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BOS-4: Fullerton Mayor Chaffee Makes Six Candidates

Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 10, 2018

Candidates for 4th Supervisorial District: Mayor Doug Chaffee (D-Fullerton), Retired Fire Captain Joe Kerr (D-Brea), Councilwoman Lucille Kring (R-Anaheim), Mayor Tim Shaw (R-La Habra), Councilwoman Rose Espinoza (D-La Habra), and School Board Member Cynthia Aguirre (D-Brea)

Candidates for 4th Supervisorial District: Mayor Doug Chaffee (D-Fullerton), Retired Fire Captain Joe Kerr (D-Brea), Councilwoman Lucille Kring (R-Anaheim), Mayor Tim Shaw (R-La Habra), Councilwoman Rose Espinoza
(D-La Habra), and School Board Member Cynthia Aguirre (D-Brea)

The free-for-all in the Fourth Supervisorial District finally has an official candidate field, with six people running to succeed the termed out Shawn Nelson (R-Fullerton), who is running for the open seat in the 39th Congressional District.  Mayor Doug Chaffee (D-Fullerton) pulled papers on Monday and filed Thursday to become the final candidate in the race.  With that, the six candidates are:

  • Budget Analyst Cynthia Aguirre (D-Brea), who is an elected La Habra City School District Board Member, pulled papers on December 27 and filed on Wednesday
  • Mayor, City of Fullerton Doug Chaffee (D-Fullerton) pulled papers on Monday and filed on Thursday
  • Councilmember Rose Espinoza (D-La Habra) pulled papers on Wednesday (though she had announced in February) and filed on Friday
  • Retired Fire Captain Joe Kerr (D-Brea), who was the founding President of the Orange County Professional Firefighters Association, pulled papers on February 13 and filed on March 2
  • Anaheim Councilwoman/Businesswoman Lucille Kring (R-Anaheim) pulled papers on February 16 and filed on Monday
  • Mayor/Professor Tim Shaw (R-La Habra) pulled papers on January 22 and filed on Thursday

Kring and Chaffee represent the two largest cities in the district.  Anaheim has more registered voters than any other 4th District city, but once voter propensity is taken into account, Kring’s home of Anaheim and Chaffee’s home of Fullerton have are almost dead even in high-propensity voters, with Anaheim slightly ahead of Fullerton (the City of Anaheim is split between two supervisorial districts, with the highest-propensity voters in the 3rd District).  The homes of the other candidates, Brea and La Habra, are far, far behind, as Anaheim and Fullerton voters combined form the majority of the six-city 4th District.

In the last 100 years, the 4th District has only had Supervisors from 3 Cities: Anaheim, Fullerton, and Orange, but Orange has been redistricted to the 3rd District.  Fullerton has the two most recent Supervisors: Shawn Nelson and Chris Norby.  Anaheim had 3 of the 4 Supervisors before that: Cynthia Coad, Don Roth, and Ralph B. Clark (the 1 they didn’t have was Orange’s Bill Steiner).  Orange had the four Supervisors before the Anaheim streak: William H. Hirstein, Willard Smith, Leon O. Whitsell, and Nelson T. Edwards.

Kerr is the only candidate who has never held elected office, but he also sits atop the largest campaign warchest.  As of the last campaign finance reporting period ending December 31, he had $90,627 cash-on-hand, though with $12,576 in unpaid bills, his cash-on-hand came down to $78,051.  While the other five candidates also wield deep roots in the district, Kerr will have to contend with allegations of carpetbagging, as he only became a Brea resident in 2017 after having resided in Coto de Caza for years.

Shaw had $62,196 cash-on-hand, though with $4,353 in unpaid bills, his cash-on-hand came down to $57,843.

Espinoza had $3,514 cash-on-hand, though she had loaned her campaign $10,000, so her campaign was $6,486 in debt.  I’m surprised she used only “Councilmember” as her ballot designation, as “Councilmember/Non-Profit Director” would have enhanced her designation, especially since she has used variations of it in prior bids for Supervisor and City Council.  She is the Executive Director of Rosie’s Garage, a non-profit serving at-risk and underprivileged children.

