OC Political

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

Archive for January, 2018

Fountain Valley’s McCurdy Becomes 4th OC Councilman to Resign in 4 Months

Posted by Chris Nguyen on January 15, 2018

Mark McCurdy, Josh Wilson, Steve Hwangbo, Jerry Slusiewicz

Recently resigned City Councilmen Mark McCurdy (R-Fountain Valley), Josh Wilson (R-Los Alamitos), Steve Hwangbo (R-La Palma), and Jerry Slusiewicz (R-Laguna Niguel)

In a continuing exodus of Orange County’s City Councilmen, Mark McCurdy (R-Fountain Valley) resigned this afternoon, becoming OC’s fourth City Councilman to resign in as many months.  Josh Wilson (R-Los Alamitos) announced his resignation on October 30, Steve Hwangbo (R-La Palma) resigned on November 30, and Jerry Slusiewicz (R-Laguna Niguel) announced his resignation on December 7.

Running a few months ahead of this group of resignations, Bert Hack (D-Laguna Woods) resigned on May 23 after suffering a stroke, and the Laguna Woods City Council appointed Joe Rainey (R-Laguna Woods) to fill the remainder of his term, which expires in November.  Hack had served on the City Council since the founding of Laguna Woods in 1999.   Additionally, voters recalled Andrew Hamilton (R-Lake Forest) on January 2 and elected Tom Cagley (R-Lake Forest) to fill the remainder of his term, which expires in November.  Hamilton had been first elected to the Lake Forest City Council in 2014.

Today: Mark McCurdy of Fountain Valley

In an email released by the City, McCurdy cited a new job outside of the area, writing:

“At this time, I find it necessary to secure employment outside the area, and having no other option, to effective immediately, step down from my position serving on the City Council. It has been an honor to serve the citizens of Fountain Valley and, for that I will always be grateful.”

Just six weeks ago, McCurdy had been passed over for Mayor by his Council colleagues despite the Fountain Valley City Council’s long tradition of seniority dictating that it was McCurdy’s turn to be Mayor; he had similarly been passed over for Mayor Pro Tem the year before.   McCurdy had previously served as Mayor Pro Tem in 2012 and Mayor in 2013.  First elected to the Fountain Valley City Council in 2010, McCurdy had been the top vote-getter in 2014 (which broke his tie in seniority with Councilman Michael Vo, who became Mayor six weeks ago).

The Fountain Valley City Council will decide whether to appoint a replacement Councilmember or hold a special election to fill the remainder of McCurdy’s term, which expires in November.

October 2017: Josh Wilson of Los Alamitos

In October, Wilson resigned from the Los Alamitos City Council citing a new job as a credit union executive in Montana.  Wilson had been first elected to the Council just 11 months earlier when he had been the top vote-getter, surpassing two incumbents and unseating Councilman Dean Grose.  In a statement released by the City, Wilson said:

“Reaching the decision to leave Los Alamitos was difficult. I am sincerely appreciative of the community’s support and I am proud of my service to the city. I have the utmost confidence that Los Alamitos will continue to thrive under the leadership of the City Council and the dedication of the city staff.”

The Los Alamitos City Council appointed Mark Chirco (NPP-Los Alamitos) in December to replace Wilson.  Chirco will serve until the November election, when voters will elect a replacement to serve the remainder of Wilson’s term, which expires in 2020.

November 2017: Steve Hwangbo of La Palma

First elected in 2010, Hwangbo was the top vote-getter in his 2014 re-election to the La Palma City Council.  A rumored Republican candidate for the 65th Assembly District to challenge Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton), Mayor Pro Tem Hwangbo instead resigned from the City Council in November exactly one year to the day before term limits would have ended his Council service.  Hwangbo cited “personal reasons” according to a City press release.  He had been Mayor in 2013 and had been widely expected to become Mayor in 2018.  In an email to the Orange County Register, Hwango wrote:

“It was truly an honor and privilege to represent and serve fellow La Palma citizens for last seven years.”

The La Palma City Council appointed Kathy Flachmeier (NPP-La Palma) two weeks ago to replace Hwangbo.  She will be sworn into office tomorrow and will serve the remainder of Hwangbo’s term, which expires in November.

