OC Political

A right-of-center blog covering local, statewide, and national politics

Gamed Endorsement of Ming Diminishes Lincoln Club

Posted by Matt Cunningham on September 23, 2013

I have long been an admirer of the Lincoln Club of Orange County, but I don’t think I have ever been more disappointed in one of the Club’s actions than with its endorsement of Robert Ming in the 5th Supervisor District race. My disappointment is not a criticism of Robert Ming but of how this endorsement was engineered, which brings the Club down to College Republican level of shenanigans. It reflects poorly on the Lincoln Club of Orange County and its treatment of a candidate who has been bloodied during long service to the conservative cause.

I am a strong supporter of Mission Viejo City Councilman Frank Ury. I have been a friend and supporter of Frank’s for more than 20 years. There is no doubt in my mind that he is the superior choice to be the Supervisor from the 5th District.

The Lincoln Club has a process for endorsing candidates — a process that was short-circuited in the case of Robert Ming when it was sprung on the Lincoln Club board last week. All well and good – the Club is a private organization and can run its internal affairs as its leadership sees fit.

But it is worth pointing out what this endorsement is not. It is not the result of both candidates having the opportunity to come before the Lincoln Club and make their respective cases as to why they deserve the Club’s endorsement. Only Robert Ming was given the opportunity. Frank Ury didn’t learn of it until after the initial vote last week, which fell two votes shy of the two-thirds necessary to given Ming the endorsement. Even after Frank learned of the vote and reached out to the Club, there was no reciprocation and the endorsement was given to Ming after the missing two votes were added.

In my opinion, this sort of maneuvering is a disservice to Lincoln Club members, who are not given the opportunity to hear for themselves from both candidates — both of whom are solid conservatives.

It is especially shameful given that Frank Ury has fought harder and longer for the conservative cause than most, and been bloodied in the process more than most. A little more than 20 years ago, myself and some other conservative activists asked Frank to run for the Saddleback Valley Unified School Board. We believed more conservative voice were need on school boards that had been (and still are) dominated by teachers unions. Frank agreed and waged a successful grassroots campaign. He brought a common sense, business perspective to the school board, and a strong conservative voice that championed parents and students. He was one of a tiny handful of school board members courageous enough to campaign around the state in favor of the 1993 school voucher initiative. He was a key part of Education Alliance, an organization that helped recruit, train and support conservative candidates for school boards. He proved such an effective voice that the unions spent nearly $150,000 to defeat Frank when he stood for re-election — an unheard of sum in a school board race at the time. Frank could have taken the easy path and kept his school board seat simply by keeping silent on the issue of school choice, and it is a reflection of his integrity that he didn’t compromise his principles simply to hold onto office.

A lot of activists would have left the field after such an experience. Frank stayed in the trenches and in 1998 he and Mark Bucher and Jim Righeimer authored the first paycheck protection initiative, Prop. 226. They approached the Lincoln Club and as the Club notes on its website, “Provided significant seed money for “paycheck protection” initiatives, Proposition 226 and 75, to prohibit unions from withholding dues for political purposes.”

These are just a couple of snapshots from Frank Ury’s long years of service in the trenches for the conservative cause. Frank has run and won, run and lost, and then run and won three more times. It has never been handed to him, and he has become an ever more effective conservative leader over the years.

Frank Ury been in the trenches fighting the same fight for the same things for which the Lincoln Club is supposed, and the Club ought to have afforded Frank the opportunity to make his case.  The Club often points to Theodore Roosevelt’s “The Man in the Arena” speech as exemplifying the philosophy of its approach to politics. Frank Ury has been one of those men in the arena for 20 years, and the Lincoln Club just shined him on. By engaging in a 5th Supervisor District endorsement maneuver reminiscent of college political club antics and blowing off a conservative candidate of accomplishment who deserved at least a hearing, the Lincoln Club has diminished itself. And that is disappointing to those of us who have admired the Club for, among other things, a grown-up and sober approach to politics and campaigns.

31 Responses to “Gamed Endorsement of Ming Diminishes Lincoln Club”

  1. Allan Bartlett said

    Congrats to the Lincoln Club on their endorsement of Robert Ming. He will be a good Supervisor IMO. As far as Matt’s sour grapes posting, he’s just billing time to put up crap like this. The only thing that has been been “diminished” recently Matt, is your credibility. How much are you getting paid to post this? I thought you were supposed to disclose that here?

    • Matthew Cunningham said

      You get older, Allan, but you don’t get any smarter.

      I like Robert. I think he’s a good conservative. This isn’t sour grapes, it is disappointment with the Lincoln Club leadership for engineering an endorsement in a manner more reminiscent of CR shenanigans.

      I’m not getting paid anything, moron. Frank Ury is a great conservative and one of my oldest friends and I want to do what I can to help him. At some point, Allan, you ought to stop acting like an adolescent.

      • Andy Favor said

        I don’t think “good” is an adequate word for Robert Ming. I would say exceptional would be better but even that cannot describe Robert. It was a well deserved unanimous endorsement.