Despite opening a campaign account for Supervisor in 2017, Aguirre did not file a campaign finance report for 2017.  I am at a loss as to why Aguirre picked “Budget Analyst” as her ballot designation.  I have no idea why she thought that was a better ballot designation than her elected office.  Even if she wanted to stick with Budget Analyst, I don’t understand why she didn’t use “Orange County Budget Analyst” since she is a budget analyst for the County government.

Kring and Chafee entered the race after the last campaign finance reporting period.  Each picked a ballot designation with the names of their cities, so they clearly each hope to use their large home cities as bases to propel them into the top two spots for Supervisor.

The Big Four of this race (in alphabetical order) are: Chaffee, Kerr, Kring, and Shaw.  Chaffee and Kring have the biggest name ID while Kerr and Shaw got a head start in fundraising.  Aguirre and Espinoza have neither.

Posted in 4th Supervisorial District | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

AD-73: Mayor Sachs Completes Filing to Challenge Assemblyman Brough

Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 10, 2018

Mayor Ed Sachs (R-Mission Viejo)

Mayor Ed Sachs
(R-Mission Viejo)

After pulling papers on Tuesday, Mayor Ed Sachs (R-Mission Viejo) has completed filing to challenge the re-election bid of Assemblyman Bill Brough (R-Dana Point) in the 73rd District.  The only other candidate to complete filing for AD-73 was Business Services Director Scott Rhinehart (D-Mission Viejo).

On the one hand, Mission Viejo is the largest of the 8 cities in AD-73.  Despite that, on the other hand, Mission Viejo has only 1/5 of AD-73’s voters.

In 2014, Assembly Republican Nominee Brough had endorsed Sachs’ bid for City Council.  In 2016, Councilman Sachs had endorsed Assemblyman Brough’s bid for re-election.

As of the last campaign finance reporting period, Brough had over $200,000 cash-on-hand for his re-election bid.  Currently Chairman of the Orange County Fire Authority, Sachs has not yet opened a campaign account for his 2018 Council re-election bid nor for his bid for AD-73 against Brough.

However, Sachs is a retired corporate executive who largely self-funded his own $25,000 campaign for City Council in 2014.  Specifically, he is the former President of the Pioneer Electronics USA, the American division of the massive Japanese multinational conglomerate.  Unfortunately, the Form 700’s ranges are quite broad, so Sachs’s Form 700 reports an enormous range for his possible stock holdings, somewhere between $114,000-$1.12 million.

With two Republicans and one Democrat running, this race will largely resolve itself in the primary election, with Democrat Rhinehart advancing to the general election with one of the Republicans, either Assemblyman Brough or Mayor Sachs.

AD-73 is literally the safest Republican Assembly seat in the entire state, with Republicans holding a 17% registration advantage over Democrats.

Posted in 73rd Assembly District, Orange County Fire Authority | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

CD-48: Baugh Completes Filing to Challenge Rohrabacher

Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 9, 2018

Former Assembly Republican Leader Scott Baugh (R-Huntington Beach)

Former Assembly Republican Leader Scott Baugh (R-Huntington Beach)

After pulling papers on Wednesday for the 48th Congressional District against incumbent Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach), former Assembly Republican Leader Scott Baugh (R-Huntington Beach) completed and submitted all the paperwork necessary to qualify for the ballot this afternoon just a few hours before the close of filing.

As of the last campaign finance reporting period ending December 31, Rohrabacher reported $713,000 cash-on-hand while Baugh reported $545,000 cash-on-hand.  A former Chairman of the Republican Party of Orange County, Baugh had raised nearly all of his funds in 2016 (raising just $3,000 in 2017), as he suspended fundraising activities in 2017.  Baugh had previously stated that he was raising the money to prepare a bid for CD-48 after Rohrabacher retired.

I had previously written about the possibility of a Republican vs. Republican general election in CD-39 and CD-49, but Baugh’s entry now makes this a legitimate possibility in CD-48.  Democrats are targeting all three seats in their hopes of capturing the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.  However, a Republican vs. Republican general election would literally guarantee a seat staying in Republican hands, especially since Prop 14 precludes write-in candidates from the general election.  Prop 14’s creation of the Top-Two primary election could well stop the Democrats’ effort to seize the House.

This scenario actually happened in CD-31 in 2012 where four Democrats split the vote, and two Republicans went to the general election in a seat that was supposed to be a swing seat.

