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Handicapping The Races: 74th Assembly District (June 2014)

Posted by Chris Emami on May 27, 2014

It is getting worse, Chris Nguyen is likely going to come after me with the butcher knife from the Emanuel Patrascu mailer. Here is my take on the 74th Assembly District race which is open due to Assemblyman Allan Mansoor making an ill-advised run for the 2nd Supervisorial District against Michelle Steel.

Here are the candidates running for AD 74:

  • Karina “Karina” Onofre (D) – Small Business Owner
  • Keith D. Curry (R) – Businessman/City Councilmember
  • Emanuel Patrascu (R) – Orange County Business Owner
  • Matthew Harper (R) – Huntington Beach Mayor
  • Anila Ali (D) – Middle School Teacher

Voter registration heavily favors Republicans, with Republicans having 43% of registered voters in the 74th Assembly District compared to Democrats who hold just 29% of voter registration which is extremely close to the number of No Party Preference voters who hold 23% of the vote. This is an open primary that falls under the rules of Proposition 14, so regardless of percentages, the two candidates with the most votes will advance to the November election. The 74th Assembly District currently has the following cities within its boundaries:

  • Costa Mesa
  • Laguna Beach
  • Laguna Woods
  • Newport Beach
  • Huntington Beach (Portion)
  • Irvine (Portion)

Karina “Karina” Onofre

I have had numerous Democrats call me accusing Republicans of planting Karina Onofre in this race as a Democrat to try and embarrass the Democratic Party. Onofre is a former candidate for Santa Ana City Council. Let’s take a look at her electoral history.

Results from November 2012 (General Election):

CITY OF SANTA ANA Member, City Council, Ward 5
Completed Precincts: 108 of 108
Vote Count Percentage
ROMAN A. REYNA 32,419 61.8%
KARINA ONOFRE 20,065 38.2%

Onofre has major issues with turning her campaign finance reports in on time and has very little money raised ($5,000 raised as of the last report) and I am not considering her $100,000 loan a factor unless she actually starts to spend it. Normally I would say that the Democrat usually would have an excellent shot of advancing to November but Onofre will be splitting votes with fellow Democrat Anila Ali. This leads me to believe that due to Democratic registration being low that with a vote split Onofre and Ali will finish in the last place slots this June.

Nevertheless, Onofre has made this election a lot of fun. Check out these posts from Scott Carpenter; Prepare to be Entertained: The AD 74 “Feet to the Fire” Candidate Forum and AD74 Watch: Karina Onofre Channels Napoleon Dynamite.

Keith D. Curry

Keith Curry is considered the front-runner by most prognosticators at this point. He has the most money and has name ID in one of the largest cities in the district (Newport Beach)

Curry has been on the ballot multiple times in Newport Beach with a very successful track record in getting elected. Let’s take a brief look at his electoral history.

Results from November 2012 (General Election):

CITY OF NEWPORT BEACH Member, City Council, District 7
Completed Precincts: 89 of 89
Vote Count Percentage
KEITH D. CURRY 30,255 100.0%

Results from November 2008 (General Election):

CITY OF NEWPORT BEACH Member, City Council, District 7
Completed Precincts: 92 of 92
Vote Count Percentage
KEITH D. CURRY 21,259 55.0%
DOLORES OTTING 17,376 45.0%

Curry is in complete control when it comes to campaign fundraising with over $171,000 raised and he has also spent his $100,000 loan in addition to the money he has raised. He has purchased multiple slate mailers, signs, and is currently in the lead on mail. Here are some of the mailers that our blogger Marion Morrison has posted:

AD 74 – Curry and Patrascu Both Positive
AD 74 – More Positive From Keith Curry
AD 74 Mail – Curry Postive and Patrascu Negative

With the amount of money that he has spent on voter contact it is a safe bet that Curry will be advancing to November.

Emanuel Patrascu

I will give Emanuel Patrascu credit because he has run an excellent campaign so far. He picked an excellent ballot designation and he has spent his money wisely on direct mail.

Patrascu has run for office before in Laguna Beach. Let’s take a brief look at her electoral history.

Results from November 2010 (General Election):

CITY OF LAGUNA BEACH Member, City Council
Number To Vote For: 3
Completed Precincts: 26 of 26
Vote Count Percentage
* KELLY H. BOYD 7,190 30.3%
* ELIZABETH PEARSON 6,669 28.1%
* TONI ISEMAN 6,023 25.4%
EMANUEL PATRASCU 3,819 16.1%

Patrascu could be classified as the candidate that has gotten the most out of the money that he has. His campaign fundraising numbers include $60,000 raised and $33,000 raised (I am including the loan because he has spent the money). His mail has been directly attacking Curry which is one of the main reasons that I think Curry is considered the front-runner by all candidates. Her is a look at some of the mail sent out by the Patrascu campaign courtesy of our blogger Marion Morrison:

AD 74 – Emanuel Patrascu Attacks Keith Curry on High Speed Rail
AD 74 – Curry and Patrascu Both Positive
AD 74 Mail – Curry Postive and Patrascu Negative

Patrascu is in a dead heat with Matt Harper for the second place slot and I will give my reasoning for this later in this post.