        • Craig P. Alexander said

          I agree with you 100% Andy! Robert is a movement conservative and a man of high integrity. He will be a great Supervisor for our County!

          • Matthew Cunningham said

            I think all of you are missing my point, which is not about Robert’s conservative credentials. My point, rather, was the manner in which the Lincoln Club made the endorsement. If we are to be candid, It was driven by Club President Wayne Lindholm’s friendship and support for Robert. Only Robert was given the opportunity to speak to the LC board. Frank found out about it after the fact. he ought to have been given the opportunity. The LC Board should have requested the opportunity to hear from the other announced candidate, whose conservative credentials are just as strong as Robert’s, and whose record of conservative activism is more extensive.

            The Club was founded to bring a business-like approach to the selection of Republican candidates. There was nothing business-like or mature about how this endorsement went down. It reminded me of how things are done in the less temperate environment of college student politics, and it diminishes the Club’s legacy.

            • David Bahnsen said

              Matt – I was there and you weren’t. I am telling you that is NOT at all how it went down. Since you now have been corrected by someone who was actively involved and present, to persist with that version of the story will be a willful lie. Up until now I graciously assume you just have very wrong information. Going forward, you have now been corrected.

              • David Bahnsen said

                The accusation that the endorsement is a result of robert’s relationship with Lindholm, and we all know it, and blah blah, is nonsense. Wayne barely said three words. I was the most vocal. Every single member of the Executive Committee was vehemently on board for Robert. So, what is my insidious motive for supporting Robert? I think the problem for many in OC politics (and of course elsewhere around the country too) is that when someone picks their candidates purely by PRINCIPLE, and not with alterior motives, it puts many politicos into cardiac arrest

                • Matthew Cunningham said

                  David: did I say you had an insidious motive? No, I did not.

                  I do see you have described Frank as a “high speed rail advocate” – which comes as a surprise to me, and I have known Frank longer than any other person in OC politics. On what basis do you level this charge?

                  • David Bahnsen said

                    Matt – what you insultingly and inaccurately said was that the club’s support of Robert was a friendship deal for Lindholm. Since I was the most vocal and passionate supporter of Robert’s endorsement, and since your accusation of the club’s motive was wrong, I was pointing out that the LACK of any insidiousness in the endorsement must be confusing. Wayne was not behind this endorsement. To “speak candidly” about something that you just do not know is unwise, in my opinion.

                    As for high speed rail, we both know what I am talking about. I will not prosecute the case here. I have nothing against Frank (just something against a lot of those who endorse him). The club’s endorsement of Robert Ming was about Robert Ming, not Frank Ury.

              • Matthew Cunningham said

                David: I guess the LC board member who was at that meeting and to whom I spoke prior to writing this post, was in reality at a board meeting of a Lincoln Club from a parallel Earth in a parallel dimension that was, by an amazing coincidence, co-located at the precisely the same point on the time-space continuum at which your meeting took place. What are the odds!

                • David Bahnsen said

                  Or you are just lying. Either way, the public record has been corrected and clarified about Lincoln Club policy and protocol. Hopefully you won’t make the same mistake in the future. And since Robert’s endorsement received 100% of the board vote, your Deep Throat must have been one of them. Have a good night,

                  • Matthew Cunningham said

                    “Or you are just lying.” Or you are. Any other stupid, impulsive things you want to say?

                    For the record, I DON’T believe you are lying, Neither do I believe the person I spoke to was lying. Both or you have relayed your account of the endorsement from where you each stand.

                    You claim Frank Ury is an advocate of high speed rail. Once again, can you substantiate your charge?

            • Greg Woodard said

              Matt, you yourself said that “[t]here is no doubt in my mind that [Ury] is the superior choice to be the Supervisor from the 5th District.” So it is about Robert’s conservative credentials as much as it is about what you claim happened during the process (though that appears to have been thoroughly debunked by Mr. Bahnsen both here and in another post). You apparently believe Frank has the stronger conservative principles, and you are free to support Frank all you want. As a 13 year resident of Mission Viejo, I echo Craig, Allan, and others on here, and I am proud to both endorse and support Robert Ming for the 5th District.

  2. larrygilbert said

    Matt. Frank Ury and the “grass roots” activists in Mission Viejo have a long history going all the way back to his one term on the SVUSD. We have seen him in action on our city council and, based on his track record and arrogance in that post, will not be supporting his bid for the BOS seat. Several of us assisted him in his initial victory in 2004 and have watched him ever since. The detailed list is long and will not be shared here. Last Nov his contribution to a PAC opposing all three OCGOP endorsements (in the 2010 election cycle ) was exposed during an Endorsing Meeting of the OC Republican Party. Chairman Baugh was not pleased in seeing the documentation especially as Frank was seeking his own endorsement which was not granted last fall.

    • Matthew Cunningham said

      Gee, Larry. I’m shocked to hear you won’t be supporting Frank. What a surprise. I suppose if Frank turned his brain over to you and let you text him what to say during council meetings, you might experience a change of heart.

  3. OCInsider#33 said

    Not supporting OCGOP candidates should probably be considered a huge positive given the horrible history the party has with its endorsement process and the lame candidates it backs, so good for Frank on that one. Everyone knew the Lincoln Club endorsement would be handed to Robert given his working relationship with Wayne Lindholms wife. Atlas PAC is another loser endorsement Robert just got considering their recent history of laundering union money.

  4. David Bahnsen said

    I will be writing an article shortly to correct the significant errors in Matt’s depiction of the Lincoln Club process and protocol here. I will avoid talking about Frank Ury and high speed rail and instead stick to the mistakes Matt made in understanding and communicating how and why the Lincoln Club endorsed the next OC Supervisor in the 5th district, Robert Ming

    • Hi David,

      Send over the article when you are done and we will post it for you, if you want.

    • Matthew Cunningham said

      David: I just read your response post. It is so peopled with straw men as to be flammable.

      I don’t know where you get the idea that Frank Ury is a high-speed rail advocate. A board member who was there at that vote told me that the board was left with that false impression, which would tend to militate against your description of the board political savvy.

  5. David Bahnsen said


    • Craig P. Alexander said

      Dear David,

      First as a stong supporter of Robert Ming I would like to thank you and the rest of the Lincoln Club for your endorsement of Robert. Like the Atlas PAC endorsement, the Lincoln Club of Orange County is a very, very important endorsement for Robert. Also, I went to your link and read your explanation of the endorsement process in this case. Thank you for “clearing the air” about this.

      Further, having known Robert for over a decade, I can attest that what you said about him is 100% accurate. Robert is the “real deal” and a real leader that we need on the Board of Supervisors.

  6. […] as Cunningham (who is well-known as a paid political consultant) posted a very strongly worded blog over at OC Political, bemoaning the Lincoln Club’s choice (a private organization) to endorse Robert Ming for […]

    • Matthew Cunningham said

      I’m still waiting for David Bahnsen to substantiate his charge that Frank Ury supports high speed rail.

      Dave? Anyone? Beuhler?

      I shall be waiting a very long time because that charge is untrue. What remains to be seen is whether Dave will retract that charge here and on his blog.

      I sincerely hope this untruth is not being spread by the Ming campaign or anyone associated with it.

      • David Bahnsen said

        Matt – one of the things political consultants can’t get their arms around is that some of us have real jobs … While I understand the industry of political prostitution enables extraordinary hour flexibility, this stuff doesn’t register in my top 100 of priorities. I took that one sentence out of my piece … And now I get to write a piece on my own timeline that you will really wish you hadn’t provoked.

        • Matthew Cunningham said

          David: “that some of us have real jobs…” blah blah blah. Really, Dave? Are you jumping into the mud puddle of personal insults so quickly? I mean it sincerely when I say that you are smarter and better person than that, and the only person attacks like that diminish is you.

          “…that you will really wish you hadn’t provoked.” If it is a chockful of straw man points as your earlier post, I look forward to reading it.

          With that, I’ll let you return to your “real” job.

          • David Bahnsen said

            Thank you, Matt. Please don’t be offended that this will be my last “comment” in this thread. It is a reflection of busy-ness and priorities that I walk away from this. BUT, if and when you retract your error-filled article on the Lincoln Club’s process and endorsement of Robert Ming, I will make sure it gets the proper circulation. As for the insult accusation, I would suggest you re-read your post and subsequent comments. You have to understand: I REALLY DO loathe the consultant class; you don’t have ANY basis to your silly accusations about our club’s motive for endorsing Ming. There are only about eight good people in all of OC poilitics and you have managed to malign two of them in one ignorant piece (Lindholm and Ming). If you disagree with LC policies, I don’t particularly care. But to say we violated our own policies is grossly inaccurate. We are going to go back to the good work of seeing Robert Ming elected. Thanks for your interaction on this subject. I’ll check the OCP blog tonight to see if you retracted your piece. I have taken the one line out of my blog based on an email I received from Ury, but I am likely going to have to write another piece explaining where it all is coming from. I don’t imagine that will make you happy.

            • Matthew Cunningham said

              David:I haven’t maligned anyone, least of all Robert. And your opinion of consultants is immaterial to me. And I didn’t realize your knowledge of and familiarity with people in OC politics was so vast and all-encompassing that you can narrow the worthy ones down to eight.

              I will address one of your charges of inaccuracy on my part here – a longer response to the brigade of straw men you deployed will have to wait until I have some more time. I was aware that on the day of the board vote Ming was two votes shy of an endorsement, and I was also aware that the two additional votes necessary were added on later – I thought I had mentioned the latter fact in my post and now see I did not – which is an unintentional oversight on my part. Not that it changes the point of my post. I wasn’t arguing that the LC Board DIDN’T endorse Robert.

  7. […] Cunningham has posted a bizarre piece over at OCPolitical expressing his dismay at the Lincoln Club’s decision to endorse Robert Ming […]

  8. […] Cunningham has posted a bizarre piece over at OCPolitical expressing his dismay at the Lincoln Club’s decision to endorse Robert Ming […]

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