December 2017: Jerry Slusiewicz of Laguna Niguel

First elected to the Council in 2012, Slusiewicz had just been re-elected in 2016.  This year, Mayor Slusiewicz had challenged the legitimacy of a $410,000 contract overrun while he himself was accused of abusing his power as Mayor of Laguna Niguel to intimidate City staff and residents.  Consequently, the City Council threatened to remove Slusiewicz as Mayor.  Instead, he stepped down as Mayor in August but planned to remain on the Council.  However, in December, Slusiewicz resigned from the Laguna Niguel City Council after a bizarre incident in which his office window was damaged by an unknown object, possibly a bullet.  In a statement released by the City, Slusiewicz said:

“Serving the citizens of Laguna Niguel has always been a tremendous privilege and I am grateful to the taxpayers who twice elected me as their advocate. Yet my greatest commitment has always has been to my family and my highest honor serving as a husband and a father. Their safety is my top priority, and this has shaken us to the core. Considering the events of the last 48 hours, we have decided as a family that it would be unwise for me to remain on the City Council.”

Two weeks after Slusiewicz’s resignation, the Laguna Niguel City Council appointed former Mayor and current Orange County Board of Education Trustee Linda Lindholm (R-Laguna Niguel) to fill Slusiewicz’s seat until the November election, when voters will elect a replacement to serve the remainder of Slusiewicz’s term, which expires in 2020.  Planning to retire from public office by the end of 2018, Lindholm has already stated she will not be a candidate for either the Council seat or her Board of Education seat.

Posted in 65th Assembly District, Fountain Valley, La Palma, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Los Alamitos | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

BOE: Cavecche & Bilodeau Exploring Candidacies

Posted by Chris Nguyen on January 12, 2018

Carolyn Cavecche & Denis Bilodeau

Carolyn Cavecche and Denis Bilodeau

With Board of Equalization Chairwoman Diane Harkey (R-Dana Point) ending her BOE re-election bid in order to run for the 49th Congressional District seat after Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Vista) announced his decision not to seek re-election, former and current elected officials across Orange, San Diego, Riverside, and Imperial Counties are contemplating whether to launch bids to replace Harkey in the massive BOE district that covers 1/4 of California’s population.

Multiple sources inform OC Political that Orange County Taxpayers Association President and CEO Carolyn Cavecche (R-Orange) is examining whether she will launch a bid for BOE, the nation’s only elected tax board, since Harkey switched to CD-49.  Cavecche previously won a 2001 special election and 2002 regular election to the Orange City Council and then won three elections for Mayor of Orange in 2006, 2008, and 2010, terming out as Mayor in 2012.  Cavecche would bring a formidable ballot designation of “Taxpayer Association President,” “Taxpayer Association CEO,” or “Taxpayer Advocate.”  Harkey used “Taxpayer Advocate/Assemblywoman” as her ballot designation and defeated former Assemblymembers Van Tran and Shirley Horton.  My long-ago former employer, George Runner, won a hotly-contested BOE race in 2010 with a 10% margin of victory, using “Senator/Taxpayer Advocate” as his ballot designation, defeating Acting Equalization Board Member (and former Assemblywoman) Barbara Alby and former Assemblyman Alan Nakanishi.

Sources have also stated that Orange County Water District Board Member Denis Bilodeau (R-Orange) is pursuing a slate mailer strategy for the BOE race since Harkey switched to CD-49.  Bilodeau won two elections to the Orange City Council in 2006 and 2010, terming out of the Council in 2014.  He also won five elections to represent Orange, Villa Park, and portions of Tustin on the water board in 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016.  Bilodeau is also Orange County Supervisor Shawn Nelson’s Chief of Staff.  Bilodeau is reportedly making slate reservations for BOE, following the strategy that put Businessman/Corporate Controller Claude Parrish into the BOE seat in 1998.  Both of his successors, Michelle Steel and Diane Harkey, also used an aggressive slate strategy.

Former Councilman John F. Kelly (R-Tustin) had pulled papers to run against Harkey.  He won only 11% of the vote when he ran against her in 2014.  A former long-time tobacco shop owner, Kelly does have an odd boost in name ID now, thanks to White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly.  Former Tobacco Shop Owner Kelly served one term on the Tustin City Council from 1986-1990, having been elected to office at the age of 24 and defeated for re-election at the age of 28.  He also made an ill-fated bid for Congress in 1988 for the seat eventually won by Chris Cox (who was succeeded by John Campbell who was succeeded by Mimi Walters).  No word on if Kelly will continue his campaign, now that Harkey is out.

