We’re live from the Republican Party of Orange County Endorsements Committee meeting. Four candidates are on the docket tonight: Eric Woolery for Auditor-Controller, Robert Ming for 5th Supervisorial District, Kevin Haskins for Superior Court Judge Office Number 14, and Jeff Ferguson for Superior Court Judge Office Number 35.
All recommendations of the Endorsements Committee must be approved by a 2/3 vote at the April 21 Central Committee meeting before becoming official endorsements.
The Endorsements Committee consists of Chairman Mark Bucher and members Thomas Gordon, Jeff Thomas, Peggy Huang, Mark McCurdy, and Mary Young. A seventh unidentified member is absent.
(6:15 PM): Chairman Bucher calls the meeting to order and explains the procedure.
He also explains his philosophy of not endorsing one good Republican over another one. He says he may even oppose the party endorsing someone that he personally supports.
(6:19 PM): Chairman Bucher calls an intermission to confer with OC GOP Executive Director Scott Loenhorst.
(6:20 PM): Orange Treasurer Eric Woolery talks about voting for Ronald Reagan the year he turned 18. He served as Second Vice Chair of the OCGOP under Tom Fuentes. Woolery speaks about owning his own business, being a CPA, and managing the Riverside District Attorney’s budget. He says he has a balance of public and private sector experience.
(6:22 PM): Orange Mayor Pro Tem Fred Whitaker says Democrat Jan Grimes has mismanaged the Auditor-Controller’s office and that she could not explain her department’s deficit.
(6:23 PM): Chairman Bucher asks if any of Woolery’s opponents are present. (None of them are here.)
(6:23 PM): Mary Young moves and Mark McCurdy seconds his endorsement.
(6:24 PM): Thomas Gordon notes that Mike Dalati is Karina Onofre’s fiancee, to the laughter of the entire room.
(6:25 PM): Woolery wins the unanimous recommendation of the Endorsement Committee.
WOOLERY RECOMMENDED UNANIMOUSLY.
SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE OFFICE #14
(6:26 PM): Assistant District Attorney Kevin Haskins speaks about his family and living in Orange County for 40 years. He resides in Laguna Niguel. He first joined the DA’s office in 1986, was in private practice, and returned to the DA’s office. He says he’s practiced on both sides of the Counsel table. Haskins says he believes in treating all people in court with respect and dignity while holding people accountable for their actions. He says he will follow the law not make law. He says it is important for the party to weigh in with an endorsement, especially in obscure races.
(6:29 PM): Orange Mayor Pro Tem Fred Whitaker speaks of the legal community’s respect for Haskins. He notes that Haskins has been both a prosecutor and a defense attorney. He says Republicans believe in law and order and believe in liberty.
(6:31 PM): Irvine Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Lalloway says Haskins is someone we need on the bench. He acknowledges this blogger, and then he notes Haskins will be a good judge who will fairly apply the law. He notes that Haskins has the balance of the public and private sector.
(6:33 PM): Jeff Mathews asks if any of Haskins’s opponents have requested the endorsement. (None have.)
(6:34 PM): Peggy Huang asks how Haskins will handle the various arenas of law since judges do not necessarily get to choose their assignments.
(6:35 PM): Haskins responds about his time in private practice and his experience teaching law.
(6:35 PM): Huang asks about his LLM (Master of Laws) degree.
(6:35 PM): Haskins speaks about the breadth of academic legal experience he has.
(6:36 PM): Mark McCurdy asks about Haskins’s period of time as a decline-to-state.
(6:36 PM): Haskins says he was a decline-to-state because he started prosecuting high-profile sex crimes. He says during this time, he wanted to maintain neutrality and avert giving the defense any ammunition, so he registered decline-to-state. Haskins says as a candidate for judge that it is important that voters know he holds Republican viewpoints.
(6:39 PM): McCurdy asks about Haskins declining to answer most of the questions on the OCGOP questionnaire.
(6:40 PM): Haskins gives a lengthy discussion about judicial ethics preventing him from answering the questionnaire.
(6:41 PM): Thomas Gordon asks about Haskins’s perspective on the Second Amendment.
(6:42 PM): Haskins says judges are obligated to uphold the Constitution and laws. He says this includes the Second Amendment. He says he will obey U.S. Supreme Court rulings like Heller.
(6:43 PM): McCurdy asks about AB 109 prison realignment.
(6:44 PM): Haskins speaks about the detrimental effects of AB 109.
(6:45 PM): Huang moves and Young seconds a motion to recommend Haskins. The vote is unanimous to recommend the endorsement of Haskins to the Central Committee.
HASKINS RECOMMENDED UNANIMOUSLY.
SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE OFFICE #35
(6:45 PM): Chairman Bucher suggests that in the future, a separate judicial questionnaire be developed without the political questions that most candidates have to answer.
(6:46 PM): Senior Deputy District Attorney Jeff Ferguson speaks about his experience in the DA’s office, including clearing heavy felony backlogs with DNA collection and preparing the policies for AB 109 implementation. He speaks about his family. He’s lived in Orange County for 52 years. He went to UCI and was an assistant editor for the old OCGOP magazine. He worked on George Murphy and Ronald Reagan’s campaigns. Judge Jim Rogan encouraged Ferguson to run for judge.
(6:49 PM): Craig Alexander speaks about Ferguson’s experience and his CRA endorsement. He says Ferguson and Haskins will follow the law and not make law.
(6:50 PM): Adam Probolsky speaks in favor of neutrality because both candidates for the seat are good Republicans. He speaks about Carmen Luege’s experience and urges the committee stay neutral.
(6:51 PM): Carmen Luege speaks about fleeing Communist Cuba as a teenager. She learned English and about the Constitution in high school. She speaks about wanting to become a lawyer because of her awe of the American judicial system. She speaks about having been a federal prosecutor and now a Superior Court Commissioner.
(6:53 PM): Ferguson says he is endorsed by Congressman Ed Royce, the CRA, and several Assemblymembers. He speaks about having the respect of judges and attorneys, along with his background as a Republican volunteer.
(6:54 PM): Jeff Mathews asks if Luege is seeking the OCGOP endorsement.
(6:55 PM): Luege says she has missed the deadline, so she will not apply. She notes that she is endorsed by Senator Bob Huff and Mayor Steven Choi.
(6:56 PM): A procedural discussion breaks out.
(6:57 PM): Huang asks Ferguson the question she asked Haskins about various legal fields and judges’ assignments.
(6:58 PM): Ferguson speaks about his experience with various arenas of criminal law, including forfeitures. He says he worked in graphic design and journalism before becoming a lawyer, so he has had some experience dealing with non-criminal law.
(7:00 PM): Huang asks if Ferguson has any civil experience.
(7:00 PM): He compares forfeitures to civil cases.
(7:01 PM): Huang asks if he’s endorsed by any judges.
(7:01 PM): He lists nine judges by name and notes that he’s endorsed by various other judges.
(7:02 PM): Gordon asks if Luege will seek the endorsement.
(7:02 PM): She says she would apply for a late endorsement.
(7:04 PM): Gordon says he is inclined not to endorse anyone since the two Republicans are the only candidates in the race and that Luege will apply.
(7:05 PM): Huang agrees with Gordon and supports delaying until Luege’s application is in.
(7:05 PM): Bucher describes this as a likely case of two good Republicans running against each other, though he’d like to see Luege’s questionnaire to be sure. He predicts the committee will table and probably will stay neutral. He suggests the two candidates mutually agree to withdraw from the endorsement process.
(7:07 PM): Gordon moves and Huang seconds tabling until next month. The vote to table is unanimous.
SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE OFFICE #35 TABLED UNANIMOUSLY.
5TH SUPERVISORIAL DISTRICT
(7:08 PM): Robert Ming speaks about being Mayor and Councilmember in Laguna Niguel. Ming says it is important for the party to endorse in this race. He says it’s important for parties to stand for something to prevent registration erosion. He speaks about scoring 100% on the Liberty First scorecard while his two opponents scored in the 60s. He speaks of his efforts walking precincts and doing youth outreach.
(7:11 PM): Robert Hammond speaks about Ming’s efforts to help expose unfunded mandates at the OC Board of Education. He speaks of Ming’s efforts to help a citizen obtain field space with 24 hours after being contacted.
(7:12 PM): Lisa Bartlett notes she is running against Ming. She says she opposes the endorsement because there are three good Republicans who are fiscally conservative, believe in local control, and hold ACC-OC leadership positions. She urges neutrality.
(7:14 PM): Maribel Marroquin speaks about Robert Ming being the first elected official to speak to her youth outreach group and getting young people to become Republicans. She says young people view him as a mentor.
(7:15 PM): Frank Ury notes that he is running against Ming. He urges neutrality because there are three good Republicans. Ury speaks about having been OCGOP Local Elected Official of the Year and a Central Committee member. Ury speaks about his effort over the last 20 years on behalf of Republican causes and having had his blood drawn (figuratively) for conservative causes.
(7:17 PM): Ming says the three have distinct voting records. He says he is in the trenches and helping move the party forward. He says people in the trenches should be endorsed.
(7:18 PM): Mary Young says there is nothing she dislikes about Ming. She notes there are three good Republicans. She says Ury was very involved in the party in the past.
(7:19 PM): Peggy Huang asks Chris Emami about Liberty First.
(7:19 PM): Emami explains how it scored City Councilmembers on personal freedoms, property rights, and fiscal responsibility.
(7:20 PM): Huang asks Ming about why he formed ACC-OC.
(7:20 PM): Ming says they wanted to make good public policy that did not necessarily agree with policies advanced by the League of Cities.
(7:21 PM): Thomas Gordon thanks Ming for his efforts with Marroquin’s youth outreach group in Santa Ana because these efforts have forced Democrats to spend time trying to hold registration in Santa Ana.
(7:22 PM): Marroquin notes Ming is one of only three elected officials to actively help the youth outreach group.
(7:23 PM): Gordon asks about eminent domain.
(7:23 PM): Ming opposes it except for truly public purposes.
(7:24 PM): Mark McCurdy asks about redevelopment.
(7:24 PM): Ming says they do not have it in Laguna Niguel, and he generally opposes it. He would only support it in very limited circumstances with far greater oversight.
(7:25 PM): Gordon supports tabling the endorsement until next month to hear from all three candidates.
(7:26 PM): Huang agrees with Gordon.
(7:27 PM): Mathews agrees with Huang and Gordon.
(7:27 PM): Gordon moves and Young seconds tabling the endorsement. The tabling motion passes unanimously.
5TH SUPERVISORIAL DISTRICT TABLED UNANIMOUSLY.
(7:28 PM): Committee adjourns.