In their articles about Baugh pulling papers, the Orange County Register, the Los Angeles Times, and the Nooner all wrote of the possibility of the all-Republican general election due to California’s Top-Two primary election and the large number of Democrats running against Rohrabacher and Baugh.

Analyst Scott Lay of the Nooner wrote:

[Baugh is] in a competitive position and has the Dems worried.

Polling done for Fight Back CA PAC, which is focused on flipping 7 seats for the Democrats, finds that, with Baugh in the race, there’s a distinct possibility of another competitive district with two Republicans advancing to November. Three Democrats are shown to be competitive and each have plenty of dough–Hans Keirstead ($490k), Harley Rouda ($847k), and Omar Siddiqui ($540k).

In the polling, Rohrabacher leads, and Baugh is basically tied with the top two Democrats, and he hasn’t done any campaigning.

For that reason, I’ve moved the district from Leans Democrat to Toss-up, although Leans Republican might be more appropriate–of just a “Top-Two WTF?”

Posted in 48th Congressional District | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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.


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



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.


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.

Posted in 29th Senate District, 49th Congressional District, 65th Assembly District, Republican Central Committee | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

SD-34: Villa Park’s Tom Umberg to Challenge Janet Nguyen

Posted by Chris Nguyen on February 22, 2018

Senator Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove) and former Assemblyman Tom Umberg (D-Villa Park)

Senator Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove) and
former Assemblyman Tom Umberg (D-Villa Park)

Yesterday, former Assemblyman Tom Umberg (D-Villa Park) announced his entry into the race to challenge the re-election bid of Senator Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove) in the 34th District.  Unfortunately for Umberg, in a case of unlucky timing, the news of his entry was completely drowned out by the news that Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) had introduced a resolution to expel Senator Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia/Buena Park) due to allegations of sexual misconduct against Mendoza.

Hillary Clinton defeated Donald Trump by 23% in the 34th Senate District, and Umberg is already trying to make Trump an issue in the State Senate election by declaring in the second sentence of his announcement: “I am running for State Senate because I believe that our community needs a strong fighter in Sacramento who will stand up to President Trump and his Administration on important issues like health care, immigration, energy, the environment, civil rights, education, and consumer issues.”

Congressman Lou Correa led a list of Umberg’s endorsements by various Democratic elected officials.  Correa was Nguyen’s predecessor in the 34th Senate District seat.  There is no word on if former Councilwoman Gerrie Shipske (D-Long Beach) will continue her bid for the seat or drop out in favor of Umberg.

Umberg’s biography is formidable as a former State Assemblyman, former federal prosecutor, retired Army Colonel, and former Deputy Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (under Bill Clinton), and former Co-Chair of the U.S. State Department’s Public Private Partnership for Justice Reform in Afghanistan (under Barack Obama).

Democrats currently hold a 9% registration advantage over Republicans in the two-county 34th Senate District.  When then-Supervisor Nguyen defeated former Assemblyman Jose Solorio for the seat by 16% in 2014, Democrats held a 5% registration advantage over Republicans.  Additionally, midterm elections have historically resulted strengthened voter turnout for the party opposing the President’s party.  In 2014, with Democrat Barack Obama in office, that produced a bump in voter turnout for Republicans.  In 2018, with Republican Donald Trump in office, that should produce a bump in voter turnout for Democrats.

However, Nguyen is a tough and tireless campaigner, and it is often said in political circles: “Nobody outworks Janet Nguyen.”  Umberg is a daunting opponent, but Nguyen has beaten him before (2007 Supervisorial election, though that seat had dead even political registration with 32.1% of voters registered in each party) and has repeatedly beaten formidable opponents election after election, often as the underdog.  There is no doubt that Umberg will provide a tough challenge, but Nguyen’s experience with arduous campaigns will likely give her a close win in November.

Umberg’s long biography also includes a long record.  The Nguyen campaign likely still has its opposition research file from their 2007 battle with Umberg, who has a voting record of three terms in the State Assembly.  Of course, Umberg is surely assembling a new opposition research file from Nguyen’s 7 years on the Board of Supervisors and 4 years in the State Senate.

Umberg has lost 4 of his last 5 campaigns for office over the last quarter of a century: a 1994 bid for State Attorney General when he lost to incumbent Republican Dan Lungren by 14%, a 2002 bid for the Democratic nomination for Insurance Commissioner when he lost to John Garamendi by 10%, a 2006 bid for the Democratic nomination for 34th Senate District when he lost to Correa by 19%, and a 2007 bid for the 1st Supervisorial District when he came in third by 3% in the legendary Nguyen-Nguyen special election in which Councilwoman Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove) defeated School Board Member Trung Nguyen (R-Garden Grove) by the slimmest of margins (Trung Nguyen led by 7 votes after the Registrar’s initial count, Janet Nguyen led by 7 votes after the Registrar’s recount and then by 3 votes after litigation was completed).

Umberg’s sole win in the last 25 years was his 2004 bid for State Assembly, winning by 30% over then-hapless, later controversial Otto Bade.

As of February 5, Umberg was still registered to vote at his home in Villa Park in the district of Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa).

Here’s an excerpt of an Orange County Register story on accusations of Umberg’s carpetbagging from January 2007:

State Sen. Lou Correa, who beat Umberg in the Senate primary and whose vacated supervisor seat Umberg hopes to win, is among those with reservations.

“Everybody seems to think that they can move into central Orange County and they can run for office,” said Correa, who has not endorsed a candidate. “But there are plenty of qualified individuals living in central Orange County that can run for office.”

Nonetheless, Umberg is the best-known candidate, having twice represented much of the district in the Assembly. He’s won the endorsement of the county Democratic Party and four key labor unions.

And many, including some Umberg opponents, downplay residency as an issue.

“I think it is a nonissue,” said veteran consultant Dave Gilliard, who’s representing Umberg opponent Janet Nguyen. “Central Orange County has a history of carpetbagging. There are many better reasons to oppose Umberg.”

There’s also the ever awkward press coverage of his extramarital affair.

Here’s the full text of Umberg’s press release announcing his candidacy:


Also Announces Endorsements From U.S. Congressman Lou Correa, State Assemblyman Tom Daly, Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido, State Senator Betty Karnette (Ret.), and former Long Beach Mayor Robert Foster

SANTA ANA – U.S. Army Colonel (Ret.) & former Federal Prosecutor and State Assemblyman Tom Umberg announced today that he is running for State Senate to represent California’s 34th Senate District.

“I am running for State Senate because I believe that our community needs a strong fighter in Sacramento who will stand up to President Trump and his Administration on important issues like health care, immigration, energy, the environment, civil rights, education, and consumer issues,” said Umberg who previously represented the cities of Anaheim, Garden Grove, Santa Ana, and Westminster during three terms in the California State Assembly.

Umberg also announced that his candidacy has been endorsed by U.S. Congressman Lou Correa, State Assemblyman Tom Daly, Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido, State Senator Betty Karnette (Ret.), and former Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster.

“When Tom served in the Legislature, he was a leader in cutting through partisan bickering to achieve results,” said former State Senator Betty Karnette of Long Beach who served with Umberg in the California Legislature.  “He had an impact.”

Tom Umberg is a retired U.S. Army Colonel who has served in Korea with the 2nd Infantry Division, with NATO forces in Italy, and as a paratrooper with the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, U.S. Army Special Warfare Center, and XVIIIth Airborne Corp. As a JAG officer, he tried over 50 felony cases in Korea, Italy, and the United States.

He was recalled to active military duty in 2004 as a war crimes prosecutor, and in 2009-10 to lead the U.S. military effort to attack corruption within the Afghan Army and Police, for which he was awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious service in a combat zone.

As a federal criminal prosecutor he had a 100% conviction rate, trying numerous white collar, civil rights, and gang cases.  He successfully tried over 100 cases to verdict or judgment, including complex matters involving health care, real estate, work place harassment, construction defects, and protection of employee pension plans.

Tom Umberg served three terms in the California Legislature representing central Orange County.  While in the State Assembly, he successfully authored and secured legislative passage of 76 new state laws, brought more than $563 million in state and federal grant funds into Orange County, and assisted more than 2,500 individuals with government red tape and state bureaucracy problems.

In 1997, Umberg was selected by President Bill Clinton to serve as Deputy Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).  In this capacity he was responsible for the development and coordination of United States policy to reduce the supply of illegal drugs, including negotiation and coordination with foreign governments to enhance U.S. counter-drug intelligence and interdiction.  In 2011, he was also appointed Co-Chair of the U.S. State Department’s Public Private Partnership for Justice Reform in Afghanistan.

Umberg is a founding partner of Umberg Zipser LLP and previously served as a partner at both Morrison & Foerster and Manatt, Phelps & Phillips.  He is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals and is Chair of the Veterans Treatment Court Committee.

Tom is married to Brigadier General (Ret.) Robin Umberg.  They met while they were on active duty in Korea.  “Tom and I have been proud to serve our country together for over 60 years combined — in the United States and overseas,” said Robin Umberg.


(Cue my usual Nguyen disclaimer: I am not related to Senator Janet Nguyen or former School Board Member Trung Nguyen. The last name Nguyen is held by 36% of Vietnamese people.)

Posted in 34th Senate District | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Live from OC GOP Central Committee: Endorsements for BOS-4 & OCBE

Posted by Chris Nguyen on February 19, 2018

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

  • Tim Shaw (R-La Habra) for Orange County Board of Supervisors, 4th District
  • Mari Barke (R-Rossmoor) for Orange County Board of Education, Trustee Area 2
  • Lisa Sparks (R-Newport Beach) for Orange County Board of Education, Trustee Area 5

The Barke and Sparks endorsements for County Board of Education are expected to be fairly quick since Barke is the sole Republican challenging incumbent David Boyd (NPP-Costa Mesa) and Sparks is the sole Republican running to replace the retiring Linda Lindholm (R-Laguna Niguel).

Shaw’s endorsement request for Fourth District Supervisor will be the most hotly contested, as Councilwoman Lucille Kring (R-Anaheim) is also running. Shaw is on the agenda because a majority of the members of Central Committee signed his petition to have his endorsement request heard. In order to actually be endorsed requires a 2/3 vote of the Central Committee.

Emails to the Central Committee have already flown back and fourth on the Fourth District. Kring has been accused of breaking her word to the Central Committee by voting for the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT, also known as Hotel Tax) subsidy of $158 million for businesses in the Anaheim resort district and accused of accepting campaign contributions from public employee unions; and even quoting a 2016 OC Register editorial calling Kring “patently dishonest.” Shaw has been accused of supporting a 0.5% sales tax increase and an extension of a 4.5% utility tax (in lieu of an expiring 6% utility tax).

7:00 PM: After the invocation and Pledge of Allegiance, various elected officials are introduced followed by an update from the College Republicans.

7:25 PM Before the endorsements, there are three speakers:

7:54 PM: Speeches are complete. Endorsements will now begin.

7:55 PM: Mark Bucher moves and Chris Norby seconds the endorsements of Barke and Sparks for Orange County Board of Education.

7:56 PM: Scott Peotter moves to call the question when no one says they wish to speak in opposition.

7:57 PM: Both the Peotter and Bucher motions pass unanimously, so BARKE AND SPARKS ARE ENDORSED FOR ORANGE COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION.

7:58 PM: Mary Young moves and Andy Whallon seconds the endorsement of Tim Shaw for Supervisor.

7:58 PM: John Moorlach speaks in favor of endorsing Shaw. He cites Shaw’s service on the La Habra City Council, as Vice Chair of OCTA, and on the Orange County Sanitation District. He argues if Shaw had run for the 29th Senate District in 2016, Shaw would have beat Josh Newman.

7:59 PM: Deborah Pauly speaks in opposition to endorsing Shaw. She speaks to the importance of opposing tax increases. She spoke of 10 years ago how he was supporting a 0.5% sales tax increase in La Habra, which at the time was in the same Assembly District as Pauly’s home of Villa Park. She spoke of his serving as Treasurer of the ballot measure committee to extend the utility tax in La Habra.

8:02 PM: Shaw argues the measure would have lowered utility taxes. He states he was not involved in the sales tax effort.

8:03 PM: Chairman Fred Whitaker notes that there are two Republicans running for the seat: Shaw and Anaheim Councilwonan Lucille Kring.

8:05 PM: Chris Norby says he is personally endorsing Shaw but sees no reason for the Central Committee to endorse one Republican over another. He notes when he was elected to the same Supervisorial seat, the Central Committee endorsed neither Norby nor incumbent Republican Cynthia Coad. He would rather see which one advances to the run-off in November.

8:07 PM: Craig Young asks about the filing deadline and endorsement vote threshold.

8:08 PM: Chairman Whitaker explains that the filing deadline is March 9 but no other Republicans are known to be considering the seat. The endorsement threshold is 2/3 of those present and voting, so abstentions lower the number of votes needed to reach 2/3.

8:09 PM: The voice vote is too close, so a standing vote is called.

8:10 PM: The vote to endorse Shaw is 24-9 (22 is necessary to reach 2/3), so SHAW IS ENDORSED FOR ORANGE COUNTY SUPERVISOR, 4TH DISTRICT.

8:11 PM: In the 74th Assembly District, John Warner announces that Will O’Neill has been recommended by the 74th District Caucus to replace Warner, who is resigning from the Central Committee due to his time constraints as President of the Lincoln Club.

8:12 PM: Jon Fleishman moves and Brett Barbre seconds to confirm O’Neill to the Central Committee vacancy.

8:13 PM: O’Neill confirmed unanimously.

8:14 PM: Various officer reports are presented, including a lengthy discussion and approval of the 2018 operating budget.

8:27 PM: Various club reports are presented.

8:37 PM: Meeting adjourned in memory of Peter Moriarty, founding President of VetsROC.

Posted in 4th Supervisorial District, Orange County Board of Education | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

DA’s Race: Spitzer Outraises Rackauckas While Murdock Can’t Pay Registrar of Voters

Posted by Chris Nguyen on February 9, 2018

District Attorney Tony Rackauckas (R-San Clemente), Supervisor Todd Spitzer (R-Orange), and former Mayor Brett Murdock (D-Brea)

District Attorney Tony Rackauckas (R-San Clemente), Supervisor Todd Spitzer (R-Orange),
and former Mayor Brett Murdock (D-Brea)

In the race for Orange County District Attorney, Supervisor Todd Spitzer (R-Orange) raised $103,953 more than incumbent District Attorney Tony Rackauckas (R-San Clemente) did in the second half of 2017, according to campaign finance reports filed last week.  During the second half of 2017, Spitzer raised $234,077 while Rackauckas raised $130,124.  In the first half of 2017, Rackauckas raised $195,300; Spitzer did not have a DA account yet, but raised $273,284 into his Supervisor account during that time.  When Spitzer closed his Supervisor account, he also transferred $1,272,559 to his DA account.

Rackauckas spent $178,606 while Spitzer spent $139,233 on the DA’s race.  This leaves Rackauckas with $209,513 cash on hand and Spitzer with $1,367,403 cash on hand, or $1,364,903 cash on hand after accounting for one $2,500 unpaid bill.

Former Mayor Brett Murdock (D-Brea) raised 3% of what Rackauckas did and 2% of what Spitzer did.  Additionally, Murdock had no funds raised in prior periods, leaving him even further behind Rackauckas and Spitzer.  With $3,848, Murdock will need to spend $2,680 to pay the DA candidate filing fee to the Registrar of Voters, leaving him with $1,168.  Unfortunately for Murdock, the ballot statement payable to the Registrar of Voters costs $15,536.  In other words, as of the end of 2017, Murdock’s $3,848 cash on hand was only 21% of the $18,216 he needs to pay the Registrar of Voters by March 9.

For visual learners:

Candidate Contributions
Transfers Unpaid
Expenditures Cash on Hand
COH Minus
Unpaid Bills
Tony Rackauckas (R) $195,300 $130,124 $0 $0 $178,606 $209,513 $209,513
Todd Spitzer (R) N/A
($273,284 for Supervisor)
$234,077 $1,272,559 $2,500 $139,233 $1,367,403 $1,364,903
Brett Murdock (D) N/A $4,527 $0 $0 $679 $3,848 $3,848
Note: Figures may be off by one dollar due to rounding.


Posted in Orange County District Attorney's Office | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Sheriff’s Race: Barnes Raises Three Times as Much as Harrington While Harrington Pursues Slate Strategy

Posted by Chris Nguyen on February 8, 2018

Undersheriff Don Barnes (R-Lake Forest) and Mayor Dave Harrington (R-Aliso Viejo)

Undersheriff Don Barnes (R-Lake Forest)
and Mayor Dave Harrington (R-Aliso Viejo)

In the race to succeed retiring Sheriff Sandra Hutchens (R-Dana Point), campaign finance reports for 2017 filed last week show that Undersheriff Don Barnes (R-Lake Forest) has raised three times as much as Mayor Dave Harrington (R-Aliso Viejo) while Harrington has outspent Barnes.  Harrington has reserved 14 slates while Barnes has purchased 2 slates; however, Harrington has only placed deposits on 12 and still needs to finish paying for them.  The Harrington campaign is clearly hoping slates can overpower the near-incumbent strength ballot designation of “Orange County Undersheriff” that Barnes will wield.

In 2017, Barnes raised $233,595 while Harrington raised $70,903.  Harrington also loaned himself $140,000.  While OC Political is usually skeptical of loans since most candidates use them simply to inflate fundraising numbers, this is not the case here, as Harrington has already spent $17,900 of his loan, and if he does pay for his slates in full, he will have spent $101,965 of his loan to his campaign.

In 2017, Barnes spent $57,743 with an additional $18,125 in accrued bills, totaling $75,868.  Harrington spent $88,802, with an additional $84,065 in accrued bills, totaling $172,867.  Harrington paid $18,172 to slates and needs to pay another $83,015 in order to complete his slate payments.  Harrington shows $101,187 (59%) of his spending (including both paid expenditures and unpaid bills) on slates.

By the close of 2017, Harrington has spent more money on slates than he has raised, needing to dip into his own pocket if he wishes to hang on to all the slates.  Barnes ended 2017 with four times as much cash-on-hand as Harrington, once unpaid bills are accounted for.  Harrington’s spending, including both paid expenditures and unpaid bills, is 2.5 times what he has raised while Barnes’s spending is 1/3 of what he has raised.

How much more is Harrington willing to self-fund in his battle against Barnes?  Barnes’s Undersheriff designation is worth a lot more than $101,187, so slates alone will not carry the day for Harrington.  Harrington will need to either step up his fundraising or dig even deeper into his own pocket to be competitive.

Either way, after the June 5 election, once the new term of office commences January 7, there’s a new sheriff in town.

For visual learners:

Candidate Contributions Loans Unpaid
Expenditures Cash on Hand
COH Minus
Unpaid Bills
COH Minus
Unpaid Bills and Loans
Don Barnes (R) $233,595 $0 $18,125 $57,743 $175,851 $157,726 $157,726
Dave Harrington (R) $70,903 $140,000 $84,065 $88,802 $122,100 $38,035 ($101,965)
Note: Figures may be off by one dollar due to rounding.


Posted in Orange County Sheriff | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

BOE: Mission Viejo Mayor Pro Tem Greg Raths Enters the Race

Posted by Chris Nguyen on February 7, 2018

Mayor Pro Tem Greg Raths (R-Mission Viejo)

Mayor Pro Tem Greg Raths
(R-Mission Viejo)

Mayor Pro Tem Greg Raths (R-Mission Viejo) has entered the race for the State Board of Equalization seat being vacated by BOE Chairwoman Diane Harkey (R-Dana Point), who is not seeking re-election in order to run for the 49th Congressional District seat of retiring Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Vista).  The massive BOE seat includes all of Imperial, Orange, Riverside, and San Diego Counties, with small slivers of San Bernardino County.

Raths join a race that already includes State Senator Joel Anderson (R-Alpine), former Assemblyman Ken Lopez-Maddox (D-Dana Point), former Councilman John F. Kelley (R-Tustin), and Board of Equalization employee David Dodson (D-Dana Point).  Orange County Water District Director and former City Councilman Denis Bilodeau (R-Orange) is exploring his candidacy for the seat.  Orange County Taxpayers Association President and CEO Carolyn Cavecche (R-Orange) ruled out running shortly before Senator Anderson entered the race.  (Here’s OC Political’s coverage of Anderson and Lopez-Maddox entering the BOE race, along with Lopez-Maddox’s unexpected party switch.  Here’s OC Political’s coverage of Bilodeau and Cavecche’s explorations of the BOE race that also discusses Kelley.)

Raths first ran for elected office in 2014 when he ran for the 45th Congressional District after Congressman John Campbell (R-Irvine) announced his retirement.  State Senator Mimi Walters (R-Irvine) won 45% of the vote in the top-two primary, with Drew Leavens (D-Poway) winning 28%, Raths 24%, and Al Salehi (NPP-Buena Park) 3%.  Since he did not make it to the general election for the Congressional seat, Raths was able to run for Mission Viejo City Council, in which the retired Marine Colonel was the top vote-getter in a race that saw two incumbent Councilmembers defeated.

In 2016, first-term Councilman Raths challenged first-term Congresswoman Walters’s re-election bid.  Walters won 41% of the vote in the top-two primary, with Ron Varasteh (D-Irvine) winning 28%, Raths 19%, and Max Gouron (D-Tustin) 12%.

Posted in Board of Equalization, Mission Viejo | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

SD-29 Recall: Newman Raises $2 Million But Spends $1.5 Million

Posted by Chris Nguyen on February 6, 2018

Senator Josh Newman (D-Fullerton)

Senator Josh Newman

According to campaign finance reports released last week for 2017, Senator Josh Newman (D-Fullerton) raised over $2 million to fight the recall effort against him but spent $1.5 million, leaving him with cash-on-hand of $555,111 along with $26,255 in unpaid bills and a $60,000 loan, bringing his cash-on-hand down to $468,856.  (His five largest expenditures categories were $297,059 on television commercials, $269,671 on campaign consultants, $215,662 on an outside vendor employing precinct walkers, $210,643 on campaign worker salaries, and $72,513 on campaign literature and mailings.)

Another committee, Californians for Better Communities (CBC), run by construction unions, raised $680,000, transferring $250,000 to Newman to get him over $2 million (he raised just under $1.8 million without that transfer) and spent another $213,696, leaving themselves with $215,341 cash-on-hand.

Reform California, the committee founded by former City Councilman Carl De Maio (R-San Diego), raised $827,478 and spent $629,044, with the bulk of it spent on qualifying the recall, primarily on signature gatherers.  They have $213,643 cash-on-hand after accounting for $12,251 in unpaid bills.

Another committee, Californians Against Car and Gas Tax Hikes, run by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, raised $127,903 and spent $127,008, leaving $895 cash-on-hand, or $119 after accounting for unpaid bills of $776.  They spent most of their funds on signature gatherers.

For visual learners:

Committee Contributions Transfers Loans Unpaid
Expenditures Cash on Hand
COH Minus
Unpaid Bills
COH Minus
Unpaid Bills and Loans
Newman $1,786,598 $250,000 $60,000 $26,255 $1,541,487 $555,111 $528,856 $468,856
CBC (pro-Newman) $680,000 ($250,000) $0 $963 $213,696 $216,304 $215,341 $215,341
Reform CA (pro-recall) $827,478 $0 $0 $12,251 $629,044 $225,894 $213,643 $213,643
CACGTH (pro-recall) $127,903 $0 $0 $776 $127,008 $895 $119 $119
Notes: Figures may be off by one dollar due to rounding.


Only three candidates have initiated any paperwork to run as replacement candidates should Newman be recalled. No Democrat has yet jumped in as a backup candidate for their party in case Newman is recalled.  (The 2003 “No on the Recall, Yes on [Cruz] Bustamante” strategy.)

All are holding back on spending, with a combined expenditure total of $9,856 through December 31.  The candidates were presumably waiting for the Governor to set the recall election, which he did not do until January 8.

Former Assemblywoman Ling-Ling Chang (R-Diamond Bar) raised $130,300 and loaned her campaign $80,000.  She spent a negligible $9,756, leaving her with a cash-on-hand total of $200,544, or once you account for her loan, a cash-on-hand total of $120,544.

City Councilman Bruce Whitaker (R-Fullerton) raised $14,489.  He spent a negligible $100, leaving him with a cash-on-hand total of $14,389.

Joshua Ferguson (NPP-Fullerton) has raised and spent no money; he has still yet to file any FPPC paperwork to allow him to raise a penny for Senate.  Additionally, while he pulled papers from the Registrar of Voters on January 10, he has not yet submitted any of that paperwork.

For visual learners:

Candidate Contributions Loans Expenditures Cash on Hand
COH Minus Loans
Ling-Ling Chang (R) $130,300 $80,000 $9,756 $200,544 $120,544
Bruce Whitaker (R) $14,489 $0 $100 $14,389 $14,389
Joshua Ferguson (NPP) $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Notes: Figures may be off by one dollar due to rounding.

Posted in 29th Senate District, Fullerton | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »