SD-37: Moorlach vs. Wagner – The Rematch
Posted by Chris Nguyen on January 5, 2016
Rumors had swirled for months that Assemblyman Don Wagner (R-Irvine) would challenge Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) for the 37th Senate District this year. 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, who had been elected to the United States House of Representatives.
Wagner has taken a very public step toward challenging Moorlach to a rematch in 2016. On December 7, Moorlach had submitted his application to the Republican Party of Orange County for an endorsement for re-election for the 37th Senate District. Then, yesterday, January 4, Wagner submitted his application for an OC GOP endorsement for the 37th Senate District.
Both applications will be considered at the OC GOP Central Committee meeting on January 18. The OC GOP states: “All Republican candidates running for election in [the 37th Senate District] are invited to participate in a candidate forum that will be held during the January Central Committee meeting. The meeting will begin at 7 PM.”
The format will be: “Each candidate will be allowed three (3) minutes to present why they should be endorsed. And, in keeping with tradition, we will allow three speakers in favor and three opposed to speak for one (1) minute. The candidate will be allowed one (1) minute to address any issues raised by opponents of the endorsement.”
Otherwise, it should be a quiet January 18 Central Committee meeting, with Congresswoman Mimi Walters, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, Congressman Darrell Issa, Assemblyman Bill Brough, and Assemblyman Matthew Harper all filed applications for endorsement of their respective re-elections in time for the January 4 application deadline for OC GOP endorsements for partisan seats in the Primary Election. Assemblywoman Ling-Ling Chang‘s bid for the 29th Senate District and Assemblywoman Young Kim‘s bid for re-election were already endorsed in December.
The OC GOP endorsement application deadline for nonpartisan seats in the Primary Election (County Supervisors and County Board of Education Trustees) is January 11, though Supervisor Andrew Do‘s bid for re-election was already endorsed in December.
An incumbent holding partisan office has not been denied the OC GOP endorsement since John Campbell fell one vote short of the 2/3 needed for an endorsement when John Webb challenged him (two of OC Political’s earliest posts).
In the March 2015 special election for the 37th Senate District, Wagner spent $493,000 while Moorlach spent $276,000. Despite this significant funding differential of nearly 2:1, Moorlach still won the Senate seat.
As of the June 30 campaign finance reports, Moorlach had $31,299.92 in cash-on-hand across two committees (Moorlach for Senate 2015 and Moorlach for Senate 2016) while Wagner had $84,416.71 cash-on-hand across three committees (Wagner for Senate 2016, Wagner for Assembly 2014, Wagner for Attorney General 2018).
Presumably, Democrat Louise Stewardson, who ran as a write-in candidate in March 2015 will file for the ballot in June 2016.
No word on if the hilarious Naz Namazi, “Naz, N-A-Z, Naz…a legal immigrant,” will be running again to challenge “a liar and a hypocrite” for this seat.