OC Political

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

Live from OC GOP Central Committee: Endorsements for CD-49, SD-29, and AD-65

Posted by Chris Nguyen on February 26, 2018

We’re live from the OC GOP Central Committee meeting, where three endorsements are being considered:

The Coronado endorsement for the 65th Assembly District is expected to be fairly quick since Coronado is the sole Republican challenging incumbent Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton).

Harkey’s endorsement request for CD-49 and Chang’s endorsement request for SD-29 will be hotly contested, as Assemblyman Rocky Chavez (R-Oceanside) and Supervisor Kristin Gaspar (R-Encinitas) are both running for CD-49 while Councilman Bruce Whitaker (R-Fullerton) is also running for SD-29. Harkey and Chang are on the agenda because a majority of the members of Central Committee signed their petitions to have their endorsement requests heard. In order to actually be endorsed requires a 2/3 vote of the Central Committee.

Gaspar had emailed Central Committee members asking to meet with them individually earlier this month. Michael Schwartz, a San Diego County Second Amendment advocate, had distributed flyers at last week’s Central Committee meeting assailing Gaspar’s record on guns and her campaign contributions. Gaspar responded today with an email arguing the OC GOP should not endorse one Republican over another, noting her success in unseating a sitting Democrat from the Board of Supervisors in a district Hillary Clinton won by 20%, and stating that she is “pro Second Amendment, pro life and as a lifelong Republican I do not contribute to Democrat candidates” along with a link to the opensecrets.org entry for donations by Gaspar, which shows numerous donations to the Republican Party of San Diego County and one each to Congresswoman Mimi Walters and State Senator Bill Morrow. Schwartz responded to Gaspar’s email with an email arguing that the Supervisor Gaspar defeated “had looming employee, sexual harassment, and campaign finance issues” and was easily beatable, that she voted to support a gun ban while she was on the City Council, and listed one contribution to Pedro Nava, six contributions from her company to Democrats at the State and local levels, and her husband’s numerous contributions.

(For those of you subscribed to our posts via email, please visit our web site and hit refresh on this post for updates throughout the meeting. Our software only sends emails for the initial posting.)

7:00 PM: Chairman Fred Whitaker calls the meeting to order and gives the invocation.

7:01 PM: Colin Edwards leads the Pledge of Allegiance.

7:02 PM: Roll call is taken, with 50 people present, far beyond quorum requirements.

7:07 PM: Yorba Linda Mayor Gene Hernandez swears in three new alternates as well as Newport Beach Councilman Will O’Neill, who was appointed to the Central Committee last meeting to fill a vacancy.

65TH ASSEMBLY DISTRICT

7:09 PM: Baron Night moves and Municipal Water District of Orange County Board Member Brett Barbre seconds endorsing Alexandria Coronado.

7:10 PM: There is no debate, and ALEXANDRIA CORONADO IS ENDORSED UNANIMOUSLY FOR THE 65TH ASSEMBLY DISTRICT.

49TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

7:11 PM: Next up is the endorsement request of Diane Harkey for the 49th Congressional District.

7:12 PM: Each CD-49 candidate is given 3 minutes to speak. Gaspar is not present because she is preparing for her State of the County address tomorrow, according to her campaign manager, Bill Christiansen. Chavez did not send a representative.

Board of Equalization Chairwoman Diane Harkey speaks first, thanks to the alphabet (and the absence of Chavez and Gaspar). Harkey notes how well the Central Committee knows her. She states she is the only candidate who represents all of CD-49, as she is their Board of Equalization member. She notes she is the first Republican Board of Equalization Chair in 15 years. She speaks of regulatory reform and legislative changes she pursued from the Board of Equalization. She speaks of her electoral history with Dana Point City Council, State Assembly, and State Board of Equalization. She says Congressman Darrell Issa called her and asked her to run before he announced his plans to retire. She initially told him she did not want to run. However, after further consideration, she felt the seat was too important to not seek it. She spoke of her efforts to help other Republican candidates.

