clearly march to a different drum, they are the pride of the OC Democratic Party and the shame of the OC Republican Party. Of the 26 community college board members, 15 are Democrats, 8 are Republicans, and 3 are NPPs.
It’s much more stark when you look at party majorities:
- South Orange County Community College District has five Republicans and two NPPs.
- Rancho Santiago Community College District has five Democrats, one Republican, and one NPP.
- North Orange County Community College District has six Democrats and one Republican.
- Coast Community College District has the only five-member board, with four Democrats and one Republican.
Moving on from the one type of office Democrats control (the community college boards), we head on to school boards. Out of 148 school board members, 92 are Republicans, with 40 Democrats, 15 NPPs, and 1 American Independent (John Ortiz from the Ocean View School District).
By party majorities, the school boards are much more tenuous, as there are:
- 3 unanimously Republican school boards (Fullerton Joint Union High School District, Fullerton [Elementary] School District, and Tustin Unified School District)
- 7 Republican supermajorities (Newport-Mesa Unified has 6 Republicans on a 7-member board, Brea-Olinda Unified and Orange Unified each have 5 Republicans out of 7 school board members, while four other school districts have 4 Republicans out of 5 board members)
- 10 boards wield a single-seat Republican majority (4 out of 7 in Capistrano Unified are registered Republicans [whether they vote like Republicans is a different story] while the other nine have 3 Republicans on 5-member boards; the minority are not always Democrats, they may be NPPs or AIP).
- 6 boards wield an actual even split (each of these boards has exactly 2 Republicans, 2 Democrats, and 1 NPP)
- 2 boards each have 3 Democrats and 2 Republicans (Cypress [Elementary] School District and Westminster [Elementary] School District)
…and finally OC’s very special districts. Of the 129 elected special district board members, 94 are Republicans, 19 are Democrats, 12 are NPPs, and 4 are actually vacancies.
When you look at party control of the boards of each special district, the extent of Republican majorities is quite clear:
- 7 special district boards have only Republican members
- 6 special district boards have Republican supermajorities (6 out of 7 on the Orange County Water District and 4 out of 5 members on the other five boards)
- 8 special district boards have one-seat Republican majorities (2 Republicans and 1 Democrat on the Surfside Colony Stormwater Protection District Board, 3 Republicans and 2 Democrats on the boards of the Rossmoor Community Services District and the El Toro Water District, 3 Republicans and 1 Democrat with 1 vacancy on the Surfside Colony Community Services District Board, and 4 other boards have 3 Republicans, 1 Democrat, and 1 NPP).
- Democrats wield a one-seat majority on the Buena Park Library District Board, with 3 Democrats, 1 Republican, and 1 NPP
- Under “other,” I’ve placed the Sunset Beach Sanitary District (2 Republicans, 2 NPPs, and 1 Democrat) and the Placentia Library District (2 Democrats, 2 NPPs, and 1 Republican)
- Finally, there is the curious case of the Capistrano Bay Community Services District Board, which has 2 Republicans and 3 vacancies; does anyone know how these seats would be filled when the majority of the board seats are vacant?