The four most recent people to have held this seat and their current positions are:

Harkey and Steel used the combined ballot designation and slates strategy to win the seat. In 2014, Harkey bought up most of the slates and used a ballot designation of “Taxpayer Advocate/Assemblywoman” to defeat former Assemblymembers Van Tran and Shirley Horton after forcing Senator Mark Wyland out of the race.  In 2006, Steel used a ballot designation of “Equalization Boardmember’s Deputy” and bought up most of the slates to defeat Assemblyman Ray Haynes.

With Cavecche holding down the best ballot designation, if Bilodeau does hoover up all the slates, this will be the most closely-contested BOE race since 1998.  Lacking a great ballot designation in 1998, Parrish bought up every possible slate to defeat the formidable ballot designation of “Equalization Boardmember’s Deputy” Craig Wilson.  Parrish beat Wilson by a tiny margin of 0.7%.

Posted in Board of Equalization, Orange, Orange County Water District | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Total Chaos: Harkey & Chavez Running for CD-49; Nelson, Kim, & Huff Running for CD-39; Who’s Running for BOE & AD-76?

Posted by Chris Nguyen on January 11, 2018

The unexpected announcements in a three-day period by Congressmen Ed Royce (R-Fullerton) and Darrell Issa (R-Vista) that they would not be running for re-election in two of the most hotly-contested Congressional seats in the country set off a game of musical chairs that has unleashed total chaos in the Southern California political world, particularly in Orange County and even in Los Angeles and San Diego Counties.

The Fast and the Furious

In a three-day span, two Congressional races, a Board of Equalization race, an Assembly race, and a supervisorial race were turned upside down.  Former and current elected officials have been switching campaigns faster than the speed of street racers living a quarter-mile at a time.

On Monday, Royce announced he would not be running for re-election in the 39th Congressional District.  The next evening, former Assemblywoman Young Kim (R-Fullerton) entered the CD-39 race the with Royce’s endorsement and dropped out of the race to succeed Fourth District Supervisor Shawn Nelson (R-Fullerton).  Less than 3 hours later, Nelson entered the race for CD-39, abandoning plans to wait for an open judicial seat.  Within 20 minutes of Nelson’s entry, former State Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar) entered the CD-39 race.

On Wednesday, Issa announced he would not be running for re-election in the 49th Congressional District.  Two hours later, Board of Equalization Chairwoman Diane Harkey (R-Dana Point) entered the CD-49 race with the endorsements of both Issa and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield), ending her re-election bid for the State Board of Equalization.  Four hours after Harkey’s entry, Assemblyman Rocky Chavez (R-Oceanside) entered the CD-49 race, ending his re-election bid for the 76th Assembly District.  Inexplicably, both the San Diego Union-Tribune and Los Angeles Times reported that Chavez was the first to enter the race despite Harkey announcing first.

The rapid Royce and Issa retirements set off so many rumors that Congressmen Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach) and Ken Calvert (R-Corona) both felt compelled to issue statements yesterday confirming that they were continuing their re-election campaigns.  Calvert said, “I look forward to campaigning in 2018 to represent the 42nd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives…” (full statement here). Rohrabacher said, “I am unequivocally running for re-election and confident that my views reflect the values and the needs of my constituents here in Orange County…” (full statement here).

The Hunger Games

Kim’s entry into the CD-39 race shook up the 4th Supervisorial District race to succeed Nelson, for she was the candidate with the highest name ID and largest warchest.  Harkey’s entry into the CD-49 race has now created a race for BOE that otherwise would have been a near-certain re-election for her.  Similarly, Chavez’s entry into CD-49 race has now created a race for AD-76 that otherwise would have been a probable re-election for him.

In all of this, it cannot be forgotten: CD-39 and CD-49 are both key swing seats that could help determine party control of the United States House of Representatives.  With that in mind, since the Democratic fields for both districts has stayed steady, we’re focusing on the completely-transformed Republican fields for both districts.

A picture (or flow chart) is worth 1,000 words for the first few days of our local version of The Hunger Games.  There can only be one victor in each seat, as various elected officials hope the odds are ever in their favor:

CD-39/CD-49 Flow Chart

49th Congressional District

I promise: no more gratuitous movie references in this blog post.  In the 49th Congressional District race to succeed Issa:

Board of Equalization Chairwoman Diane Harkey (R-Dana Point) represents all of CD-49, as her massive BOE district includes the entirety of Orange, San Diego, Imperial, and Riverside Counties, as well as portions of San Bernardino County.  She won one election to the Dana Point City Council and then three elections to the State Assembly representing portions of South Orange County and North San Diego County.   Harkey raised $600,000 for her BOE campaign.  She raised $259,000 for her 2012 Assembly re-election, $189,000 in 2010, and $299,000 in 2008.

Assemblyman Rocky Chavez represents 63% of CD-49 voters.  Of the 387,000 registered voters in CD-49, Chavez represents the 244,000 who reside in the AD-76 overlap with CD-49.  He won two elections to the Oceanside City Council and then three elections to the State Assembly representing North San Diego County.  In the most recent election in 2016, he made an awkward bid for US Senate, in which he dropped out live on air on KOGO-AM in the opening minutes of a Republican Senate debate.  He had raised $117,000 for his US Senate campaign.  Chavez raised $198,000 for his 2016 Assembly re-election, $256,000 in 2014, and $258,000 in 2012.

There are currently four Democrats running for CD-49, none of whom hold elected office, and three of whom have raised over $500,000 (and the fourth entered after the last campaign finance reporting period).  If no other Republican enters, and none of the Democrats drop out, it is entirely possible a CD-31 2012 scenario could play out, and we could see Harkey vs. Chavez in the November general election.  (CD-31 was a highly competitive swing seat in 2012, but Congressman Gary Miller and State Senate Republican Leader Bob Dutton faced off in the general election because four Democrats split the vote, allowing Miller and Dutton to slip into the top two spots.)

39th Congressional District

Here are excerpts of OC Political’s analysis from Tuesday in relation to Nelson, Huff, and Kim before their entries into the 39th Congressional District race to succeed Royce:

Supervisor Shawn Nelson represents 45% of the voters of the 39th Congressional District.  Of the 367,000 registered voters in CD-39, Nelson represents 166,000 of them, who reside in the 4th Supervisorial District’s overlap with CD-39.  Nelson has deep roots in the district, having grown up in Fullerton, graduated from high school there, and even graduating from law school there.  He’s also a member of countless civic organizations in CD-39.  Nelson won three elections to the Fullerton City Council and two to the Orange County Board of Supervisors (and raised the necessary money to wage those campaigns).  As it happens, he is termed out from the Board in 2018.

Former State Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff represented 71% of CD-39 voters, with 262,000 of the 367,000 CD-39 voters residing in SD-29, which Huff termed out of in 2016.  Huff won three elections to the Diamond Bar City Council, two to the State Assembly, and two to the State Senate.  Diamond Bar is the largest LA County city in CD-39.  Though he lost his bid for the LA County Board of Supervisors, there are less than 200 voters who are in the overlap between CD-39 and that supervisorial district.  As a former Senate Republican Leader, he’s certainly capable of raising funds for this seat.

Former Assemblywoman Young Kim represented 35% of CD-39 voters, with 95,000 of the 367,000 CD-39 voters residing in AD-65.  However, Kim also holds the unique distinction of having worked for Royce for nearly 20 years before her election to the Assembly.  She had been his Director of Community Relations and Asian Affairs.  In 2014, Kim defeated Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva’s re-election bid, but in 2016, Quirk-Silva avenged herself by defeating Kim’s re-election bid.  Kim is certainly familiar with what a swing seat campaign entails, with her sheer number of volunteers and staff.  She raised $2 million in each of her two Assembly campaigns.  Kim is currently in the midst of her bid to replace the termed out Nelson to represent the Fourth District on the Board of Supervisors.  If Kim switched to the Congressional race, it would leave La Habra Mayor Tim Shaw the sole Republican candidate facing off against Democrat Joe Kerr, a former long-time firefighters’ union president, for Supervisor (other Democrats running for the seat would presumably be eliminated by the voters in the June primary).

At the moment, there are six Democrats and two independents (though a seventh Democrat is reportedly looking at the seat).  Five of the Democrats have raised over $100,000 (one has hit $400,000), and four of them have self-funded in amounts ranging from $111,000-$2,000,000.  A CD-31 2012 scenario is tougher here than in CD-49 (though not out of the question) with three Republicans, six or seven Democrats, and two independents.  However, if one of the three Republicans drops out, a CD-31 2012 scenario becomes much more likely with that large Democratic Party field.

Board of Equalization

Lost in the Congressional races has been the fact that the Board of Equalization race is now wide open since Harkey will be running for CD-49 rather than seeking re-election.

Former Councilman John F. Kelly (R-Tustin) had pulled papers to run against Harkey.  He won only 11% of the vote when he ran against her in 2014.  A former long-time tobacco shop owner, Kelly does have an odd boost in name ID now, thanks to White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly.  Former Tobacco Shop Owner Kelly served one term on the Tustin City Council from 1986-1990, having been elected to office at the age of 24 and defeated for re-election at the age of 28.  He also made an ill-fated bid for Congress in 1988 for the seat eventually won by Chris Cox (who was succeeded by John Campbell who was succeeded by Mimi Walters).  No word on if Kelly will continue his campaign, now that Harkey is out.

Sources have stated that Orange County Water District Board Member Denis Bilodeau (R-Orange) is examining whether he will enter the BOE race since Harkey switched to CD-49.  Bilodeau won two elections to the Orange City Council, serving from 2006 to 2014, when he termed out.  He also won five elections to represent Orange, Villa Park, and portions of Tustin on the water board.  Bilodeau is also Shawn Nelson’s Chief of Staff at the Orange County Board of Supervisors.

76th Assembly District

Oceanside Councilman Jerry Kern was running for AD-76 in 2016 until withdrawing when Chavez dropped out of the US Senate race.  Kern is currently running for San Diego County Supervisor in the Fifth District but sources indicate he is preparing to switch back to AD-76 in 2018 since Chavez is now running for CD-49.  Kern had raised $184,000 for AD-76 in 2016 until Chavez’s return forced Kern out of the race.

Strangely, no Democrat has ever run for AD-76 since the implementation of the top two primary.  Chavez has only run against other Republicans for Assembly.

Posted in 39th Congressional District, 49th Congressional District, 4th Supervisorial District, Board of Equalization | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Quirk-Silva Denies Supervisorial Run in Response to Our Story: “Breaking News: Quirk-Silva to Run for Supervisor, Husband for Assembly”

Posted by Chris Nguyen on January 10, 2018

9:46 PM update: Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva denies our story, tweeting: “A lot of discussion about Congressional Seat 39, and 4th District Supervisor Seat, in OC.I am honored to get so many requests to run for Congress or Supervisor. A blog just posted false information that I am s [sic] candidate for Supervisor. I am running for re-election to

Reacting to this denial, two of our sources continue to insist that Quirk-Silva made a number of phone calls to potential donors and potential endorsers today about a Supervisorial run.

10:19 PM update: AD-65 challenger Alexandria Coronado responded to Quirk-Silva’s tweet: “it’s good 2 know u stand by your terrible gas tax vote, and want another 2 years to vote more – I am going to change that! ” and “Assembly, Congress, Supervisor, or any office you run for – the taxpayers will hold you responsible!

Original story below:


Sharon Quirk-Silva

Sharon Quirk-Silva

Multiple sources report to OC Political that Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton) is preparing to launch a bid for Fourth District Supervisor to succeed the termed out Shawn Nelson (R-Fullerton), who announced yesterday that he is running for the 39th Congressional District seat held by Ed Royce (R-Fullerton), who announced his retirement unexpectedly on Monday.  Quirk-Silva is entering the Fourth Supervisorial District race after former Assemblywoman Young Kim (R-Fullerton) left the race yesterday in order to run for Royce’s seat.  Former Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar) also entered the race for Royce’s seat yesterday.

No word yet on whether Quirk-Silva will clear the field of other Democrats running for Fourth District Supervisor: former firefighters’ union president Joe Kerr, La Habra Councilwoman Rose Espinoza, and La Habra School Board Member Cynthia Aguirre.  La Habra Mayor Tim Shaw remains the sole Republican candidate, but rumors abound of other potential Republican candidates.

Fewer (but still multiple) sources also report that Councilman Jesus Silva (D-Fullerton) will run to replace his wife in the 65th Assembly District.  Silva’s council seat expires in 2020, so if he wins the AD-65 swing seat, the Fullerton Council will appoint his replacement, but if he loses the AD-65 race, then he remains on the Council for at least two more years.  Former Orange County Board of Education President Dr. Alexandria Coronado (R-Cypress) is the only Republican running for AD-65.

Posted in 39th Congressional District, 4th Supervisorial District, 65th Assembly District | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Breaking News: Shawn Nelson to Take on Young Kim for CD-39 Republican Mantle

Posted by Chris Nguyen on January 9, 2018

Cross-posted to OC Daily…

Shawn Nelson

Shawn Nelson

Less than 36 hours after Congressman Ed Royce (R-Fullerton) unexpectedly announced his retirement after 13 terms in Congress, there are now two major Republican candidates to succeed him in the 39th Congressional District: former Assemblywoman Young Kim (R-Fullerton) who announced her bid early tonight and Supervisor Shawn Nelson (R-Fullerton) who announced his bid late tonight to City News Service.