San Juan Capistrano Mayor Pro Tem Brian Maryott says he will seek the endorsement if the endorsement is still available after tonight. He notes that he recently retired from the financial services industry. He states he took a day to decide to run for Congress after Issa announced his retirement. He wants to make the biggest impact possible in public service. He wants his three children (14, 10, and 3 years old) to live in a free country with the ability to succeed and prosper. He was also a legislative staffer for three years.

Mike Schmitt is a doctor. He says he is “a statesman, not a politician.” He says he is the only candidate who has worked directly with Congress. He speaks of funding three trips to Iraq while ISIS reigned there. He says he is a patron of conservative groups that lobby Congress. He says he is the only candidate with full-time work in health care and says he is the most educated person in the race. He says health care and national security are the key themes of his campaign. He says he is the best candidate of either party. He says the voters should choose who is the candidate. He says he is “a streetfighter.”

Joshua Schoonover is a patent attorney from Carlsbad. He says he believes the other candidates are unable to earn the Republican vote. He says he is “young, new, and different.” He says “the same old, same old” is too much of a risk. He wants to debate the other candidates. He wants an informed decision. He says the OC GOP should have a candidate forum/debate jointly with the San Diego County GOP.

7:25 PM: Former Assemblyman Chris Norby asks if the candidates will “respect state’s rights” on marijuana.

Harkey says, “the train has left the station” on marijuana legalization. She says she has experience with marijuana regulations from the Board of Equalization. She wants to ensure law enforcement has adequate resources.

Schoonover says he wants marijuana removed from DEA enforcement and handed to ATF regulation instead. He believes in individual freedom.

Maryott opposes marijuana legalization. He does support allowing medical labs to extract the medicinal elements of marijuana.

Schmitt opposes marijuana legalization.

7:29 PM: Kermit Marsh asks the candidates about funds raised excluding loans, campaign manager names, and five most significant endorsements.

Schmitt says he has not raised much but will raise $400,000-$600,000. He says his campaign advisor is Larry Gilbert but is looking for a full-time manager. He has no endorsements. (February 27 Editor’s Note: Gilbert contacted OC Political to state: “Michael Schmitt, one of the candidates running for the 49th CD, misspoke…” Gilbert stated he is not participating in the Schmitt campaign or any other campaign. He stated he met with Schmitt in a fashion similar to how he has met with various candidates over the years to learn more about them and their campaigns.)

Maryott has Rick Frank running his race. He has just begun fundraising. He says endorsements will not win the race.

Schoonover has raised $250,000. His campaign manager is Fred Zestak, who has no campaign experience. He names five businesspeople as his top endorsers.

Harkey has raised $125,000, has another $100,000 coming, and expects to hit $500,000. She also has $100,000 in her BOE account. Her leading endorsers are Congressman Darrell Issa, Congresswoman Mimi Walters, Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, Supervisor Michelle Steel, Supervisor Andrew Do, numerous city councilmembers, and the California Association of Taxpayer Advocates. Bryan Shroyer is her campaign manager, and Dave Gilliard is her consultant.

7:34 PM: Anthony Kuo asks how each has helped improve Republican voter registration.

Harkey speaks of a litany of registration efforts she has engaged in that she said faster than this blogger could type.

Schoonover points to his 500 signatures-in-lieu of filing fee. He calls for social centrism.

Maryott says he has championed conservative causes as a councilman. He doesn’t want the party to move toward youth and minorities. He wants them to move toward the party.

Schmitt says he has rabid grassroots people. He says he sponsored a booth in Dana Point. He is planning church registration drives. He says he is “the faith candidate.”

7:38 PM: Yours truly asks the candidates if they live in the 49th Congressional District.

Harkey, Maryott, and Schmitt do. Schoonover does not.

7:39 PM: Former Orange County Board of Education President Robert Hammond asks if the candidates have supported the OC GOP’s Flag Day fundraiser.

Harkey says she has provided financial support to Flag Day in OC and to Lincoln-Reagan Day events in other counties.

The other three have not done so. Schmitt points to his spending in Iraq.

7:40 PM: Nick Wilson asks if the candidates other than Harkey submitted endorsement requests.

Schoonover got 17 signatures, falling short of 21 needed to go to the endorsements committee.

Maryott and Schmitt are seeking signatures.

7:41 PM: Baron Night moves and Dean Grose seconds endorsing Harkey.

7:42 PM: Nick Wilson speaks against endorsing. He notes Issa was already endorsed and “abandoned us.” He wants to leave the field open and likes the idea of organizing a candidate forum.

7:43 PM: Rancho Santa Margarita Councilman Tony Beall says this is an important seat nationally and that Harkey has the experience to win campaigns, having been elected to City Council, the State Assembly, and the Board of Equalization, where she is California’s highest-ranking Republican.

7:44 PM: The voice vote is nearly unanimous to ENDORSE DIANE HARKEY FOR THE 49TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT.

Harkey jumps up and down and expresses her thanks to the committee.

29TH SENATE DISTRICT

7:47 PM: Former Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang speaks of running for SD-29 two years ago and giving up her safe Assembly seat to do so. She precinct walked in the rain and spent $100,000 out of pocket. She noted 80% voter turnout was incredible. She said John & Ken said on the air that she should run. She says people called her with polling data saying she would win. Since 2005, she had never lost a race until 2016. She says she is already endorsed by the LA County GOP, San Bernardino County GOP, the Lincoln Club, and various elected officials. She spoke of fighting tax increases in the Assembly.

7:50 PM: Fullerton Councilman Bruce Whitaker notes 8 terms on the Central Committee, including being on the Executive Committee. He notes the majority of the district is in Orange County. He speaks of knowing the territory well after having worked at the Board of Supervisors and as a district director in the Assembly. He notes Chang lost her own city of Diamond Bar against novice Josh Newman. Whitaker says he will be a champion of low taxes, limited government, and freedom. He says new immigrants will be drawn to that message. He notes surveys show 58% of Californians oppose the gas tax increase. He notes OCBC commended Newman for voting for the tax. He says Newman cost the district more in taxes than he brought back in spending on local projects.

7:54 PM: Dean Grose asks if the candidates supported Trump.

Chang says she was critical of Trump but hated Clinton more. She says Newman sent deceptive ads calling her a Clinton supporter to Republicans and a leader in Trump’s party to Democrats. She did not vote for Trump.

Whitaker called it a “no-brainer” and “proudly voted” for Trump.

7:56 PM: Kermit Marsh asks how much each candidate has raised excluding loans, who is their campaign manager, and who their top endorsements are.

Chang raised millions in 2016 but has $200,000 for this race and will raise more. Jim Nygren is her consultant. Her top endorsements are the LA County GOP, the San Bernardino County GOP, the Lincoln Club, Congressman Ed Royce, and Board of Equalization Chairwoman Diane Harkey.

Whitaker says the CRP already preferred Chang at the outset. He says Jim Friedman is aiding his campaign. He notes endorsements from the North Orange County Conservative Coalition, Placentia Councilman Craig Green, and Pastor Jim Domen.

7:59 PM: Newport Beach Councilman Scott Peotter asks about their stance on gun control in light of the mass shooting in Florida.

Whitaker opposes further gun control and blasts the media for blaming inanimate objects. He calls for dealing with mental illness and not letting the mentally ill get guns.

Chang is an NRA member who regularly goes shooting. She says the California Democratic Party attacked her as a “tool of the NRA.”

8:00 PM: Former Assemblyman Chris Norby asks about the candidates’ positions on asset seizure.

Whitaker opposes taking property without due process and opposes asset seizure.

Chang worked with Howard Ahmanson on legislation. She opposes asset seizure in general.

8:01 PM: Sara Catalan asks of ballot integrity and recount efforts in 2016 along with efforts to help pass the recall.

Chang says she donated money and sent people to deal with provisional ballots. She has built coalitions to support the recall. She has brought volunteers from four ethnic groups together. She speaks of recruiting volunteers.

Whitaker praises Carl DeMaio and John & Ken. He circulated petitions for the recall and announced his candidacy first. He notes he has time constraints as a sitting Councilman.

8:04 PM: Lee Lowery asks the candidates about abortion.

Whitaker says, “It’s a child, not a choice.” He supports the “rights of the unborn.” He supports the approach of discussing calmly rather than yelling.

Chang says she is pro-life. She suggests using 4-D technology to show people unborn children.

8:06 PM: Scott Carpenter asks if they would vote for resolutions supporting Roe v. Wade or Planned Parenthood.

Chang says she has.

Whitaker expresses concern about the high moral ground and “situational ethics.” He says he would oppose such a resolution.

8:08 PM: Newport Beach Councilman Scott Peotter moves and Dean Grose seconds for no endorsement.

8:09 PM: Former Assemblyman Chris Norby says it should not be “Hello, Newman!” but “Goodbye, Newman!” He says either candidate would beat Newman. He says the district is 72% in Orange County. He speaks of Whitaker having been Mayor of Fullerton, the largest city in the district. He says Whitaker worked for him at the County and the State. He says it doesn’t matter which candidate wins since the recall question needs to pass.

8:11 PM: Anthony Kuo is sworn in as Erik Weigand’s alternate.

8:12 PM: Sara Catalan speaks of working for Congressman Ed Royce and then-Senator Jim Brulte. She says there is near-complete overlap between CD-39 and SD-29. She says Royce strongly supports Chang. She says they don’t want to leave the door open for a Democrat to win. She says many people were helping at the Registrar but says she didn’t see Whitaker there (without saying his name).

8:14 PM: Newport Beach Councilman Scott Peotter says he is familiar with recalls, eliciting laughter from Central Committee members who remember that Peotter recently beat back a recall effort against him. He says every candidate will bring supporters who will vote for the recall. He says endorsing would discourage other candidates’ supporters. He notes the Andrew Hamilton recall in Lake Forest passed because so many replacement candidates brought out supporters who voted for the recall.

8:16 PM: Supervisor Andrew Do says Chang has consistently supported the party and gave up her safe Assembly seat to run for Senate. Do met her Chief of Staff at the Registrar when she sent him to the 2016 ballot counting, and Do has since hired that Chief of Staff. Do speaks of having the resources to win a swing seat.

8:18 PM: Paula Prizio is pro-life but not a one-issue candidate. She is Mark Bucher’s alternate and Bucher opposes Chang, citing her voting for a resolution praising Planned Parenthood.

8:19 PM: Chairman Fred Whitaker says he agrees on the issues 100% with Bruce Whitaker. He says an 80% friend is not a 20% enemy. He wants to support the conservative who can best win. He says there must be a unified effort. He says the California Republican Party resources to support the recall need a unified front with Chang. He says Bruce Whitaker cannot be the CRP-endorsed candidate since two other counties have already endorsed Chang.

8:22 PM: Anthony Kuo attempts a substitute motion, but Parliamentarian Kermit Marsh says it is too late.

8:23 PM: The voice vote is unclear, so there is a standing vote.

The vote is 14 for the motion for no endorsement and 36 against.

8:25 PM: Municipal Water District of Orange County Board Member Brett Barbre moves and Jennifer Beall seconds to endorse Chang.

The motion passes by voice vote to ENDORSE LING-LING CHANG FOR THE 29TH SENATE DISTRICT.

8:26 PM: Meeting adjourned.

4 Responses to “Live from OC GOP Central Committee: Endorsements for CD-49, SD-29, and AD-65”

  1. Robyn Nordell said

    Thanks for the excellent coverage, Chris!

  2. […] You can read the rest of his article by clicking here. […]

  3. Jon Paul White said

    Thank You

  4. Cord Bauer said

    Diane Harkey is 100% for toll roads, which brings with it more tolls and more “Development fees” from people and companies that may not even use the roads. In other words, TAXES. I have a TCA document saying that if the 241 gets extended South then it will cost hundreds of millions of dollars. If so, the only way to pay is to extend the bond payment. For those who don’t know, the 73 was supposed to be free in 2016. The payoff date is now 2053. How much further is she willing to push tolls into the future? We’re starting to talk “generations” here…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s