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AD-55 & AD-74: Assembly Candidates Ascend to Mayorships

Posted by Chris Nguyen on December 4, 2013

Yorba Linda Mayor Craig Young

Yorba Linda Mayor
Craig Young

Huntington Beach Mayor Matt Harper

Huntington Beach Mayor
Matt Harper

In a handy tool for their State Assembly campaigns, AD-55 Candidate Craig Young became Mayor of Yorba Linda last night and AD-74 Candidate Matt Harper became Mayor of Huntington Beach on Monday night.

Being mayor during the same year as an Assembly candidacy lends itself to a few helpful advantages:

  • “Mayor” is stronger than “Councilman” as a ballot designation.  Many voters do not realize that most California mayors are effectively the chair of the city council; these voters instead think of executive mayors, like the types in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, New York City, and Chicago.  (For the political scientists out there, many California voters believe they live in a city with a “strong mayor-council” system when in reality, most California cities have “council-manager” systems.)
  • Mayors tend to get more press coverage than councilmembers, as reporters are more likely to quote a mayor than a councilmember.
  • Mayors get more of the spotlight at community events.  Rather than asking five or seven councilmembers to speak at an event, most organizers will simply ask the mayor to speak.  After all, people attending a community event would generally prefer to hear a speech from one politician rather than speeches from about a half-dozen politicians.

At this point in the AD-55 race, Young’s opponents for the Republican nomination are Diamond Bar Councilwoman Ling-Ling Chang and Walnut Valley Unified School Board Member Phillip Chen.  Chang will not be mayor during her Assembly bid, as Carol Herrera became Mayor of Diamond Bar last night.  AD-55 Incumbent Curt Hagman is termed out.  You can find previous OC Political posts on the AD-55 race here.

Mayor Harper is the only elected official to have thrown his hat in the AD-74 ring as of this morning.  His two opponents for the Republican nomination are 2010 Laguna Beach City Council Candidate Emanuel Patrascu, whose day job is as District Director for State Assemblyman Travis Allen, and 2012 Santa Ana City Council Candidate Karina Onofre, whose day job is split between working for H&R Block and as a Field Representative for State Senator Bob Huff.  AD-74 Incumbent Allan Mansoor is running for Orange County Supervisor.  You can find previous OC Political posts on the AD-74 race here.

3 Responses to “AD-55 & AD-74: Assembly Candidates Ascend to Mayorships”

  1. met00Met00 said

    Chris, You seem to forget that Travis Allen beat the bejesus out of MAYOR Taxin’ Troy Edgar. As an post election analysis showed, the better that one knew MAYOR Troy Edgar the lower chance that the precinct would actually vote for the candidate that they knew; and would rather vote for a totally unknown non-politician rather than MAYOR Troy Edgar.

    It really comes down to the candidate. Yes, there may be plus points for a title, but that makes an assumption that the low information voter doesn’t already have some understanding that the candidate themselves is flawed. I’m sure that the MAYOR title helped Troy Edgar pick up a few votes in Santa Ana (one of the few precincts where he won), but it clearly didn’t help him in his home precinct where he was soundly defeated by a total unknown.

    Matt Harper is a *known*. Adding MAYOR to that won’t help him where people already know him. It may be of a small benefit in precincts where he is totally unknown, but he has already been out there as an assembly candidate (his self-quashed run two years ago) and people in most of his AD already know who he is. Emanuel Patrascu has the advantage of being the “voice” of Travis Allen, whom most people still seem to like as their choice, in the northern end of the AD, and has name recognition in the south end of the AD. He also has the ability to say that he has experience since he has spent the last two years as “the right hand man” of Travis.

    Matt had challenges last cycle with fund raising. A major source of his fund raising came from a PAC that backed Travis Allen and worked with Emanuel Patrascu to get Travis elected (a PAC that this site bashed rather heavily). With Emanuel in the race I don’t see that problem with fund raising going away. In fact, there will be questions raised about how Matt Harper retired the debt from his last run that may come back to haunt him (rumors were that Troy Edgar helped him retire the debt when he dropped out, he will have to answer those to put to rest that he was bought off to drop out and create a clear path for Edgar). Emanuel Patrascu has shown himself to be a fairly savvy politico even when he has mismanaged an issue (the 33 acre project in Cypress/Los Al) so Matt has his hands full, and adding MAYOR to his title may not be much of a boost to the bottom line. To really see who has the better chance in this race, watch where Atlas PAC lines up.

    • Uh, all I said was being mayor was “a handy tool” that “lends itself a few helpful advantages” in my post. Nothing more, nothing less. Your comment was longer than my post; I’m surprised you became so unglued.

      Also, I’m befuddled by your statement that Atlas PAC was “bashed rather heavily” by this site. When did that ever occur? We’ve never attacked Atlas PAC.

      Emami’s post subsequent to your comment announcing Keith Curry’s entry into the race certainly alters the calculus.

      • met00 said

        Well, let’s have a look at “the handy tool” meme.

        We will look at lil ol Los Alamitos, where Edgar hails from.

        Mayor Fred Freeman runs for re-election using “Mayor” on his signs and literature. Loses.
        Mayor Ken Parker runs for re-election using Mayor on his signs and literature. Loses (and gets sued for doing it, and loses)
        Mayor Troy Edgar runs for the AD and loses to total unknown and neophyte Travis Allen.

        I’m sure all three would love to know where “lends itself a few helpful advantages” comes into play.

        The only thing that makes me come “unglued” is when political consultants throw around “conventional wisdom” that is as real as a three dollar bill. The truthiness of the statements is real, but the truth is not. When I do political consulting (and I do) and I have to explain that the conventional wisdom you just stated is false I am having to re-educate my clients.

        Now, I still would love to know how Mayor Matt Harper retired his debt from his last AD run.

        And yes, the new hat in the ring changes the dynamics of the hat dance dramatically. I do wonder if Mayor Matt is going to back down again (his fund-raising prowess is not on par with that of the rest of the players, and the price tag just went up).

        PS: Apology owed; it was another blog that bashed Atlas PAC, not you. I am sorry I got that point wrong. Please accept my most humble apology for the error.

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