Matthew Harper

Matthew Harper is considered the conservative darling in this race by many due to his years of activism in the Republican Party of Orange County. It appears that both Keith Curry and Emanuel Patrascu are ignoring him with most of their negative mail being focused on each other.

Harper has hold office for a number of years and has had a lot of success on the ballot. Let’s take a look at his electoral history:

Results from November 2012 (General Election):

CITY OF HUNTINGTON BEACH Member, City Council
Number To Vote For: 4
Completed Precincts: 152 of 152
Vote Count Percentage
CONNIE BOARDMAN 20,019 9.4%
* JOE CARCHIO 18,523 8.7%
MATTHEW HARPER 15,886 7.5%
JOE SHAW 14,585 6.9%
BARBARA DELGLEIZE 14,171 6.7%
BLAIR FARLEY 13,932 6.5%
BILLY O’CONNELL 13,175 6.2%
JIM KATAPODIS 13,100 6.2%
FRED J. SPEAKER 11,183 5.3%
DAN KALMICK 10,775 5.1%
NORM WESTWELL 10,187 4.8%
BILL RORICK 9,835 4.6%
HEATHER GROW 9,624 4.5%
SHAWN ROSELIUS 7,628 3.6%
ERIK PETERSON 7,137 3.4%
BRUCE J. BRANDT 7,125 3.3%
LANDON FICHTNER 4,654 2.2%
ANDRISSA DOMINGUEZ 4,440 2.1%
WILLIAM GRUNWALD 3,652 1.7%
JOHN VON HOLLE 3,209 1.5%
BLAKE ROSE (W) 50 0.0%

Results from November 2002 (General Election):

Huntington Beach Union High Sch Dist
Vote For: 3
Completed Precincts: 238 of 238
Vote Count Percentage
Matthew Harper 29,220 17.5%
Bonnie Castrey 27,605 16.5%
Brian Garland 26,242 15.7%
Rosemary Saylor 24,516 14.7%
Sylvia Garrett 17,739 10.6%
Jim Peters 12,052 7.2%
Sallie E. Dashiell 12,050 7.2%
Ted K. Tadayon 9,303 5.6%
Andrew Scott Patterson 8,495 5.1%

Harper has more name ID than both Curry and Patrascu but his fundraising numbers have been anemic at best. He has raised just $22,000 and again I am including his personal loan because he has spent it. This is a pretty large fundraising gap between himself and Patrascu.

With this fundraising gap in place it is a safe bet that Harper will likely not appear on any direct mail although he is on a decent amount of slate mailers including the always popular and effective Landslide Communications slate mailers. The biggest concern I have is that the Curry campaign has not hit him yet and this is a bad sign considering Curry has paid for polling data in this race.

In spite of my concerns I still consider Harper to be in a dead heat with Patrascu and I will explain why at the end of this post.

Anila Ali

In any normal election I would predict the Democrat to consolidate enough support to advance to November but Ali is likely going to lose because Karina Onofre is also running as a Democrat. Ali has never run for office before and has no name ID in this district. She has raised $39,000 which is more than both Onofre and Harper but I just don’t think it is enough to overcome both Onofre and the Democratic registration disadvantage.

Prediction Time

Before I make my prediction I want to point out where the ballots that have been returned are coming from:

14,961 ballots have been returned so far in AD 74
3,500 ballots from Newport beach (approximately)
3,000 ballots from Huntington Beach (approximately)
2,000 ballots from Laguna Woods (approximately)
2,000 ballots from Costa Mesa (approximately)
1,000 ballots from Laguna Beach (approximately)

Based on the high turnout from Huntington Beach I am giving Harper a fighting chance to advance to November although I am still leaning towards Patrascu.

Based on all of the above factors and analysis, I predict that the candidates who advance to November will be a repeat of AD 72, an All-Republican run-off:

Keith Curry (R) in 1st and Toss-Up Between Emanuel Patrascu and Matthew Harper (R) for 2nd

3 Responses to “Handicapping The Races: 74th Assembly District (June 2014)”

  1. Chris. Reading your post brings back memories of Dolores Derosa (Otting) .She lived across Lake Mission Viejo from us before moving to Newport Beach. We often talked “trash” based on her experiences in that industry. Memorial Day week and you remind me of another friend who has passed.

  2. bob said

    i was going to vote for curry but am going to vote for onofre,,,she is much cutier

  3. […] Keith Curry and Matt Harper Advance, Emanuel Patrascu Last – Emami called it, mostly.  Thanks to Karina Onofre spoiling the Democratic vote for Anila Ali, we have an all-Republican […]

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