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Live from OC GOP Endorsements Committee, Round 1 for November 2018

Posted by Chris Nguyen on July 12, 2018

We are live from the OC GOP Endorsements Committee for the first round of endorsements for the November 2018 general election. The Endorsements Committee will make recommendations tonight to be voted upon at the Central Committee’s July 30 meeting.

On tonight’s agenda are:

  • Garrett Dwyer for Aliso Viejo City Council
  • Patrick Harper for Fountain Valley City Council
  • Erik Peterson for Huntington Beach City Council
  • Mike Posey for Huntington Beach City Council
  • Elaine Gennawey for Laguna Niguel City Council
  • Carlos Rodriguez for Yorba Linda City Council
  • Yes on Prop 6
  • Yes on the Newport Beach Debt Charter Amendment
  • No on the Anaheim Minimum Wage Initiative

Present are Endorsements Committee Chair Peggy Huang and Members Gene Hernandez, Leroy Mills, and Erik Weigand. Absent are Mark Bucher, Laura Davies, and Tyler Diep.

Anaheim Minimum Wage Initiative

First up is the Anaheim Minimum Wage Initiative.

Central Committee Chairman Fred Whitaker discusses the economics of minimum wage and Republican philosophy regarding minimum wage. He warns of the threat to jobs from a minimum wage hike to $18 per hour, as employers cut back jobs due to increased costs.

Whitaker says Democrats will use the measure to increase union turnout in the General Election. He notes Bernie Sanders came to Anaheim to campaign for the measure.

Whitaker warns of the effect of this measure on the 4th Supervisorial District, 65th Assembly District, and 34th Senate District. Democrats will use the measure to try to increase their turnout, but Republicans can use opposition to try to increase their turnout.

Whitaker warns that this measure goes far beyond just the divisive politics of Anaheim. The measure applies to small businesses in the Resort District that did not receive the tax breaks that some hotels did. He says could be a foothold for other minimum wage increase measures.

Todd Ament of the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce states that unions started this measure after businesses refused to accept “card check” union organizing procedures (instead of allowing workers to vote by secret ballot on whether they would have a union). They collected 22,000 signatures in 22 days with the assistance of union households.

Ament highlights the text of the measure that applies the $18 minimum wage to small businesses, not just large hotels.

Ament says 3,000 construction jobs and 1,000 other full-time jobs would be lost if this measure passes.

Committee Chair Peggy Huang says this measure is a feel-good measure that has devastating effects interfering with free market economics.

Committee Member Erik Weigand asks if the measure only applies to the Resort District.

Ament says it does and notes the numerous restaurants and other small businesses in the district, pointing to small retail stores, pizzerias, etc. He notes it is the highest minimum wage ever to make a ballot in the United States.

Huang asks if the measure applies to businesses that are not receiving the subsidies.

Ament says the tax rebate applies to hotels that would otherwise have not been built, but the measure

Leroy Mills moves and Gene Hernandez seconds to recommend the Central Committee oppose the Anaheim Minimum Wage Initiative.

The Endorsements Committee votes 3-0-1 (Weigand abstaining) to recommend the Central Committee oppose the Anaheim Minimum Wage Initiative.

Elaine Gennawey for Laguna Niguel City Council

Elaine Gennawey is a 3-decade resident of Laguna Niguel. Although they have a low pension liability, Gennawey states their City started a pension trust to reduce their pension liability. She speaks of City projects and transparency.

Hernandez asks Gennawey about her leaving blank the question on whether California should be a shall-issue state.

She says she supports shall-issue with stringent policies on who is eligible for it.

The Endorsements Committee votes 4-0 to recommend Gennawey be endorsed by the Central Committee.

Erik Peterson for Huntington Beach City Council

Erik Peterson says he and Mike Posey authored COIN in his city. He proposed greater oversight over City finances with outside people, not just City staff. He and Posey got the City to vote to sue that sanctuary state legislation violated charter city rules. Peterson says no pension-increasing salary increases have been passed in his time on the City Council.

Hernandez asks how many seats are up.

Peterson says there are four incumbents seeking re-election this year.

Weigand asks about the four incumbents and seeking endorsements.

Peterson calls Billy O’Connell a union advocate. He says Barbara Delgleize is good on pensions but wrong on environmental issues, abortion, and issues on “feelings.”

Huang asked about his prior endorsement for a Democrat.

Peterson endorsed a slate for Ocean View School Board in Huntington Beach that included John Briscoe and Gina Clayton-Tarvin. He did not check Clayton-Tarvin’s party affiliation and regrets that endorsement now.

Huang asks about what Peterson sees as challenges facing the City.

Peterson notes financial constraints because 76% of the budget goes to employees and the city charter requires 15% go to infrastructure. He says that maybe increasing the transient occupancy tax from 10% to 11% could generate revenue. He speaks of holding revenue-generating events. He describes various cuts that could be made to the city budget by using newer technology and outsourcing. He opposes a sales tax increase.

Hernandez asks about campaign fundraising.

Peterson has raised $40,000 (he spent $28,000 four years ago).

Mills asks about whether he has taken union money.

Peterson says he has not, and unions do not like him.

Mills asks about Prop 68.

Peterson said he voted No on 68.

Hernandez moves to recommend Peterson.

Huang asks about traffic in Huntington Beach.

Peterson gives a lengthy answer about SCAG problems and working to attract more businesses. He opposes the state’s affordable housing mandates because they are about greenhouse gas emissions rather than housing.

Hernandez asks about RHNA numbers in Huntington Beach.

Peterson says the RHNA number is around 400. He discusses how he supports charity, but government charity is theft from taxpayers. He wants development, but does not want to become Santa Monica.

Hernandez moves and Mills seconds recommending Peterson.

The vote is 4-0 to recommend Peterson for endorsement by the Central Committee.

Carlos Rodriguez for Yorba Linda City Council

Carlos Rodriguez speaks of his family’s prosperity under Ronald Reagan, and his father losing his defense contractor job during Bill Clinton. He speaks of his Republican volunteerism and his career at the Building Industry Association. He opposes increasing fees, regulations, and taxes, and says that is what his job is.

Weigand moves and Mills seconds recommending Rodriguez.

The vote is 4-0 to recommend Rodriguez for endorsement by the Central Committee.

Patrick Harper for Fountain Valley City Council

Patrick Harper is a Planning Commissioner. He speaks of his family and having to leave an all-star Little League game to make this meeting. There are three seats up with only one incumbent seeking re-election. He speaks of the City being conservative with both long term residents and Vietnamese immigrants. He is married to a Vietnamese-American. He wants to fight for conservative values.

Huang asks about party registration.

Harper is a lifelong Republican, and his city is still plurality Republican.

Mills asks about his bond votes, including specifically school bonds.

Harper opposes most bonds. He did vote for a school bond to rehabilitate building that were built decades ago.

Weigand asks about his prior candidacy for Council in 2014 and his current endorsements.

Harper got a late start the last time. He says the incumbents are holding off on endorsements until after filing closes.

Huang asks about the Measure HH sales tax increase.

Harper says it passed in 2016 and expires in 20 years. He says it should not be renewed, so the City needs to grow its revenue base.

Weigand asks if he supported HH.

Harper did not publicly support it, but he did vote for it. He felt it was a higher increase than he wanted, as he wanted a smaller increase but opposed having no increase.

Weigand asks if Harper would be willing to propose repealing HH if the City were flush with cash.

Harper said if after 10 years, the City was flush with cash, he would support repealing HH.

Huang asks about HH revenues and City finances.

Harper rattles off various figures about City finances and notes a structural deficit.

Huang asks about solutions for the structural deficit.