As OC Political noted this morning in our analysis of potential candidates for CD-39:

Supervisor Shawn Nelson represents 45% of the voters of the 39th Congressional District.  Of the 367,000 registered voters in CD-39, Nelson represents 166,000 of them, who reside in the 4th Supervisorial District’s overlap with CD-39.  Nelson has deep roots in the district, having grown up in Fullerton, graduated from high school there, and even graduating from law school there.  He’s also a member of countless civic organizations in CD-39.  Nelson won three elections to the Fullerton City Council and two to the Orange County Board of Supervisors (and raised the necessary money to wage those campaigns).  As it happens, he is termed out from the Board in 2018.

Conventional wisdom would have Republicans coalesce behind one candidate.  However, with the top-two primary, having both Kim and Nelson could work (assuming that obscure La Mirada Councilman Andrew Sarega pulls out and perennial candidate John Cullum does not jump in; I would note La Mirada is not in CD-39).

In CD-31 in 2012, with four Democrats and two Republicans running, the top-two primary allowed Congressman Gary Miller and State Senator Bob Dutton to advance to an all-Republican run-off in a tough swing seat.  In CD-39 in 2018, there are currently six Democrats running.

Posted in 39th Congressional District | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Breaking News: Young Kim Enters CD-39 Race with Royce Endorsement

Posted by Chris Nguyen on January 9, 2018

Young Kim

Young Kim

Cross-posted to OC Daily…

Less than 36 hours after Congressman Ed Royce (R-Fullerton) unexpectedly announced his retirement after 13 terms in Congress, former Assemblywoman Young Kim (R-Fullerton) has entered the race to succeed Royce and dropped out of the race to succeed termed out Supervisor Shawn Nelson (R-Fullerton).

As OC Political noted this morning in our analysis of potential candidates for CD-39:

Former Assemblywoman Young Kim represented 35% of CD-39 voters, with 95,000 of the 367,000 CD-39 voters residing in AD-65.  However, Kim also holds the unique distinction of having worked for Royce for nearly 20 years before her election to the Assembly.  She had been his Director of Community Relations and Asian Affairs.  In 2014, Kim defeated Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva’s re-election bid, but in 2016, Quirk-Silva avenged herself by defeating Kim’s re-election bid.  Kim is certainly familiar with what a swing seat campaign entails, with her sheer number of volunteers and staff.  She raised $2 million in each of her two Assembly campaigns.  Kim is currently in the midst of her bid to replace the termed out Nelson to represent the Fourth District on the Board of Supervisors.  If Kim switched to the Congressional race, it would leave La Habra Mayor Tim Shaw the sole Republican candidate facing off against Democrat Joe Kerr, a former long-time firefighters’ union president, for Supervisor (other Democrats running for the seat would presumably be eliminated by the voters in the June primary).

The switch to Congress was so quick that Kim’s campaign committee does not yet have a Federal Election Commission (FEC) ID number, as seen by the disclaimer at the bottom of her web site:

Paid for by Young Kim for Congress. FEC ID# C00XXXXXX

In endorsing Kim, Royce said:

“We have an opportunity to elect an outstanding community leader to Congress – Young Kim. I can attest to Young’s dedication and abilities because she worked for me for almost 20 years, serving as a key advisor and community liaison. She knows our district, its people and its needs. She is a tireless and dedicated public servant. In Congress, Young will be an effective voice for middle class families and for policies that keep our country secure, grow jobs and increase economic opportunities for the people of our 39th district.”

The question now is: will Kim clear the field of any other Republicans, or will another formidable Republican jump in?  Conventional wisdom would have Republicans coalesce behind one candidate.  However, with the top-two primary, there is a scenario where two Republican candidates could work well.

In CD-31 in 2012, with four Democrats and two Republicans running, the top-two primary allowed Congressman Gary Miller and State Senator Bob Dutton to advance to an all-Republican run-off in a tough swing seat.  In CD-39 in 2018, there are currently six Democrats running.

Posted in 39th Congressional District, 4th Supervisorial District | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

CD-39: Which Republican Will Run for Ed Royce’s Seat?

Posted by Chris Nguyen on January 9, 2018

Cross-posted to OC Daily…

Congressman Ed Royce (R-Fullerton)

Congressman Ed Royce (R-Fullerton)

A political earthquake shook Orange County yesterday afternoon when Congressman Ed Royce (R-Fullerton) unexpectedly announced that he would not be running for re-election this year.  First elected to the California State Senate in 1982 and to the United States House of Representatives in 1992, Royce is the longest currently-serving elected official in partisan office in Orange County (and the third-longest currently-serving elected official in the County as a whole*).

There is a running joke in political circles that there must be Royce is secretly twins or triplets because of his ability to be in two or three places at once in his district.  Royce always kept a jam-packed calendar whenever he was returned to the district from Washington, DC.  His hard work in the district managed to allow him to win by double-digit margins in this swing district.  He developed his work ethic from his first election when he won a swing seat in the State Senate.  In every campaign for re-election to Congress, Royce would set up one of the largest campaign apparatuses in Orange County.  Royce also currently has the largest campaign warchest in Orange County, standing at $3.5 million.

So significant is Royce’s strength in the district that when he announced his retirement yesterday, the Cook Political Report moved CD-39 from “Leans Republican” to “Leans Democrat” skipping the “Toss Up” label entirely.

With the unexpected retirement of Royce, an Orange County political institution for over a quarter of a century, North Orange County and Southern Los Angeles County politicians (and perhaps some Chino Hills politicians) from both parties are scrambling to determine if they can run a viable campaign for this seat and if they’re willing to give up their existing seats in 2018.  While six Democrats were challenging Royce for CD-39, none have ever held elected office, so Democrats in elected office in CD-39 are now likely examining the chance to go for an unexpectedly open CD-39.  No Republican elected official was looking at CD-39 since Royce was expected to run for re-election.  Today, let’s look at the Republicans:

Shawn Nelson, Michelle Steel, Bob Huff, Phillip Chen, Ling-Ling Chang, Young Kim

Supervisor Shawn Nelson, Supervisor Michelle Steel, Former Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff, Assemblyman Phillip Chen, Former Assemblywoman Ling-Ling Chang, Former Assemblywoman Young Kim

  • Supervisor Shawn Nelson represents 45% of the voters of the 39th Congressional District.  Of the 367,000 registered voters in CD-39, Nelson represents 166,000 of them, who reside in the 4th Supervisorial District’s overlap with CD-39.  Nelson has deep roots in the district, having grown up in Fullerton, graduated from high school there, and even graduating from law school there.  He’s also a member of countless civic organizations in CD-39.  Nelson won three elections to the Fullerton City Council and two to the Orange County Board of Supervisors (and raised the necessary money to wage those campaigns).  As it happens, he is termed out from the Board in 2018.(The Supervisor who represents the second largest chunk of CD-39 behind Nelson is LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn, representing 82,000 CD-39 voters, or 22% of the district.  Considering that Hahn just left a safe Democratic Congressional district in 2016 to run for Supervisor, there is zero chance she runs for this seat.  Todd Spitzer, Curt Hagman, Hilda Solis, and Michelle Park Steel split the remainder, and no one expects Spitzer, Hagman, or Solis to run for this seat.)
  • Supervisor Michelle Park Steel is well-known in the large Korean-American community in CD-39 as well as in the district’s large Asian-American community.  She represented the Orange County and San Bernardino County portions of CD-39 when she won two elections to the State Board of Equalization.  Additionally, she is one of Orange County’s most prolific fundraisers and would have little trouble raising the significant sums of money needed to wage a campaign in one of the nation’s top swing seats.  (Of course, millions of dollars will pour into this seat on both sides, from IEs/SuperPACs, DCCC, NRCC, DNC, RNC, but it always helps when the candidate can raise significant sums.)  To run for CD-39, Steel would have to abandon her bid for re-election to the 2nd Supervisorial District, setting off a scramble for that seat.
  • Former State Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff represented 71% of CD-39 voters, with 262,000 of the 367,000 CD-39 voters residing in SD-29, which Huff termed out of in 2016.  Huff won three elections to the Diamond Bar City Council, two to the State Assembly, and two to the State Senate.  Diamond Bar is the largest LA County city in CD-39.  Though he lost his bid for the LA County Board of Supervisors, there are less than 200 voters who are in the overlap between CD-39 and that supervisorial district.  As a former Senate Republican Leader, he’s certainly capable of raising funds for this seat.
  • Assemblyman Phillip Chen represents 61% of CD-39 voters, with 225,000 of the 367,000 CD-39 voters also residing in AD-55.  Prior to his election to the Assembly, Chen won two elections to Diamond Bar’s Walnut Valley School Board.  Chen raised several hundred thousand dollars in his unsuccessful 2014 bid for AD-55 and his successful 2016 bid for AD-55.  However, Chen would be giving up a safe Assembly seat for a swing seat in Congress.  Chen is an Assemblyman because his predecessor gave up this safe Assembly seat for a swing seat in the State Senate.  Chen switching to CD-39 would also set off a scramble for AD-55.
  • Speaking of Chen’s predecessor, former Assemblywoman Ling-Ling Chang represented the same 61% of CD-39 that Chen does.  71% of CD-39 voters may recall Chang’s bid for SD-29 in 2016, when she narrowly lost to now-Senator Josh Newman.  Before her 2014 election to the Assembly, Chang won one election to the Walnut Valley Water Board and two elections to the Diamond Bar City Council.  She raised several hundred thousand dollars in her successful 2014 bid for AD-55 and a whopping $3 million in her unsuccessful 2016 bid for SD-29.  Chang grew up in Diamond Bar and is a graduate of Diamond Bar High School.  Chang is currently in the midst of her bid to be the replacement if Newman is recalled on June 5.  If Chang switched to the Congressional race, it would leave Fullerton Councilman Bruce Whitaker the leading Republican replacement candidate for Newman.  While legally possible to run in both the recall and the Congressional race, it is politically impossible to do so.
  • Former Assemblywoman Young Kim represented 35% of CD-39 voters, with 95,000 of the 367,000 CD-39 voters residing in AD-65.  However, Kim also holds the unique distinction of having worked for Royce for nearly 20 years before her election to the Assembly.  She had been his Director of Community Relations and Asian Affairs.  In 2014, Kim defeated Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva’s re-election bid, but in 2016, Quirk-Silva avenged herself by defeating Kim’s re-election bid.  Kim is certainly familiar with what a swing seat campaign entails, with her sheer number of volunteers and staff.  She raised $2 million in each of her two Assembly campaigns.  Kim is currently in the midst of her bid to replace the termed out Nelson to represent the Fourth District on the Board of Supervisors.  If Kim switched to the Congressional race, it would leave La Habra Mayor Tim Shaw the sole Republican candidate facing off against Democrat Joe Kerr, a former long-time firefighters’ union president, for Supervisor (other Democrats running for the seat would presumably be eliminated by the voters in the June primary).

Let the games begin!

 

*The longest-serving elected official currently in office in Orange County is Orange County Water District Director Phil Anthony was elected to the Westminster City Council in 1962, Mayor in 1972, County Supervisor in 1976, and water board in 1981, where he’s been ever since.  In second place is Westminster Councilwoman Margie Rice, who was elected to the School Board in 1977, City Council in 1994, Mayor in 2000, and back to the City Council in 2012.

A notable mention is Coast Community College District Trustee Jerry Patterson was elected to the Santa Ana City Council in 1968, Mayor in 1972, and Congress in 1974, but he had a hiatus from elected office from 1984 (when he lost his Congressional seat to Bob Dornan) to 2000 (when he won his current college board seat).  Patterson was elected before Rice and Royce, but his long hiatus places him behind them for years in office.

Posted in 39th Congressional District | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Recall Certified

Posted by Brenda Higgins on January 5, 2018

Secretary of State Alex Padilla today, certified enough signatures such that the recall of Senator Josh Newman may proceed.

Josh Newman was elected in a nail biter of a race against Ling Ling Chang in the 29th State Senate district in November 2016. Josh Newman voted with his party, the Democrat super majority, in pushing forward a new gas and vehicle licensing tax that has prompted voter outrage.

Republican activist Carl DeMaio form San Diego, rallied that anger into a move to recall the Freshman senator from Orange County. The recall of Senator Newman will not make any affirmative change to the gas tax, and that has been a large part of the Newman opposition messaging. People who signed the recall petitions have said that they were not aware it was for the recall of the Senator but believed that the petition they were signing would in fact repeal the gas tax. In spite of some disgruntled signers of those petitions, still, today, according to the California Secretary of State, there are enough valid signatures for it to proceed.
The governor will need to schedule a Special Election to determine 1) if Josh Newman will be recalled and 2) If recalled, whom will replace him. Thus far, Newman has had his campaign in motion for many months to combat the recall and fight for re-election. So far, Fullerton Mayor, Bruce Whitaker and Newman’s former opponent, Ling Ling Chang, are the prominent Republicans poised to challenge him. The election could proceed as early as March, but will likely be consolidated with the primary in June.

 

Posted in 29th Senate District, Fullerton, La Habra, Orange County, Placentia, State Senate, Yorba Linda | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »