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A Closer Look at SD-37: Newport-Mesa Delivered Nearly All of Moorlach’s Margin of Victory Over Wagner

Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 23, 2015

The Registrar of Voters certified the 37th Senate District Special Election on Friday night, John Moorlach took the oath of office yesterday afternoon, and he will be on the Senate Floor at his desk for the first time at 2:00 PM today while Don Wagner will be back on the Assembly Floor at 12:00 PM today.

We’ve all seen the official results districtwide, with Moorlach avoiding a runoff by 199 votes:

STATE SENATOR 37th District, Short Term
Completed Precincts: 248 of 248
Vote Count Percentage
JOHN M. W. MOORLACH (REP) 38,125 50.3%
DONALD P. WAGNER (REP) 33,411 44.0%
NAZ NAMAZI (REP) 2,621 3.5%
Louise Stewardson (W) 1,696 2.2%

 

Besides both being conservative Republican legislators from Orange County, there’s something else Moorlach and Wagner have in common: their most recent constituents like them.  In the 37th Senate District special election, Moorlach won the 2nd Supervisorial District while Wagner won the 68th Assembly District.  Turnout in the 2nd Supervisorial District was 16.8% while turnout in the 68th Assembly District was 15.0%.

Winner by City in the 37th Senate District Special Election

Winner by city or unincorporated area in the 37th Senate District Special Election.  (Note: the sizes of their heads have nothing to do with their vote margin in that community, it’s just the geographic size of the community that did it.  Laguna Woods and Laguna Beach are very oddly-shaped cities.)

The 68th, the 2nd, and Neutral Territory

In the 68th Assembly District (Anaheim Hills, Lake Forest, Orange, Tustin, Villa Park, and the northeastern 1/3 of Irvine), Wagner defeated Moorlach by almost the identical percentage (5.3%) that Moorlach beat Wagner overall in the 37th Senate District (6.3%).  (For those who care to an incredible level of detail, the charts are near the bottom of this post.)

In the 2nd Supervisorial District (Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, and Newport Beach), Moorlach beat Wagner by a whopping 20.6%.

In the neutral territory outside the 68th and the 2nd (Laguna Beach, Laguna Woods, and the southwestern 2/3 of Irvine), Wagner defeated Moorlach by a large 18.5% margin.  (To add insult to injury for Naz Namazi, write-in candidate Louise Stewardson beat her in these areas.)  In a testament to how fed up voters were with negative campaigning, it was in these areas where Stewardson and Namazi did the best, getting a combined 8.9% here as opposed to 5.4% in the 2nd and 4.5% in the 68th since there was no “favorite son” candidate in these areas.

Moorlach’s Newport Beach-Costa Mesa Landslide

Moorlach’s margin of victory in his hometown of Costa Mesa was a whopping 25.4% (1,712 votes) and in Newport Beach, it was an even larger 27.9% (2,996 votes).

Costa Mesa and Newport Beach combined to give Moorlach 4,708 more votes than Wagner.  Districtwide, Moorlach defeated Wagner by 4,714 votes.  In other words, without Costa Mesa and Newport Beach, Moorlach would have been ahead of Wagner by just 6 votes, and obviously, there would have been a run-off.

Moorlach also held on to the other 2nd District city, Huntington Beach, by a margin of 7.3% (599 votes).

Moorlach Won Portions of the 68th While Holding All of the 2nd

There were three critical areas where Moorlach broke into Wagner’s home turf: Anaheim Hills, Villa Park, and Silverado.  Had Wagner been able to stop the Moorlach incursion into those three areas of the 68th Assembly District, there would have been a run-off.

The Anaheim Hills votes are interesting in that Moorlach beat Wagner by 76 votes in Anaheim Hills overall, but Wagner beat Moorlach by 7 votes in the 39th Congressional District.  The only portions of the 39th Congressional District that overlap with SD-37 are in Anaheim Hills.  Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait endorsed Moorlach and did a robocall for him.  Congressman Ed Royce endorsed Wagner, did a robocall for him, and was listed on Wagner’s mail as an endorser.

It appears Tait managed to push Anaheim Hills out of the 68th District’s generally pro-Wagner voting pattern, but Royce was able to push his Congressional District back into Wagner’s column.  This war of endorsements from popular elected officials and of campaign mail probably explains why Anaheim Hills was the closest city in the entire district.  (We can rule out most precinct walking operations since the “Hills” name is very, very apt compared to the rest of the relatively flat SD-37.)

Moorlach was endorsed in Villa Park by Mayor Rick Barnett, Councilman Bill Nelson, Councilman Robert Collacott, and former Councilwoman Deborah Pauly.  Wagner was endorsed in Villa Park by Councilman Greg Mills and Councilwoman Diana Fascinelli.  Pauly ran Moorlach’s ground operations, which caused Villa Park to buck the trend of the 68th District backing Wagner.

I have no explanation for Silverado.

Moorlach Won the Liberal Pockets of SD-37

In spite of all the union independent expenditures against Moorlach and/or for Wagner, Moorlach actually won the liberal City of Laguna Beach and the flag-banning precincts of UC Irvine.

Tables Galore

STATE SENATOR 37th District, Short Term
68th Assembly District Precincts
Vote Count Percentage
DONALD P. WAGNER (REP) 17,213 50.4%
JOHN M. W. MOORLACH (REP) 15,418 45.1%
NAZ NAMAZI (REP) 1,192 3.5%
Louise Stewardson (W) 360 1.0%

 

STATE SENATOR 37th District, Short Term
2nd Supervisorial District Precincts
Vote Count Percentage
JOHN M. W. MOORLACH (REP) 15,633 57.6%
DONALD P. WAGNER (REP) 10,030 37.0%
NAZ NAMAZI (REP) 815 3.0%
Louise Stewardson (W) 651 2.4%

 

STATE SENATOR 37th District, Short Term
Excluding 68th Assembly District and 2nd Supervisorial District Precincts
Vote Count Percentage
DONALD P. WAGNER (REP) 7,963 54.8%
JOHN M. W. MOORLACH (REP) 5,279 36.3%
Louise Stewardson (W) 685 4.7%
NAZ NAMAZI (REP) 614 4.2%

 

STATE SENATOR 37th District, Short Term
Costa Mesa Precincts
Vote Count Percentage
JOHN M. W. MOORLACH (REP) 3,979 59.1%
DONALD P. WAGNER (REP) 2,267 33.7%
NAZ NAMAZI (REP) 254 3.8%
Louise Stewardson (W) 234 3.5%

 

STATE SENATOR 37th District, Short Term
Newport Beach Precincts
Vote Count Percentage
JOHN M. W. MOORLACH (REP) 6,651 61.9%
DONALD P. WAGNER (REP) 3,655 34.0%
NAZ NAMAZI (REP) 263 2.4%
Louise Stewardson (W) 177 1.7%

 

STATE SENATOR 37th District, Short Term
Excluding Costa Mesa and Newport Beach Precincts
Vote Count Percentage
JOHN M. W. MOORLACH (REP) 27,495 47.1%
DONALD P. WAGNER (REP) 27,489 47.1%
NAZ NAMAZI (REP) 2,104 3.6%
Louise Stewardson (W) 1,285 2.2%

 

STATE SENATOR 37th District, Short Term
Huntington Beach Precincts
Vote Count Percentage
JOHN M. W. MOORLACH (REP) 4,188 50.6%
DONALD P. WAGNER (REP) 3,589 43.3%
NAZ NAMAZI (REP) 264 3.2%
Louise Stewardson (W) 240 2.9%

 

STATE SENATOR 37th District, Short Term
Anaheim Hills Precincts
Vote Count Percentage
JOHN M. W. MOORLACH (REP) 2,579 48.4%
DONALD P. WAGNER (REP) 2,503 46.9%
NAZ NAMAZI (REP) 205 3.8%
Louise Stewardson (W) 46 0.9%

 

STATE SENATOR 37th District, Short Term
Villa Park Precincts
Vote Count Percentage
JOHN M. W. MOORLACH (REP) 651 60.8%
DONALD P. WAGNER (REP) 396 37.0%
NAZ NAMAZI (REP) 23 2.2%
Louise Stewardson (W) 0 0.0%

 

STATE SENATOR 37th District, Short Term
Silverado Precincts
Vote Count Percentage
JOHN M. W. MOORLACH (REP) 35 58.3%
DONALD P. WAGNER (REP) 21 35.0%
NAZ NAMAZI (REP) 3 5.0%
Louise Stewardson (W) 1 1.7%

 

Random Trivia Not Worth a Separate Post

For anybody wondering, Moorlach will be seated in the front row on the Senate Floor and will be seatmates with Cathleen Galgiani (D-Stockton).  Moorlach will be one of only two Republicans with a Democrat as a seatmate: the other bipartisan pair of seatmates are Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres) and Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo).  Moorlach will be diagonally seated from his old colleague of eight years on the Board of Supervisors, Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove), whose seatmate is their eight-year colleague on the Board of Supervisors, Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel).

Moorlach Seat in the Senate

16 Responses to “A Closer Look at SD-37: Newport-Mesa Delivered Nearly All of Moorlach’s Margin of Victory Over Wagner”

  1. *Thanks Chris…..excellent report from top to bottom.

  2. Allan Bartlett said

    The analysis is good Chris, but the bobbleheaded Moorlach Wagner map is awesome.

  3. Greg Diamond said

    I agree with my colleagues above —great job. But, as I recall, the vast majority of Anaheim Hills’s territory is in Mimi Walters’s CD-45, right?

    • Thanks for the kind words. On the Congressional Districts, Anaheim Hills is roughly 3/4 Walters’s CD-45 and 1/4 Royce’s CD-39.

      • Speaking of that portion of Anaheim, I think that you missed what is perhaps the biggest story in the election from a data geek’s perspective. Moorlach won only one of the four Supervisorial districts that make up SD-37. Wagner won the other three, and in one of them — I am not making this up, you can check it out — Louise Stewardson beat out Moorlach for second place!

        (This public service announcement has been brought to you by the Department of “Cute but Not Actually as Big a Deal as It Seems.”)

      • P.S. Orange Juice Blog has good readership in Silverado. Not that that’s necessarily the explanation; just saying.

  4. OCInsider#33 said

    And even though Moorlach won by a whooping 76 votes in Anaheim, (there goes the Tait as savior argument out the window), John did not manage to break the 50% line in Anaheim which was really the finish line in this election. Newport Beach was the force in this election.

    • Anaheim, without Tait’s endorsement and its accoutrements, would probably have gone the way of the rest of AD-68. That’s not merely 50.4 to 45.1% for Wagner, by the way, because those numbers include the Anaheim results. (Note that Chris lists them as “Anaheim Hills” which is not strictly accurate, as it’s Anaheim east of the 57 plus a little southwest of the 57-91 interchange, but no harm done.) Subtract those out 2,579 JM to 2,503 DW numbers and rather than 17,213 to 15,418 in AD-68 you get 14,710 to 12,839 — a pro-Wagner margin of 53.4% to 46.6% for Wagner. So that’s the best estimate for Anaheim without Tait.

      So we’re talking about Moorlach going from 1.5% lead in Anaheim to a 6.8% deficit — a change of 8.3%. Anaheim had 5,414 votes, so that’s about 1/12 of them, or 451 votes. (Or it’s only 225 votes switching if you want to pretend that everyone would have still voted and only for one of the front-runners.) This of course discounts any impact that Tait’s endorsement would have had in Tustin, Orange, and elsewhere — as well as, more fundamentally, that Moorlach says that it was Tait who recruited him into the race in the first place.

      I realize that some people — especially, for some strange reason, ones posting anonymously — have a deep need to discount Tait’s role in Moorlach’s victory. Tait is probably too polite to do so himself — but I suspect that Moorlach is laughing at you.

  5. […] A Closer Look at SD-37: Newport-Mesa Delivered Nearly All of Moorlach’s Margin of Victory Over… […]

  6. Robert Stanford said

    Conventional wisdom would dictate that Moorlach’s superior name. recognition played a big part. Maybe not as significant as Silverado Canyons blog readership, but certainly a factor.

  7. […]  Former Supervisor Moorlach had defeated Assemblyman Wagner for the seat just ten months ago by a margin of 50.3%-44.0% in the March 2015 special election to complete the unexpired term of State Senator Mimi Walters, […]

  8. […]  Former Supervisor Moorlach had defeated Assemblyman Wagner for the seat just ten months ago by a margin of 50.3%-44.0% in the March 2015 special election to complete the unexpired term of State Senator Mimi Walters, […]

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