Harper supported rezoning an industrial area as mixed use to generate more property revenue. He notes many residents are on Proposition 13, and as they sell their homes, there would be more revenue. He proposes having greater efficiencies to reduce expenses in City government.

Weigand moves and Mills seconds to recommend Harper to the Central Committee.

The vote is 4-0 to recommend Harper to the Central Committee.

Garrett Dwyer for Aliso Viejo City Council

Garrett Dwyer is a 15-year resident of Aliso Viejo. He speaks of his volunteerism in the community. He speaks of his 7-year-old daughter. Dwyer expressed some interest in running. Councilman Mike Munzing encouraged him to run after Jake Vollebregt was called up to active duty (and was unavailable to run) while a Lincoln Club member decided she did not want to run either. Munzing endorsed him, as did Mayor Dave Harrington and Councilman Bill Phillips. Councilman Phil Tsunoda is retiring. Dwyer says there is a Democrat running for the seat.

Munzing says Tsunoda and Ross Chun are the two Democrats on the Council, but hate each other. Tsunoda is more moderate while Chun is backing an “Elizabeth Warren-Resist type” backed by the Democratic Party for the City Council. Munzing says Dwyer has met with the City Manager and other leading City employees to get an in-depth analysis of items facing the City.

Weigand asks about his party registration.

Dwyer has been a lifelong Republican and moved to Orange County (and Aliso Viejo) in 2003.

Weigand asks what Harper will do to help the Republican Party in Aliso Viejo, which was Senator Pat Bates and Assemblyman Bill Brough’s weakest OC city, and it is in Congressman Dana Rohrabacher’s swing district.

Dwyer says he would work with the entire ticket to ensure they all win.

Munzing says Aliso Viejo Republicans did little in the Primary but would have many volunteers walking in the General Election.

Weigand moves and Hernandez seconds Dwyer.

Huang asks about challenges facing Aliso Viejo.

Dwyer speaks of a ranch project and the development of the Town Center. He says the City must work with these entities to help bring revenue to the City. He wants to encourage work readiness program involvement, like Junior Achievement, from schools in Aliso Viejo.

Huang asks Dwyer about his philosophy of taxpayer subsidies for businesses.

Dwyer wants to incentivize businesses but not necessarily with taxpayers paying for it.

Hernandez asks about homelessness.

Dwyer says there is a small area that the homeless have gathered in Aliso Viejo. He gives a lengthy discussion about regional discussions on homelessness, referencing medical services, facilities, the current County lawsuit, etc. Dwyer says there are no easy answers to the problem.

Munzing says Aliso Viejo refuses to participate in Judge David Carter’s “overreach” in the homelessness lawsuit.

Mills asks about bonds, including school bonds.

Dwyer says he is not a fan of bonds.

The vote is 4-0 to recommend Dwyer for endorsement by the Central Committee.

Mike Posey for Huntington Beach City Council

Mike Posey was late to this meeting because he was hosting a town hall on CalPERS environmental social governance with Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) and CalPERS executives. It is his third town hall this year about Sacramento’s impact on local control in Huntington Beach. The first was about housing mandates, and particularly about SB 35 by Senator Scott Weiner (D-San Francisco), seizing control from local cities. Posey has an item to have The City Attorney explore ways around SB 35 and several other related pieces of legislation. The second town hall was about public safety, particularly AB 109, Proposition 47, and Proposition 57.

Hernandez moves to recommend endorsing

Weigand asks about the four endorsements the OC GOP could make in Huntington Beach.

Posey says he agrees with Erik Peterson 90% of the time. He says that 10% includes development. He says Peterson is an intractable opponent of development. Peterson attempted to overturn a development based on parking despite it meeting City parking requirements. He cannot recall a single vote by Peterson in favor of any development project.

Posey feels Billy O’Connell needs mentoring. O’Connell has recused himself on 50 votes, including 26 in one year, despite most of the votes not being conflicts of interest. For example, he even recused himself on a vote ending a business improvement district when the businesses asked for it, but then unrecused himself on the second reading. He recuses himself from all votes on downtown because he has a restaurant down there despite the restaurant being well outside a conflict distance.

Posey plans to endorse Barbara Delgleize. She is not a perfect vote but comes through on important votes. She was the only vote with him to oppose a Peterson-authored moratorium on development. He says she is an effective Councilmember. She is on OCTA. He has been upset with some of her votes, but supports her.

Weigand seconds Hernandez’s earlier motion to recommend supporting Posey.

Weigand asks generally about the field of candidates and wants Posey’s guidance. He expresses hope that Posey will run for higher office.

Posey says there are 12 challengers who can’t win in 2018 but could win in the future.

Posey likes CJ Ray, a 34-year-old attorney, who will probably be appointed to the Huntington Beach Personnel Commission. He thinks Ray has a bright future in 2020 or 2022.

Huang speaks generally about endorsements and Republican values.

Posey says Republicans are for private property rights and moderate development. He expresses his frustration with Sacramento. He says many of the anti-development approaches of his colleagues, like Peterson, could result in Sacramento intervention and greater loss of local control.

Central Committee Member Emily Sanford praises Posey’s record.

The vote is 4-0 to recommend Posey for endorsement by the Central Committee.

Prop 6

Weigand moves and Mills seconds to recommend the Central Committee endorse Proposition 6 to repeal the gas tax.

This passes 4-0 without discussion.

Newport Beach Debt Charter Amendment

Councilman Scott Peotter describes the prior City Council’s funding scheme involvinglease revenues and certificates of participation with a financing authority to get around a vote of the people on borrowing over $120 million for the “Taj Mahal” City Hall. The charter amendment will require 55% voter approval for any debt incurred over $50 million for lease revenues and certificates of participation. He wanted the amount to be $10 million, but he supports the charter amendment. He says the measure is the first of its kind but based in an existing concept. He says the State Constitution requires votes of the people for most high-dollar local government debt but missed lease revenues and certificates of participation.

Hernandez calls the City Hall debt “unconscionable.”

Peotter lists a litany of irresponsible actions by the prior City Council and City staff on debt for the “Taj MaCity Hall.”

Huang asks if the measure has an inflation escalator.

Peotter says that the limit is per-project (not aggregate) and is indexed to the Consumer Price Index. He says it has an “Act of God” exemption for catastrophes that could strike the city with gubernatorial or presidential emergency declarations, like earthquakes or tsunamis.

Mills moves and Hernandez seconds recommending the ballot measure for endorsement by the Central Committee.

The vote is 4-0 to recommend Yes on the Newport Beach Debt Charter Amendment.

The committee adjourns at 7:51 PM.

Posted in Republican Central Committee, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

OC’s Top Ten 2018 Primary Election Stories

Posted by Chris Nguyen on June 6, 2018

This is what $14 million of campaign spending looks like to average voters. My parents received nearly 100 pieces of mail from CD-39 candidates and IEs.

By contrast, here’s my paltry 6 pieces of mail from CD-45 laid out over the same section of my living room floor. I should note I did not include slates in either photo.

With 188,000 votes remaining to count in Orange County, here are the top ten OC Primary Election stories after the completion of the first night of results:

  1. DCCC Pulls It Off – Traditional Republican vs. Democrat General Elections Across the Board in Congress
    The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), House Majority PAC, and their allies managed to get their first-time candidates to the top two against a Republican elected official in all three Congressional Districts where Republicans threatened to take both of the top two slots, which would have shut Democrats out of the general election.In the 39th Congressional District being vacated by the retiring Ed Royce (R-Fullerton), where $14 million was spent, former Assemblywoman Young Kim (R-Fullerton) will face off against Lottery-Winning Philanthropist Gil Cisneros (D-Yorba Linda).  The DCCC spent over $2 million hitting Supervisor Shawn Nelson (R-Fullerton) and former Senator Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar) while their allied House Majority PAC spent $300,000 hitting Huff and promoting businessman Phil Liberatore (R-La Habra).  It worked well, as Liberatore is in third place.

    In the 48th Congressional District where $9.6 million was spent, incumbent Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach) will face off against a Democrat, either Harley Rouda (D-Laguna Beach) or Hans Kierstad (D-Laguna Beach), who are separated by a mere 73 votes.  The DCCC spent nearly $1.7 million hitting Baugh and promoting businessman John Gabbard (R-Laguna Beach).  It worked well as Baugh is in fourth place, 1,146 votes behind Keirstad while Gabbard is the next highest Republican.

    In the 49th Congressional District being vacated by the retiring Darrell Issa (R-Vista) where $15.5 million was spent, Board of Equalization Member Diane Harkey (R-Dana Point) will face off against a Democrat, either Attorney Mike Levin (D-San Juan Capistrano) or Qualcomm Heiress Sara Jacobs (D-Encinitas).  The DCCC spent almost $1.7 million hitting Assemblyman Rocky Chavez (R-Oceanside) knocking him to sixth place behind Harkey, three Democrats, and San Diego County Supervisor Kristin Gaspar (R-Encinitas).  To add insult to injury, six Republicans split the vote to succeed Chavez in the 76th Assembly District, such that the top two candidates for the 76th District are Democrats in a seat that had only seen Republicans in the general election since it was drawn in the last redistricting.  To add further insult to injury, one of those Democrats is…Elizabeth Warren (D-Oceanside).

  2. Senator Ling-Ling Chang Elected After Senator Newman Becomes Second Democrat Recalled from the Legislature in California History
    Senator Josh Newman becomes only the fifth State Legislator recalled in California history and only the second Democrat after Senator Edwin Grant was recalled in 1914.  (An interesting aside: in all five successful legislative recalls, the replacement elected was a Republican.)  Anger over Newman’s gas tax vote helped propel Newman to this historic position.

    Former Assemblywoman Ling-Ling Chang (R-Diamond Bar), who narrowly lost to Newman in 2016, now becomes Senator Ling-Ling Chang.

  3. Fourth Supervisorial District Way Too Close to Call
    Just 509 votes separate first place from third place in the Fourth Supervisorial District, where six candidates are vying to succeed the termed out Shawn Nelson (R-Fullerton).

    Mayor Tim Shaw (R-La Habra) and Mayor Doug Chaffee (D-Fullerton) are currently in the top two spots while Retired Fire Captain Joe Kerr (D-Placentia) is in the third spot.  Councilwoman Lucille Kring (R-Anaheim) is 1,364 votes behind Kerr.

  4. November Runoff, as District Attorney Tony Rackauckas Gets 39%, Supervisor Todd Spitzer 35%
    As expected, the four-way race for District Attorney sends incumbent Tony Rackauckas (R-San Clemente) into a runoff with Supervisor Todd Spitzer (R-Orange).

    Not as expected, Spitzer managed to drag Rackauckas down below 40%, which is by far, the lowest percentage won by any Countywide incumbent in decades (“Countywide” meaning elected officials voted on throughout the entire County; it excludes officials voted on in districts).

  5. Can Don Barnes Prevent a Runoff for Sheriff?
    Undersheriff Don Barnes sits atop 50.7% of the vote, far ahead of LA County Detective/Senior Investigator Duke Nguyen (D-Tustin) who has 30.0% and Retired Sergeant/Mayor Dave Harrington (R-Aliso Viejo) who has 19.3%.  Embarrassingly for Harrington, he even came in third place in Aliso Viejo, the city where is the Mayor.

    Barnes probably can hang on to his 50% to stop a runoff and become Sheriff-Elect, but if late absentees or provisionals break strongly enough against him, he could be forced into a runoff, but it is nearly impossible for someone who wins a nonpartisan primary by 20% to lose in the runoff, so the question is do we say “Sheriff-Elect Barnes” in June or in November.

  6. Diep Defeats Haskin in the 72nd Assembly District
    Councilman Tyler Diep (R-Westminster) defeated PepsiCo Government Relations Director Greg Haskin (R-Fountain Valley) in the 72nd District seat being vacated by Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach), who placed fourth in his race for Governor.  With Democrat Josh Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) getting 36.8% of the vote as the sole Democrat running, this seat will stay in Republican hands after Diep defeats Lowenthal in the runoff.

    The Democrats running against Assemblyman Steven Choi (R-Irvine), Assemblyman Bill Brough (R-Dana Point), and even Senate Republican Leader Pat Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) all achieved higher percentages than Lowenthal, and Choi, Brough, and Bates occupy some of the safest Republican seats in the Legislature.

  7. County Board of Education
    In the County Board of Education, conservatives and pro-charter groups easily retained the Trustee Area 5 seat being vacated by Linda Lindholm (R-Laguna Niguel), as Lisa Sparks (R-Newport Beach) won 56% in a five-way race beating the second place union-backed Democrat by 31%.

    There’s a nailbiter in Trustee Area 2 where pro-charter conservative Mari Barke (R-Los Alamitos) is ahead of incumbent David Boyd (D-Costa Mesa) by just 2,694 votes.

  8. The Four-Month Senator
    In an inexplicable act by the voters of the 32nd Senate District, the odds are high there will be a State Senator who serves from August 8-November 30 and a different Senator will take office in December.

    For the remaining four months of the seat vacated by disgraced Senator Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia), the candidates who made the top two are Rita Topalian (R) and Mayor Vanessa Delgado (D-Montebello); in third place is Mendoza (D-Artesia) himself followed by Councilman Bob Archuleta (D-Pico Rivera) in fourth.  For the regular four-year seat running from 2018-2022, the candidates who made the top two are Topalian (R) and Archuleta (D-Pico Rivera), with Delgado (D-Montebello) third and Mendoza (D-Artesia) fourth.  Archuleta is the prohibitive front-runner in this safe Democratic seat when voters cast their ballots in the November 2018 general election.  For the August 8-November 30 seat, Topalian and Delgado will face off in an August 7 special election.  Then on November 6, voters will elect their Senator for the 2018-2022 term, presumably Archuleta.

    Awkwardly, this August 8-November 30 Senator won’t be able to accomplish much because the legislative session ends on August 31.  This also means the 32nd Senate District will have three Senators in one year: Mendoza through February 22, Topalian or Delgado from August 8-November 30, and Archuleta in December.

  9. Irvine Measure B Fails
    Despite bipartisan backing from both the Republican Party of Orange County and the Democratic Party of Orange County along with the backing of virtually every elected official, Measure B fails in a landslide, with just 37% in favor.

    Now, $10 million has to be found to clean up an unsuitable site for a veterans cemetery or else no veterans cemetery will be built.  Had Measure B passed, the veterans cemetery could have begun at the suitable strawberry field site.

  10. Westminster Voters Give Mayor 4-Year Term
    Westminster voters decided to make their city the second in Orange County (after Anaheim) to have a 4-year mayoral term.

Posted in 29th Senate District, 32nd Senate District, 39th Congressional District, 48th Congressional District, 49th Congressional District, 4th Supervisorial District, 72nd Assembly District, Irvine, Orange County Board of Education, Orange County District Attorney's Office, Orange County Sheriff, Westminster | 2 Comments »

OC’s Closest Races: CD-48, BOS-4, OCBE-2

Posted by Chris Nguyen on June 5, 2018

OC’s closest race is the 4th Supervisorial District, where a mere 59 votes (0.2%) separate 1st from 3rd place and 540 votes (2.1%) separate 1st from 4th place.  This one will be a barn burner as the candidates battle to make the run-off to succeed termed-out Supervisor Shawn Nelson (R-Fullerton).

County Supervisor 4th District
Completed Precincts: 66 of 299
Vote Count Percentage
JOE KERR (DEM) 5,510 21.2%
TIM SHAW (REP) 5,468 21.0%
DOUG CHAFFEE (DEM) 5,451 21.0%
LUCILLE KRING (REP) 4,970 19.1%
ROSE ESPINOZA (DEM) 2,548 9.8%
CYNTHIA AGUIRRE (DEM) 2,034 7.8%

In the Orange County Board of Education, Trustee Area 2, just 137 votes (0.4%) separate 1st from 2nd place.  This one does not have a run-off.  Whoever has the plurality in June will win this seat.

Member, County Board of Education Trustee Area 2
Completed Precincts: 42 of 340
Vote Count Percentage
* DAVID L. BOYD (DEM) 14,306 38.3%
MARI BARKE (REP) 14,169 37.9%
MATT NGUYEN (DEM) 8,876 23.8%

* Indicates Incumbent Candidate

In the 48th Congressional District, incumbent Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach) is clearly in first place.  However, the race to make the top two in November against him is separated by just 387 votes (0.7%) between Hans Keirstead (D-Laguna Beach) and Scott Baugh (R-Huntington Beach).  The California Democratic Party had endorsed Keirstead, yet the (National) Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee backed Harley Rouda (D-Laguna Beach), who is currently running fourth.

UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE 48th District
Completed Precincts: 48 of 415
Vote Count Percentage
* DANA ROHRABACHER (REP) 16,755 29.7%
HANS KEIRSTEAD (DEM) 10,539 18.7%
SCOTT BAUGH (REP) 10,152 18.0%
HARLEY ROUDA (DEM) 8,149 14.5%
OMAR A. SIDDIQUI (DEM) 2,701 4.8%
RACHEL PAYNE (DEM) 1,414 2.5%
JOHN GABBARD (REP) 1,402 2.5%
PAUL MARTIN (REP) 938 1.7%
LAURA OATMAN (DEM) 881 1.6%
MICHAEL KOTICK (DEM) 868 1.5%
SHASTINA SANDMAN (REP) 858 1.5%
TONY ZARKADES (DEM) 470 0.8%
DEANIE SCHAARSMITH (DEM) 459 0.8%
BRANDON REISER (LIB) 303 0.5%
STELIAN ONUFREI (REP) 241 0.4%
KEVIN KENSINGER 206 0.4%

* Indicates Incumbent Candidate

Posted in 48th Congressional District, 4th Supervisorial District, Orange County Board of Education | Leave a Comment »

CD-39: Kim and Cisneros Early Leaders, Liberatore Surprising 3rd

Posted by Chris Nguyen on June 5, 2018

In early absentees in the race to succeed Congressman Ed Royce (R-Fullerton) in the 39th Congressional District, former Assemblywoman Young Kim (R-Fullerton) is a strong first place while lottery-winning philanthropist Gil Cisneros (D-Yorba Linda) has a small, but not insignificant, lead for second place.  Shockingly, the best hope of a Republican-on-Republican contest appears to be not former Senator Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar) nor Orange County Supervisor Shawn Nelson (R-Fullerton), but rather Businessman Phil Liberatore (R-La Habra).  It appears Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spending $2.1 million to help Cisneros and attack Huff and Nelson was effective with early absentee voters, as was $310,000 of (Democratic) House Majority PAC spending that attacked Huff and boosted Liberatore.

I’m not listing all 17 candidates, just the top 8:

Districtwide Orange San Bernardino Los Angeles
Young Kim (R) 9656 26% 7632 607 1417
Gil Cisneros (D) 6060 16% 4205 573 1282
Phil Liberatore (R) 4577 12% 3190 704 683
Andy Thorburn (D) 2936 8% 2009 338 589
Shawn Nelson (R) 2894 8% 2262 206 426
Bob Huff (R) 2464 7% 1227 390 847
Sam Jammal (D) 1872 5% 1470 138 264

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

CD-49: Harkey Strong 1st, Dead Heat Between Levin and Jacobs

Posted by Chris Nguyen on June 5, 2018

I’m not listing all 16 candidates, but here are the top five in the 49th Congressional District in the race to succeed Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Vista).

Districtwide Orange San Diego
Diane Harkey (R) 16,471 24.5% 4,869 11,602
Mike Levin (D) 11,189 16.7% 2,933 8,256
Sara Jacobs (D) 10,288 15.3% 1,835 8,453
Doug Applegate (D) 8,956 13.3% 1,196 7,760
Kristin Gaspar (R) 6,311 9.4% 1,056 5,255

Board of Equalization Member Diane Harkey (R-Dana Point) is strong in the returns of the early absentees.  Attorney Mike Levin (D-San Juan Capistrano) and Qualcomm Heiress Sara Jacobs (D-Encinitas) are each running second in their home county and third in the other county.  A Republican-on-Republican general election is unlikely barring a major seachange with poll voters, late absentees, and provisionals.

One item of concern for Republicans: 32,353 early absentee ballots were cast for Republican candidates while 31,705 early absentee ballots were cast for Democratic candidates.

Posted in 49th Congressional District | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

OC’s Top 10 Races to Watch

Posted by Chris Nguyen on June 5, 2018

Here are OC’s top 10 races to watch tonight when the polls close at 8:00 PM, and the Registrar of Voters begins reporting results at 8:05 PM, 9:30 PM, and then every half-hour after that until 1:00 AM.

The Big Three: Congress

  1. 39th Congressional District
    This could well be the most chaotic seat in the country.  There are 17 candidates running, and only two can advance to November to succeed retiring Congressman Ed Royce (R-Fullerton).  A whopping $14 million has been spent in this primary, as this is one of the most competitive seats in the country, but it is entirely possible that two Republicans could make the top two, thereby turning a highly competitive seat into a guaranteed Republican win in November.  Democrats have spent millions trying to make sure one of their self-funding first-time candidates makes the top two while Republicans have spent millions trying to make sure two of their elected officials take both of the top two slots.  The front-runners (in alphabetical order) are lottery-winning philanthropist Gil Cisneros (D-Yorba Linda), former State Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar), former State Assemblywoman Young Kim (R-Fullerton), Orange County Supervisor Shawn Nelson (R-Fullerton), and businessman Andy Thorburn (R-Villa Park).

    Of the $14 million spent in this seat, the candidates’ campaigns spent over $10.6 million while there has been nearly $3.4 million in Independent Expenditure (IE) spending from PACs and other outside groups. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) alone spent nearly $2.1 million, with more than $829,000 against Huff, nearly $679,000 against Nelson, and over $560,000 supporting Cisneros.

  2. 49th Congressional District
    The 49th District was the closest Congressional race in the country in 2016, when Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Vista) won re-election over Retired Colonel Doug Applegate (D-Oceanside) by 0.5%.  A staggering $15.5 million has been spent in this seat.  While it is possible for two Republicans to make the top two, it is more likely that this one will be a traditional Republican vs. Democrat race in November.  As in the 39th, Democrats have spent millions trying to make sure one of their self-funding never-before-elected candidates makes the top two while Republicans have spent millions trying to make sure two of their elected officials take both of the top two slots.  The front-runners (in alphabetical order) are 2016 Candidate Doug Applegate (D-Oceanside), Assemblyman Rocky Chavez (R-Oceanside), Board of Equalization Member Diane Harkey (R-Dana Point), Qualcomm Heiress Sara Jacobs (D-Encinitas), Real Estate Investor Paul Kerr (D-Rancho Santa Fe), and Attorney Mike Levin (D-San Juan Capistrano).

    Of the $15.5 million spent in this seat, the candidates’ campaigns spent nearly $9.6 million while there has been over $5.9 million in IE spending from PACs and other outside groups.  Women Vote! has spent nearly $2.3 million alone to support Jacobs.  The DCCC spent nearly $1.7 million against Chavez.

  3. 48th Congressional District
    The 48th Congressional District race was upended when former Assembly Republican Leader and OC GOP Chairman Scott Baugh (R-Huntington Beach) jumped in the race against Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach).  A relative piker compared to the 39th and 49th, “only” $9.6 million has been spent in this seat.  While it is possible for two Republicans to make the top two, it is more likely that this one will be a traditional Republican vs. Democrat race in November.  As in the 39th and 49th, Democrats have spent millions trying to make sure one of their self-funding first-time candidates makes the top two while Republicans have spent millions trying to make sure two of their elected officials take both of the top two slots.  Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach) is widely expected to win the plurality of the vote.  The three candidates vying for the second slot (in alphabetical order) are Baugh (R-Huntington Beach), Scientist Hans Hans Keirstead (D-Laguna Beach), and Businessman Harley Rouda (D-Laguna Beach).

    Of the $9.6 million spent in this seat, the candidates’ campaigns spent nearly $5.3 million while there has been nearly $4.3 million in IE spending from PACs and other outside groups.  The DCCC alone spent over $1.8 million, with nearly $1.7 million against Baugh and $137,000 to promote Republican Businessman John Gabbard (R) in an attempt to siphon votes from Baugh.  Gabbard has condemned the DCCC’s spending.

Would-Normally-Be-The Big Three if Congress Hadn’t Descended Into Chaos

  1. 29th Senate District Recall
    Will Josh Newman (D-Fullerton) survive the recall?  What would ordinarily be one of the biggest races in the state has seen both pro-recall and anti-recall forces battling just to get voter attention, as the millions spent in SD-29 have been swamped by the mega-spending 39th Congressional District, with more than 2/3 of all SD-29 voters residing in CD-39.
  2. 72nd Assembly District
    As the sole Democrat in the race FreeConferenceCall.com President Josh Lowenthal (D-Huntington Beach) is expected to win the plurality in his race against 4 Republicans to replace Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach) who is leaving this seat to run for Governor.  The two leading Republicans are Councilman Tyler Diep (R-Westminster) and former OC GOP Executive Director/current Pepsico Government Affairs Director Greg Haskin (R-Fountain Valley).  Diep and Haskin spent over $650,000 combined, a healthy sum for an Assembly race.  Unfortunately for them, they were swamped by the mega-spending 48th Congressional District, with more than 62% of all AD-72 voters residing in CD-48.
  3. 4th Supervisorial District
    In the race to succeed termed out Supervisor Shawn Nelson, the candidates in this race got drowned out by the 39th Congressional District and the 29th Senate District Recall Election.  Retired Fire Captain Joe Kerr (D-Placentia) and Mayor Tim Shaw (R-La Habra) are the endorsed candidates of their respective political parties.  However, Mayor Doug Chaffee (D-Fullerton) and Councilwoman Lucille Kring (R-Anaheim) came roaring in after their parties endorsed with spending to match Kerr and Shaw and outsized name ID from years in elected office in the two largest cities in the district.  Unfortunately for them all, they were swamped by both the mega-spending 39th Congressional District and the high-spending 29th Senate District recall, with nearly 62% of all BOS-4 voters residing in CD-39 and almost 85% of BOS-4 voters residing in SD-29.

The Rest of the Top 10

  1. 32nd Senate District
    This is the race that OC forgot, as only Buena Park lies in the LA County-based 32nd Senate District.  This is the seat vacated by Senator Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) who resigned in the wake of a sexual harassment scandal.  Mendoza filed to run for his old seat in hopes voters will send him back to the Senate.  The anti-Mendoza vote among just Democrats is split between two Mayors, two City Councilmembers, a Community College Board Member, and a former Assemblyman.  There are exactly two Republicans running.  This chaos could well send Mendoza back into the top two – and possibly against a Republican.  It is unclear what would happen if the top two were Mendoza and a Republican in this strongly Democratic district.  Also, voters have to cast two votes for this seat: one for the special primary election today for the six months remaining on Mendoza’s term when he resigned and one for the regular primary election today for the four years of the 2018-2022 term on the seat.
  2. District Attorney
    When a County Supervisor with high Countywide name ID and a campaign warchest far exceeding $1 million decides to challenge the sitting District Attorney’s re-election bid, how could this not be a major race? Virtually everyone expects this to go to a run-off, including the candidates themselves judging by their campaign spending.   While Supervisor Todd Spitzer (R-Orange) spend several hundred thousand dollars on mail and slates, he appears to be holding $900,000 back for a run-off.  District Attorney Tony Rackauckas (R-San Clemente) seemed to have only bought slates and digital advertising for the primary.
  3. Sheriff
    Undersheriff Don Barnes (R-Lake Forest) is the front-runner to succeed Sheriff Sandra Hutchens.  The question is whether Retired Sergeant/Mayor Dave Harrington (R-Aliso Viejo) and Detective/Senior Investigator Duke Nguyen (D-Tustin) can pull enough of the vote to prevent Barnes from getting to 50%.  Harrington has relied heavily on slates while Nguyen has done direct mail to Democrats.
  4. County Board of Education, Trustee Area 5
    For eight straight elections, the incumbent was elected time and time again, even defeating future Assemblymen Chuck DeVore (R-Irvine) and Don Wagner (R-Irvine) for this seat.  Yet, now for the second election in a row, the voters will be electing a new trustee. In 2014, Linda Lindholm (R-Laguna Niguel) knocked off 32-year Incumbent Liz Parker (R-Costa Mesa), who was running for a ninth term.  Parker had been elected to the County Board of Education the same month she graduated from UCLA at the age of 22.  After a single 4-year term, Lindholm chose not to run for re-election.  Chapman University Dean Lisa Sparks (R-Newport Beach) is the front-runner to succeed Lindholm.

Snoozer in June, Battle in November

  • 45th Congressional District
    Congresswoman Mimi Walters (R-Irvine) is the sole Republican in the race.  The question is which Democrat will face off against Walters?  This is the safest of the four OC Congressional seats held by a Republican.
  • 34th Senate District
    Former Assemblyman Tom Umberg (D-Villa Park) is almost certainly the Democrats’ standard-bearer against Senator Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove).  Nguyen beat Umberg 11 years ago in the race for County Supervisor when front-running Umberg fell to third behind two candidates named Nguyen.  As a non-incumbent, Nguyen handily won the Senate seat in 2014 against former Assemblyman Jose Solorio (D-Santa Ana), who was a stronger candidate than Umberg.
  • 65th Assembly District
    Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton) and former County Board of Education Trustee Alexandria Coronado (R-Cypress) are the only candidates on the ballot in June, so they will both advance to November due to the Top Two rule for Legislative and Congressional races.

Near-Snoozers

  • 55th Assembly District
    This one should be a snoozer, but it gets awkward if a second Republican gets into the top two with Assemblyman Phillip Chen (R-Diamond Bar) since there’s two Democrats running who could split the vote, allowing a Republican to slip into second behind Chen.
  • 74th Assembly District
    This one should be a snoozer, but it gets awkward if “Republican” Katherine Daigle (R-Irvine) gets into the top two with Assemblyman Matthew Harper (R-Huntington Beach) since there’s three Democrats running who could split the vote.
  • Assessor
    With two opponents, there’s a tiny chance Assessor Claude Parrish (R-Tustin) could be forced into a run-off, but it is more likely he breaks 60%.
  • County Board of Education, Trustee Area 2
    While there has been immense spending by charter schools for Mari Barke (R-Los Alamitos), there has also been immense spending by unions for David Boyd (D-Costa Mesa).  However, while this spending is immense in a school board race, it’s not much compared to the spending in a Congressional race or an Assembly race.  Most of this trustee area was drowned out by the 48th Congressional District and the 72nd Assembly District.  Additionally, there’s a third candidate, Matt Nguyen (D-Westminster), who will split the anti-incumbent vote, but unlike most other seats on the June ballot, there’s no run-off for County Board of Education.

Total Snoozer That Could Have Been Interesting

  • 73rd Assembly District
    For some reason, Mayor Ed Sachs (R-Mission Viejo) raised and spent literally nothing in his bid to unseat Assemblyman Bill Brough (R-Dana Point).  Sachs’s campaign finance reports show he didn’t raise or spend a single dollar after paying to get on the ballot.  Had Sachs actually spent money, the 73rd could have been interesting.

Total Snoozers

  • Judge Ted Howard, Supervisor Michelle Steel (R-Sunset Beach), Auditor-Controller Eric Woolery (R-Orange), and Clerk-Recorder Hugh Nguyen (R-Santa Ana) will cruise to victory in June, probably each with more than 70% of the vote. 38th District Congresswoman Linda Sanchez (D-Lakewood), 46th District Congressman Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana), 47th District Congressman Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach), 36th District Senator Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel), and 68th District Assemblyman Steven Choi (R-Irvine) will cruise to victory in November; they can’t end their elections in June due to the Top Two rule for Legislative and Congressional races.

Virtually Unopposed

  • 69th District Assemblyman Tom Daly (D-Anaheim) has one opponent: Libertarian write-in candidate Autumn Browne (L-Santa Ana).  She will come in second and appear on the ballot in November.

Unopposed

  • Superintendent Al Mijares (R-Tustin), Supervisor Lisa Bartlett (R-Dana Point), and Treasurer Shari Freidenrich (R-Huntington Beach) are literally unopposed.  As long as at least one person in all of Orange County (or the 5th Supervisorial District) remembers to vote for each of them, they’ll all be re-elected.

(In the interest of full disclosure, Choi and Woolery are clients of Western American, the firm that owns this blog.  For his City Council campaign, Sachs retained Custom Campaigns, the defunct firm that previously owned this blog, as did Lindholm for her County Board of Education race.  The writer of this article is Spitzer’s alternate on the Republican Central Committee and is the Legislative Manager in Woolery’s office.  Finally, the writer of this article is [as far as he knows] not related to Janet Nguyen, Matt Nguyen, or Hugh Nguyen.  Nguyen is the most common Vietnamese last name, held by 36% of Vietnamese people.)

Posted in 29th Senate District, 2nd Supervisorial District, 32nd Senate District, 34th Senate District, 36th Senate District, 38th Congressional District, 39th Congressional District, 45th Congressional District, 46th Congressional District, 47th Congressional District, 48th Congressional District, 49th Congressional District, 4th Supervisorial District, 55th Assembly District, 5th Supervisorial District, 65th Assembly District, 68th Assembly District, 69th Assembly District, 72nd Assembly District, 73rd Assembly District, 74th Assembly District, Independent Expenditures, Orange County Assessor, Orange County Auditor-Controller, Orange County Board of Education, Orange County Clerk-Recorder, Orange County District Attorney's Office, Orange County Sheriff, Orange County Treasurer-Tax Collector | Leave a Comment »

OC’s Best Ballot Designations, 2018 Primary Edition

Posted by Chris Nguyen on June 2, 2018

Ballot designations are the only piece of information that appear directly on the ballot other than a candidate’s name (and sometimes, political party).

Yesterday was OC Political’s coverage about OC’s worst ballot designations.  Today, we’ll talk about OC’s best ballot designations.

As noted yesterday, “One of the most important things a candidate does in a California election may well be selecting a ballot designation. That short phrase below a candidate’s name is the very last piece of information that every voter sees before casting their ballots. Additionally in low-profile races, that short phrase could well be the only piece of information that voters see about a candidate before casting their ballots. California’s unique ballot designation system has even received coverage in the national press, such as this 2016 article in The Hill.”

Just a reminder, appearance on this list has nothing to do with whether the candidate is great or terrible, whether the campaign is well-run or poorly-run, whether the campaign is well-funded or underfunded, or whether I personally like the candidate or hate the candidate; it’s simply commentary on their ballot designation.

(Sadly, this post won’t be anywhere near as funny as yesterday’s post on OC’s worst ballot designations.)

Elected officials’ ballot designations are an inherent advantage, so this article excludes the designations of elected officials.  Even in the worst years of anti-incumbency, incumbency remains an inherent advantage.  Incumbents win 90% of the time typically, and even in anti-incumbent years, we still see 75% of incumbents re-elected.

Also as with the list of worst ballot designations, we will not be including statewide races, partly because Brenda Higgins and Craig Alexander have been beating the dead horse of the Governor’s race this morning on OC Political (and the past month) and partly because we didn’t include statewide races on the worst ballot designation list.  We are only covering County seats or State/Federal districts that include OC. Without further ado:

OC’s Ten Best Ballot Designations (for Non-Incumbents/Non-Elected Officials)

  1. Orange County Undersheriff (Don Barnes in the Sheriff’s race)
    It doesn’t get much better than this when you’re running for Sheriff.  This is as close to an incumbent ballot designation as it gets.
  2. Deputy Assessor (Richard B. Ramirez in the Assessor’s race)
    This is a great ballot designation when you’re running for Assessor.  Unfortunately, for Ramirez, there is someone with a much better ballot designation in the race: Orange County Assessor Claude Parrish.  (Parrish’s designation just wasn’t eligible for this list since we are excluding the designations of elected officials.)
  3. University Dean/Professor (Lisa Sparks in the County Board of Education, Trustee Area 5)
    Everyone running for school board wants an education-related ballot designation.  However, “University Dean” is one of the most impressive ones available, showing both teaching and leadership experience at the highest levels of education.  The only better ones I’ve ever seen are “University President” (David Boyd when he first ran for County Board of Education, Trustee Area 2 in 2010) and iterations of Superintendent.
  4. Retired Fire Captain (Joe Kerr in the 4th Supervisorial District)
    Voters respect firefighters.  Fire Captain shows leadership experience.  Kerr’s tough battle is two of his opponents are mayors and two are councilmembers; it’s just their designations weren’t eligible for this list since we are excluding the designations of elected officials.
  5. Victims’ Rights Attorney (Brett Murdock in the District Attorney’s race)
    Voters have great sympathy victims and great respect for victims’ rights, and few offices are better-equipped to help victims than the District Attorney.  Unfortunately for Murdock, two of his opponents have better ballot designations: Orange County District Attorney and Orange County Supervisor/Attorney.  (Their designations just weren’t eligible for this list since we are excluding the designations of elected officials.)
  6. FBI Advisor/Attorney (Omar Siddiqui in the 48th Congressional District)
    This one is intriguing.  In yesterday’s worst ballot designations, I wrote “Unless you’re running for Attorney General, Superior Court Judge, or District Attorney, there is no value in using attorney as your ballot designation: think about all the insulting things people say about attorneys. There are some modifiers that make great exceptions…” Well, FBI Advisor/Attorney is a great exception.  It makes Siddiqui look almost like a prosecutor, and voters love prosecutors.  (Though Siddiqui’s ballot designation is strong, his problem is how much better-funded his four opponents are, including the incumbent.)
  7. Fraud Investigator/Businessman (Russell Rene Lambert in the 46th Congressional District)
    This one is also intriguing.  A “Fraud Investigator” has a certain degree of expertise.  It lends itself well to a government reformer message.  Unfortunately, for Lambert, party registration is very slanted against him in his district for this partisan seat and the fact that there is someone with a much better ballot designation in the race: United States Congressmember Lou Correa.  (Correa’s designation just wasn’t eligible for this list since we are excluding the designations of elected officials.)
  8. Orange County Business Owner (Scott Baugh in the 48th Congressional District and Greg Haskin in the 72nd Assembly District)
    This is a different spin on the usually strong ballot designation of Small Business Owner.  Adding “Orange County” makes it clear the candidate’s business is in Orange County, so they’re employing people locally.  The challenge for Republicans Baugh and Haskin is each of them are facing off against a Republican elected official: Congressman Dana Rohrabacher and Councilman Tyler Diep; plus there are well-funded Democrats for both seats.  (Rohrabacher and Diep’s designations just weren’t eligible for this list since we are excluding the designations of elected officials.)
  9. Entrepreneur/Company President (Josh Lowenthal in the 72nd Assembly District)
    There’s some good advice going on in the 72nd Assembly District when two of the candidates make this list and a third was simply ineligible because we are excluding the designations of elected officials.  With Company President, FreeConferenceCall.com President Josh Lowenthal has conveyed to voters that he is not only a businessman but a rather successful one, and with the Entrepreneur portion, he’s showing he’s a self-made businessman.
  10. Technology CEO/Entrepreneur (Rachel Payne in the 48th Congressional District)
    See above.

Posted in 46th Congressional District, 48th Congressional District, 4th Supervisorial District, Orange County Assessor, Orange County Board of Education, Orange County District Attorney's Office, Orange County Sheriff | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

OC’s Worst Ballot Designations, 2018 Primary Edition

Posted by Chris Nguyen on June 1, 2018

Ballot designations are the only piece of information that appear directly on the ballot other than a candidate's name.

Ballot designations are the only piece of information that appear directly on the ballot other than a candidate’s name (and sometimes, political party).

One of the most important things a candidate does in a California election may well be selecting a ballot designation. That short phrase below a candidate’s name is the very last piece of information that every voter sees before casting their ballots. Additionally in low-profile races, that short phrase could well be the only piece of information that voters see about a candidate before casting their ballots.

California’s unique ballot designation system has even received coverage in the national press, such as this 2016 article in The Hill.

In many elections, OC Political reports on the worst and best ballot designations on the ballot. Tomorrow, we’ll cover OC’s best ballot designations. Today, we’re reporting on the worst designations on OC’s primary election ballot. We are not including statewide races because there are too many ridiculous ones, the Governor’s race alone has Entrepreneur/Transhumanist Lecturer Zoltan Istvan, Puppeteer/Musician Christopher Carlson, and Marketplace Minister Jeffrey Taylor. We are only covering County seats or State/Federal districts that include OC. Without further ado:
OC’s Ten Worst Ballot Designations

I would be shocked if any of these people with truly awful ballot designations win:

  1. Carpenter/Boxing Coach (David Castellanos in the 32nd Senate District)
    What special skills does a carpenter or a boxing coach bring to being a Senator? As entertaining as it might be, it seems unwise to have legislators start boxing each other to determine if bills pass or fail.
  2. Driver/Caregiver (Will Johnson in the 46th Congressional District)
    What special skills does a driver bring to being a Member of Congress? While caregivers provide a very important service, what does that service have to do with being a Congressional Representative?
  3. Surgeon/Businessman/Artist (Robert Pendleton in the 49th Congressional District)
    What do you do for a living? Could you find three more different professions? How do you even find the time to do all these jobs?
  4. Trust Litigation Attorney (Nathaniel Fernandez Epstein in Assessor)
    Unless you’re running for Attorney General, Superior Court Judge, or District Attorney, there is no value in using attorney as your ballot designation: think about all the insulting things people say about attorneys. There are some modifiers that make great exceptions: Deputy District Attorney and US Attorney are great designations. However, some modifiers make it worse. When average voters hear “Trust Litigation Attorney,” they think “Spoiled Rich Heirs’ Attorney.”
  5. Mortgage Lender (Dan Draitser in County Board of Education Trustee Area 5)
    I don’t get warm fuzzy feelings when I think about all the paperwork I had to fill out to get my mortgage. It makes even less sense to use “Mortgage Lender” as a ballot designation when running for School Board. What does a mortgage have to do with schools? All four of his opponents wisely found education-related ballot designations.
  6. Airline Pilot (Tony Zarkades in the 48th Congressional District)
    Are you Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger who piloted the Miracle on the Hudson? Are you Tammie Jo Shults who landed the Southwest flight with the engine that exploded? If you are not one of them, you should not use airline pilot as your ballot designation. What does being a pilot have to do with being in Congress? “Fighter Pilot” is a great ballot designation, but “Airline Pilot” is not. This is especially true in the 48th Congressional District where Newport Beach residents resent airline noise from John Wayne Airport.
  7. eCommerce Consultant (Kevin Carr in the 29th Senate District Recall Replacement Election)
    At a time when people are worried about data breaches from big Internet companies, eCommerce Consultant doesn’t exactly instill trust.
  8. IT Project Manager (Ed Rushman in the 46th Congressional District)
    What does an IT Project Manager bring to the table in running for Congress?
  9. Licensed Investment Professional (Kevin Kensinger in the 48th Congressional District)
    Nothing warms the hearts of the electorate like investment professionals. Think of all the movies about investment professionals: Gordon Gekko, The Wolf of Wall Street, and The Big Short. Public perception is generally negative, like for attorneys, where people dislike the profession despite their own positive experiences with their individual investment professional. Additionally, what does “Licensed” add to this? Is this assurance that he’s not a rogue, illegal investment professional?
  10. Business Investor (Scott Lebda in the 55th Assembly District)
    What exactly does an investor bring to the table in the State Assembly? Further, when has an “investor” given the electorate warm, fuzzy feelings?

(Dis)Honorable Mentions

These two ballot designations wouldn’t normally make the list of worst ballot designations. However, they get a (dis)honorable mention here because of the specific circumstances described below.

  • La Mirada City Councilman (Andrew Sarega in the 39th Congressional District)
    Ordinarily, City Councilman is a great ballot designation. However, when La Mirada is not in the 39th Congressional District, who are you trying to appeal to with “La Mirada City Councilman” as your ballot designation?
  • Budget Analyst (Cynthia Aguirre in the 4th Supervisorial District)
    “Budget Analyst” isn’t terrible or great. It’s an okay designation that would usually not make the best or worst ballot designation list. However, Aguirre is an elected school board member in the La Habra City School District. If you are an elected School Board Member, why would you not use “School Board Member” as your ballot designation? That is a much stronger designation when running for office.

Posted in 29th Senate District, 32nd Senate District, 46th Congressional District, 48th Congressional District, 49th Congressional District, 4th Supervisorial District, 55th Assembly District, Orange County Assessor, Orange County Board of Education | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Party Affiliations of Everyone Running for Everything on June 5

Posted by Chris Nguyen on May 31, 2018

In prior elections, some of the most popular articles on OC Political in the run-up to elections are the ones identifying the partisan affiliations of candidates on the ballot.  So back by popular demand, OC Political presents the political party affiliations of everyone running for everything on the June 5, 2018 Primary Election ballot in Orange County.

(Okay, this list is not everyone running for literally everything; it is everyone running for offices whose party affiliations are not shown on the ballot.  If you want to know the party affiliation of candidates for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Senate, House of Representatives, State Legislature, etc., just look on your ballot.)

Superior Court Judge, Office No. 13

  • Franklin Dunn – Republican
  • Theodore R. “Ted” Howard – Republican

Superintendent of Public Instruction

  • Steven Ireland – Democrat
  • Lily (Espinoza) Ploski – No Party Preference
  • Tony K. Thurmond – Democrat
  • Marshall Tuck – Democrat

County Superintendent of Schools

  • Al Mijares – Republican

County Board of Education, Area 2

  • Mari Barke – Republican
  • David L. Boyd – Democrat
  • Matt Nguyen – Democrat

County Board of Education, Area 5

  • Kimberly Clark – No Party Preference
  • Mike Dalati – Democrat
  • Dan Draitser – American Independent
  • Mary Navarro – Democrat
  • Lisa Sparks – Republican

Supervisor, 2nd District

  • Michael Mahony – Libertarian
  • Brendon Perkins – Democrat
  • Michelle Steel – Republican

Supervisor, 4th District

  • Cynthia Aguirre – Democrat
  • Doug Chaffee – Democrat
  • Rose Espinoza – Democrat
  • Joe Kerr – Democrat
  • Lucille Kring – Republican
  • Tim Shaw – Republican

Supervisor, 5th District

  • Lisa Bartlett – Republican

Assessor

  • Nathaniel Fernandez Epstein – Democrat
  • Claude Parrish – Republican
  • Richard B. Ramirez – Republican

Auditor-Controller

  • Toni Smart – American Independent
  • Eric H. Woolery – Republican

Clerk-Recorder

  • Hugh Nguyen – Republican
  • Steve Rocco – No Party Preference

District Attorney-Public Administrator

  • Lenore Albert-Sheridan – Democrat
  • Brett Murdock – Democrat
  • Tony Rackauckas – Republican
  • Todd Spitzer – Republican

Sheriff-Coroner

  • Don Barnes – Republican
  • David C. Harrington – Republican
  • Duke Nguyen – Democrat

Treasurer-Tax Collector

  • Shari L. Freidenrich – Republican

Posted in 2nd Supervisorial District, 4th Supervisorial District, 5th Supervisorial District, Orange County, Orange County Assessor, Orange County Auditor-Controller, Orange County Board of Education, Orange County Clerk-Recorder, Orange County District Attorney's Office, Orange County Sheriff, Orange County Treasurer-Tax Collector | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Live from the CD-39 Forum at OC GOP Central Committee

Posted by Chris Nguyen on May 21, 2018

We are live from the OC GOP Central Committee, where the top four Republican candidates for the 39th Congressional District are here:

The alphabet is favorable to former Senator Bob Huff. Huff notes the large 17-candidate field and Democrats’ efforts to take the seat. He speaks of his service in the legislature and local government: he notes his 9 years in nonpartisan office and 12 years in partisan office. He notes his leadership positions. He notes he represented 82% of CD-39 in the State Senate. He carried legislation allowing carpool lanes to no longer have double yellow lines. He speaks of carrying legislation to help public safety projects locally. He states he has a track record of getting things done. He notes his former staffers who are holding office: Santa Ana Unified School District Trustee Cecilia Iglesias and La Habra Mayor Tim Shaw running for Supervisor.

Former Assemblywoman Young Kim thanks the audience. She speaks of being an immigrant who came to the United States with her parents. She was born after the Korean War in South Korea and speaks of the hard work and determination instilled in her by her parents. She speaks of her husband and four grown children. She says she has achieved the American Dream. She collected cans and bottles in Guam, went to high school in Hawaii, and graduated from college in California. She worked in the private sector as a controller and then went to work for State Senator Ed Royce. She continued to work with him when he was elected to Congress. She states she got to work on foreign policy with him as an interlocutor on the Interparliamentary Group, including in the Six-Party Talks. She was elected to the State Assembly, breaking the 2/3 supermajority held by Democrats. She speaks of her record in the Assembly, including never voting for a tax increase. She says every indication shows she is in the lead for the 39th Congressional District.

Supervisor Shawn Nelson recounts how he was the first guy in Orange County to raise the alarm about pensions. He says the carpetbombing between Nelson and Huff looks like the one from his Supervisorial race. He notes Orange County has the lowest pension formula in the State. He speaks of reforms at OCTA and Metrolink. He says no one has the right to coronate the next Member of Congress: the seat belongs to the voters. He says he has lived in the 39th Congressional District his entire life. As Supervisor, he pushed for Orange County to join the lawsuit against the Sanctuary State law, the first county to do so. He speaks of Orange County doing more for homelessness in the past several years than any other county. He speaks of infrastructure projects, including the 405 Freeway expansion. He notes the Democrats are panicking right now, and that there can be two Republicans in the top two if the votes are not overly split.

Councilman Steve Vargas thanks his wife. He worked for Chevron. He is originally from New York City, which was attacked on September 11. He is a Navy Reservist. He says he has fought for conservatism in North County. He thanks the Yorba Linda Council for their efforts with the North County GOP office in Yorba Linda. He says the other Republicans were running for other offices while he has done his time. He says six multimillionaire Democrats are attacking each other, doing Republicans’ job for them.

Kermit Marsh asks each candidate if they would endorse the Republican nominee if there is only one Republican in the general election.

Huff, Kim, Nelson, and Vargas all agree to do so.

Andy Whallon asks how each candidate would have voted on the federal budget, like Royce did.

Kim said she would need to look at the budget bill. She would have wanted more middle class tax cuts and protected the SALT deduction. She would vote for the bill only if it helped her district.

Nelson would have voted for it. He would have wanted the property tax deduction to be indexed to inflation. He says most of the problems for California in the tax bill California did to itself.

Vargas says the budget bill was a Continuing Resolution. He says the $700 billion for the military was critical.

Huff would have tried to bring the California delegation together to try to protect the SALT deduction. However, he would have voted for the tax bill.

Kathy Tavoularis asks the candidates what policy areas they wish to specialize in, what committees they want, and how they will help other candidates for office.

Nelson says Judiciary and Transportation are the two committees that best match his skillset. He walked precincts from the age of 18. Nelson donated to the party regularly before being Supervisor.

Vargas is interested in Foreign Affairs and Veterans Affairs, citing his military service in Germany, Iraq, and South Korea. He spoke of his experience with VA treatment.

Huff is interested in Foreign Affairs and Transportation, which he worked on in the Legislature. He cites the three transcontinental rail lines and freeways in the district. He notes the district is very diverse, with 55 languages spoken. His wife is an immigrant from Asia. He speaks of his work electing others, including Ling-Ling Chang and Young Kim.

Kim speaks of Foreign Affairs and Transportation, which she served on in the Assembly. She cites the freeways in the district. She notes her work with Royce on Foreign Affairs issues. She cites the diversity of the district. She would mentor staff.

Sara Catalan asks about the diversity of the district and how to reach out to communities.

Vargas notes the district is 32% Asian and 34% Hispanic. He notes the even split of political parties in the district. He says good staff are key.

Huff hired good staff in the district. He attends community events in various ethnic communities and learned to sing in their languages. He says he would go to the communities not expect them to go to him. He listed various staff of different ethnicities he hired.

Kim says she represents the district, which has never had an Asian Member of Congress. She formed the Asian Pacific Advisory Council when Royce was elected. She says this helps on Foreign Affairs, including legislation on Vietnam and North Korea.

Nelson brings up Jay Kim, the indicted Congressman from Diamond Bar. He says there is no majority in the district. He says you have to bring people together. He coached his son’s basketball team, on which his son was the sole white team member. He says they must go to the communities and just listen to their concerns.

8:06 PM: The forum is completed.

The Central Committee honors Diane McGlinchey as the OC GOP Volunteer of the Month. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher calls in from Washington, DC to congratulate her and express his appreciation for her 30 years of service. She receives certificates from the offices of Senator John Moorlach, Assemblyman Matthew Harper, Board of Equalization Member Diane Harkey, and Supervisor Michelle Steel. She also receives a certificate from the Orange County Federation of Republican Women and the Huntington Harbor Republican Women Federated.

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