OC Political

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

Author Archive

OC’s Close Contests: AD-72 Now Reaches Close Contest Status

Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 6, 2020

After counting 29,601 ballots yesterday (and with more ballots arriving from the Post Office), the Orange County Registrar of Voters reports 139,058 ballots remain while 538,378 have been counted, which means 79.5% of OC’s ballots have already been counted (though a small number of additional ballots could arrive today from the Post Office that were postmarked by March 3; today is the last day ballots can reach the Registrar and still be counted).

As OC Political noted yesterday, the Secretary of State defines “Close Contests” as those races where there is a margin of 2% or less, so we are tracking Orange County’s close contests where there is a margin of 2% or less.

The race for the 72nd Assembly District has now narrowed enough to meet that 2% criteria, as Assemblyman Tyler Diep (R-Westminster) battles Councilwoman Diedre Nguyen (D-Garden Grove) for the second slot in the top two to advance to November with former Senator Janet Nguyen (R-Fountain Valley), who holds a strong lead for first place.

Because Central Committee races are exhausting to analyze and write about (and presumably exhausting to read about), only races where a new person is in sixth place (since the top six are elected in each district) are covered below.  So instead of Republican Central Committee for five districts and Democratic Central Committee for seven districts, only three Central Committee races are below: 69th District for the Central Committees of both major parties and 74th District for the Democratic Central Committee.

37th Senate District

In the 37th Senate District race for the second slot to reach the top two against Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa), UCI Law Professor Dave Min (D-Irvine) grew his lead over Mayor Katrina Foley (D-Costa Mesa) by 114 votes to 2,447 votes (1.37%).  He previously led by 2,333 votes (1.36%).

Candidate Name Total Votes Percentage
88,681 49.55%
D) 46,368 25.91%
43,921 24.54%

72nd Assembly District

In the 72nd Assembly District race for the second slot to reach the top two against former Senator Janet Nguyen (R-Fountain Valley), incumbent Tyler Diep (R-Westminster) saw his lead dramatically shrink against Councilwoman Diedre Nguyen (D-Garden Grove) as late Democratic ballots fueled a surge for Diedre Nguyen.

In the prior count, Diep had 20,382 votes (26.40%) while Diedre Nguyen had 18,407 votes (23.84%), giving Diep a lead of 1,975 votes (2.56%).  In the latest count, Diep gained 1,177 votes but Diedre Nguyen gained 1,866 votes, narrowing Diep’s lead to 1,286 votes (1.54%).

The Diep camp will be nervous and the Diedre Nguyen camp will be optimistic as late Democratic ballots continue to be counted, threatening to turn an all-Republican November contest in AD-72 into an all-Nguyen November contest in AD-72.

Candidate Name Total Votes Percentage
28,956 34.83%
21,559 25.93%
20,273 24.39%
12,345 14.85%

1st Supervisorial District

In the 1st Supervisorial District race for the second slot to reach the runoff against incumbent Andrew Do (R-Westminster), Councilman Sergio Contreras (D-Westminster) grew his lead over Mayor Miguel Pulido (D-Santa Ana) by 454 votes to 968 votes (1.47%).  Contreras previously led Pulido by 514 votes (0.82%).
Candidate Name Total Votes Percentage
29,513 44.67%
13,820 20.92%
12,852 19.45%
9,877 14.95%

Republican Central Committee, 69th District

In the race for the sixth and final seat from the 69th District on the Republican Central Committee, Gisela Contreras (R-Santa Ana) grew her lead so much that she leapt into fifth place.  It is now Councilwoman Ceci Iglesias (R-Santa Ana) who holds the sixth place slot, with Jon Paul White (R-Santa Ana) remaining in seventh place.  Contreras leads White by 443 votes (1.47%) while Iglesias leads White by 432 votes (1.44%).  Previously, Contreras led White by 421 votes (1.44%) and Iglesias led White by 426 votes (1.46%).
Candidate Name Total Votes Percentage
4,370 14.54%
3,825 12.72%
3,821 12.71%
3,689 12.27%
3,371 11.21%
3,360 11.18%
2,928 9.74%
2,584 8.60%
2,112 7.03%
For the sixth and final spot on the Democratic Central Committee from the 69th District, Manny Escamilla (D-Santa Ana) overtook Ariana Arestegui (D-Garden Grove).  Escamilla now leads Arestegui by 15 votes (0.02%). Previously Escamilla trailed Arestegui by 5 votes (0.01%).  Four candidates are within 2% of Escamilla.
Candidate Name Total Votes Percentage
8,446 11.84%
8,342 11.69%
7,686 10.77%
6,511 9.13%
5,444 7.63%
5,322 7.46%
5,307 7.44%
5,032 7.05%
4,353 6.10%
4,180 5.86%
3,767 5.28%
3,535 4.95%
3,427 4.80%

Democratic Central Committee, 74th District

In the race for the final seat on the Democratic Central Committee from the 74th District, incumbent Janice Burstin (D-Laguna Woods) overtook College Professor Samila Amanyraoufpoor (D-Irvine) in the latest count to lead by 165 votes (0.13%).  Previously, Amanyraoufpoor led Burstin by 83 votes (0.07%).  Five candidates are within 2% of Burstin.
Candidate Name Total Votes Percentage
11,514 8.85%
10,190 7.83%
10,065 7.73%
9,999 7.68%
9,852 7.57%
9,633 7.40%
9,468 7.27%
8,714 6.70%
8,314 6.39%
7,679 5.90%
7,134 5.48%
6,426 4.94%
5,882 4.52%
4,631 3.56%
4,532 3.48%
3,591 2.76%
2,527 1.94%

Posted in 1st Supervisorial District, 37th Senate District, 72nd Assembly District | 1 Comment »

OC’s Close Contests

Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 5, 2020

Fortunately, Orange County doesn’t have Florida’s chad problem from the 2000 presidential election

After counting 21,461 ballots yesterday (and with more ballots arriving from the Post Office), the Orange County Registrar of Voters reports 166,107 ballots remain while 509,160 have been counted, which means 75.4% of OC’s ballots have already been counted (though a small number of additional ballots could arrive from the Post Office that were postmarked by March 3).

The Secretary of State defines “Close Contests” as those races where there is a margin of 2% or less, so below are Orange County’s close contests where there is a margin of 2% or less.  The close contests were stories #2 and 4 on OC Political’s list of “OC’s Top Ten 2020 Primary Election Stories” and a whole bunch of Central Committee races.

37th Senate District

In the battle to reach the top two to face off against Senator John Moorlach (R), UCI Law Professor Dave Min (D-Irvine) is leading Mayor Katrina Foley (D-Costa Mesa) by 1.36%, which is 2,333 votes.  The California Democratic Party endorsed Min who came in third for the 45th Congressional District in the 2018 primary, when fellow UCI Law Professor Katie Porter (D) came in second behind then-Congresswoman Mimi Walters (R), and Porter would defeat Walters in the general election.  Foley is the first directly-elected Mayor of the district’s third-largest city, holding elected office there for the past 16 years as City Councilwoman, School Board Member, City Councilwoman again, and Mayor.
Candidate Name Total Votes Percentage
85,598 49.74%
D) 44,405 25.81%
42,072 24.45%

1st Supervisorial District

In the race to make the run-off against Supervisor Andrew Do (R-Westminster), Councilman Sergio Contreras (D-Westminster) leads Mayor Miguel Pulido (D-Santa Ana) by 0.82%, which is 514 votes.  The Democratic Party of Orange County endorsed Contreras while Pulido is the Mayor of the district’s largest city, having held the office for the past 26 years.
Candidate Name Total Votes Percentage
27,971 44.74%
12,874 20.59%
12,360 19.77%
9,315 14.90%

Republican Central Committee, 65th District

Mayor David Shawver (R-Stanton) is holding on to the sixth and final spot for Republican Central Committee from the 65th District with 3 people behind him by less than 2%.  In his re-election to the Central Committee, Shawver leads Businessman Nick Dunlap (R-Fullerton) by 0.45% which is 355 votes, incumbent Steve Sarkis (R-Stanton) by 0.48% which is 382 votes, and Businessman DeWayne Allen Normand (R-Stanton) by 1.28% which is 1,009 votes.

Of note, top vote-getter Cynthia Thacker (R-Buena Park) will vacate this directly-elected Central Committee seat because she has won an ex-officio seat on the Central Committee by virtue of becoming the Republican nominee for the 65th Assembly District against incumbent Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton).  Similarly, fifth place James Waters (R-Anaheim) will vacate this directly-elected Central Committee seat because she has won an ex-officio seat on the Central Committee by virtue of becoming the Republican nominee for the 46th Congressional District against incumbent Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana).

Candidate Name Total Votes Percentage
10,690 13.51%
10,198 12.89%
8,308 10.50%
8,271 10.45%
8,114 10.26%
7,942 10.04%
7,587 9.59%
7,560 9.56%
6,933 8.76%
3,510 4.44%

Republican Central Committee, 68th District

Prosecutor Ray Gennawey (R-Irvine), son of Councilwoman Elaine Gennawey (R-Laguna Niguel), is in the sixth and final Central Committee seat from the 68th District, leading incumbent Central Committee Member and former Councilwoman Deborah Pauly (R-Villa Park) by 0.08%, which is 162 votes. Gennawy is also leading Councilman Scott Voigts (R-Lake Forest) by 0.76% which is 1,012 votes, and Businessman John Park (R-Irvine) by 1.13% which is 1,491 votes.

Candidate Name Total Votes Percentage
20,559 15.61%
15,525 11.79%
12,007 9.12%
10,797 8.20%
10,390 7.89%
9,975 7.57%
9,813 7.45%
8,963 6.81%
8,484 6.44%
7,217 5.48%
6,486 4.92%
4,651 3.53%
4,473 3.40%
2,359 1.79%

Republican Central Committee, 69th District

Candidate Name Total Votes Percentage
4,255 14.54%
3,732 12.75%
3,731 12.75%
3,592 12.27%
3,272 11.18%
3,267 11.16%
2,846 9.72%
2,516 8.60%
2,056 7.02%

Republican Central Committee, 72nd District

Candidate Name Total Votes Percentage
16,829 14.74%
12,206 10.69%
11,841 10.37%
11,148 9.76%
10,845 9.50%
9,770 8.55%
9,355 8.19%
7,130 6.24%
5,861 5.13%
5,511 4.83%
4,823 4.22%
4,516 3.95%
4,368 3.82%

Republican Central Committee, 74th District

In the 74th District’s race for the last spot for Central Committee, Retired Navy Nurse Emily Sanford (R-Huntington Beach) leads former Councilman Scott Peotter (R-Newport Beach) by 0.86% which is 1,159 votes and Councilman Mike Posey (R-Huntington Beach) by 1.65% which is 2,233 votes.

Of note, the top vote-getter, Councilwoman Diane Dixon (R-Newport Beach), will vacate this directly-elected Central Committee seat because she has won an ex-officio seat on the Central Committee by virtue of becoming the Republican nominee for the 74th Assembly District against incumbent Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach).

Candidate Name Total Votes Percentage
19,576 14.46%
17,254 12.74%
13,278 9.81%
12,167 8.99%
11,753 8.68%
10,135 7.49%
8,976 6.63%
7,902 5.84%
6,336 4.68%
5,943 4.39%
5,836 4.31%
4,072 3.01%
3,787 2.80%
3,736 2.76%
2,969 2.19%
1,683 1.24%

Democratic Central Committee, 55th District

Businesswoman Gail Cain (D-Brea) leads Democratic Party of Orange County Vice-Chair North Jeffrey LeTourneau (D-Brea) for the last Democratic Central Committee spot from the 55th District by 0.33%, which is 128 votes.

Candidate Name Total Votes Percentage
6,926 17.82%
6,562 16.89%
5,281 13.59%
4,773 12.28%
4,734 12.18%
3,894 10.02%
3,766 9.69%
2,926 7.53%

Democratic Central Committee, 65th District

In the 65th District, Democratic Party of Orange County Chair Ada Briceño (D-Stanton) is hanging on to her Central Committee seat, leading Nonprofit Director/Accountant Bruce W. Johnson (D-Buena Park) by 1.59%, which is 1,406 votes.
Candidate Name Total Votes Percentage
10,645 12.05%
10,355 11.73%
9,322 10.56%
8,696 9.85%
7,889 8.93%
7,213 8.17%
5,807 6.58%
5,230 5.92%
5,206 5.90%
4,787 5.42%
4,779 5.41%
4,565 5.17%
3,813 4.32%

Democratic Central Committee, 68th District

A whopping eight candidates for the Democratic Central Committee are within 2% of Retired Physician Bill Honigman (D-North Tustin) for the last spot from the 68th District.  The closest of the eight is Attorney Nathaniel Fernandez Epstein (D-Lake Forest), who trails Honigman by just 0.01%, which is 18 votes.  Epstein finished in last place in the race for Orange County Assessor in 2018.  Another of the 8 candidates is Democratic Party of Orange County Vice-Chair Central Betty Valencia (D-Orange), currently sitting in tenth place.

Of note, top vote-getter Councilwoman Melissa Fox (D-Irvine) will vacate this directly-elected Central Committee seat because she has won an ex-officio seat on the Central Committee by virtue of becoming the Republican nominee for the 68th Assembly District against incumbent Steven Choi (R-Irvine).

Candidate Name Total Votes Percentage
14,646 15.06%
9,006 9.26%
7,608 7.82%
7,271 7.48%
6,790 6.98%
5,420 5.57%
5,402 5.56%
5,086 5.23%
5,057 5.20%
4,927 5.07%
4,875 5.01%
4,616 4.75%
4,405 4.53%
3,672 3.78%
2,864 2.95%
1,978 2.03%
1,858 1.91%
1,752 1.80%

Democratic Central Committee, 69th District

Four candidates are within 2% of Ariana Arestegui (D-Garden Grove) for the sixth and final spot on the Democratic Central Committee from the 69th District.  The closest is Manny Escamilla (D-Santa Ana), who trails Arestegui by 0.01%, which is 5 votes.
Candidate Name Total Votes Percentage
8,229 11.88%
8,117 11.72%
7,490 10.81%
6,329 9.14%
5,272 7.61%
5,137 7.42%
5,132 7.41%
4,888 7.06%
4,221 6.09%
4,055 5.85%
3,645 5.26%
3,417 4.93%
3,344 4.83%

Democratic Central Committee, 72nd District

In the race for the 72nd District’s last seat on the Democratic Central Committee, Democratic Party of Orange County Vice-Chair West Victor Valladares (D-Huntington Beach) is leading Libby Frolichman (D-Fountain Valley) by 1.35%, which is 1,239 votes, and Sergio Escobar (D-Santa Ana) by 1.49%, which is 1,366 votes.

Candidate Name Total Votes Percentage
11,197 12.19%
10,897 11.87%
9,164 9.98%
8,677 9.45%
8,232 8.97%
8,108 8.83%
6,869 7.48%
6,742 7.34%
6,089 6.63%
5,792 6.31%
5,079 5.53%
4,971 5.41%

Democratic Central Committee, 73rd District

Candidate Name Total Votes Percentage
12,882 13.88%
11,257 12.13%
11,173 12.04%
10,638 11.46%
10,383 11.19%
9,161 9.87%
8,230 8.87%
5,968 6.43%
5,437 5.86%
5,403 5.82%
2,256 2.43%

Democratic Central Committee, 74th District

Five candidates are within 2% of College Professor Samila Amanyraoufpoor (D-Irvine) for the final seat on the Democratic Central Committee from the 74th District.  The closest of the five is incumbent Janice Burstin (D-Laguna Woods), who trails by 0.07%, which is 83 votes.

Candidate Name Total Votes Percentage
10,619 8.78%
9,460 7.82%
9,407 7.77%
9,236 7.63%
9,138 7.55%
8,918 7.37%
8,835 7.30%
8,073 6.67%
7,812 6.46%
7,152 5.91%
6,702 5.54%
5,977 4.94%
5,495 4.54%
4,305 3.56%
4,175 3.45%
3,353 2.77%
2,356 1.95%

Other Notes

If you’re wondering why the 47th Congressional District isn’t a close contest, it’s because while it’s close between John Briscoe (R-Huntington Beach) and Amy Phan West (R-Westminster) in the OC part of the district, Briscoe is crushing West in the LA County part of the district to win a spot in the top two for the 47th Congressional District, where he will face off against incumbent Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach).

No ballot measure fits the 2% close contest definition.  While the Anaheim Union High School District’s Measure B is at 51.72% and the Rancho Santiago Community College District’s Measure L is at 51.41%, those are bond measures, so they are actually more than 3% short of the 55% vote required to pass a local school bond.  (Update: Inadvertently, OC Political omitted the closest bond in the County, Tustin Unified School District’s Measure N, which is at 52.87%, which is 2.13% short of the 55% vote required to pass a local school bond.)

Posted in 1st Supervisorial District, 37th Senate District, Democrat Central Committee, Republican Central Committee | 7 Comments »

OC’s Top Ten 2020 Primary Election Stories

Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 4, 2020

With 158,000 votes remaining to count in Orange County (which is actually 30,000 fewer ballots than were remaining the morning after the 2018 primary election), here are the top ten OC Primary Election stories after the completion of the first night of results:

  1. AD-72: Nguyen vs. Diep Continues with an All-Republican General Election
    I’m starting a new company to sell larger mailboxes to residents of the 72nd Assembly District. After a $1.6 million primary, Republicans have finished in the top two for AD-72. What had been one of the closest swing seats in the state now becomes a guaranteed Republican win in November. Of the aforementioned $1.6 million, $1.5 million of it was spent between former Senator Janet Nguyen (R-Fountain Valley) and incumbent Assemblyman Tyler Diep (R-Westminster). Spoiler Bijan Mohseni (D-Los Alamitos) prevented Councilwoman Deidre Nguyen (D-Garden Grove) from reaching the top two.

    After running to the right in the primary, Janet Nguyen and Diep now face the adventure of wooing Democratic voters. Eight years ago, this same district had an all-Republican November general election, in which Businessman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach) upset Mayor Troy Edgar (R-Los Alamitos).

  2. BOS-1: Incumbent Do to Face Off Against Latino Democrat Officeholder…But It’s Unclear Which One
    As was widely expected, incumbent Supervisor Andrew Do (R-Westminster) is headed to a November run-off election. However, what isn’t clear is whether his November opponent will be Councilman Sergio Contreras (D-Westminster) or Mayor Miguel Pulido (D-Santa Ana). After the first night of results, Contreras leads Pulido by just 382 votes, or 0.64% of the vote. The Democratic Party of Orange County endorsed Contreras, but Pulido has been Mayor of the district’s largest city for the past 26 years.
  3. CD-45: Raths Emerges from Republican Pack to Challenge Incumbent Democrat Porter
    After a $2.6 million primary, of which $1.65 million was spent on the Republican side, Councilman Greg Raths (R-Mission Viejo) won 18.9% of the vote, defeating five other Republicans to reach the top two to face off against incumbent freshman Democrat Katie Porter (D-Irvine). Raths raised $451,637 and spent $325,491, spending nearly $100,000 less than Councilwoman Peggy Huang (R-Yorba Linda) and less than half of what Councilman Don Sedgwick (R-Laguna Hills) spent. Sedgwick had raised almost double what Raths did, and Sparks raised about $44,000 more than Raths did. Raths faces a tall order in the general election, as Porter sits atop a $3 million warchest.
  4. SD-37: Who is Going to Be Moorlach’s Opponent?
    As was widely expected, Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) came in first place. What isn’t clear is who will advance to the November general election to face off against Moorlach: UCI Law Professor Dave Min (D-Irvine) or Mayor Katrina Foley (D-Costa Mesa). After the first night of results, Min leads Foley by just 1,569 votes, or 0.95% of the vote. The California Democratic Party endorsed Min, but Foley is the directly-elected Mayor of the district’s third-largest city, holding City and School District offices for the past 16 years.
  5. Most (Maybe All) Nine School Bonds Fail
    In most elections, most school bonds pass, but this election, the voters were particularly unfriendly to the school bonds, with a majority voting against the Brea-Olinda Unified School District’s Measure G, Capistrano Unified School District’s Measures H and I, Fullerton Elementary School District’s Measure J, Fullerton Joint Union High School District’s Measure K, and Saddleback Valley Unified School District’s Measure M.

    Anaheim Union High School District’s Measure B and Rancho Santiago Community College District’s Measure L had a majority backing them, but both are unlikely to reach the necessary 55% margin to pass (both are below 52%). Tustin Unified School District’s Measure N is at 52.61% and still has a chance to get to 55% since the remaining ballots are expected to be disproportionately Democratic ballots since the competitive Democratic presidential primary caused those voters to cast later ballots.

  6. AD-73: Brough in Fourth Place with Davies Likely to Be an Assemblywoman
    Starting election night in the top two, embattled Assemblyman Bill Brough (R-Dana Point) fell to fourth place by the time election night was complete. Mayor Laurie Davies (R-Laguna Niguel) and Business Services Director Scott Rhinehart (D-Mission Viejo) will advance to the top two in one of California’s safest Republican Assembly seats. Homeland Security Attorney Chris Duncan (D-San Clemente) came in third ahead of Brough while Councilman Ed Sachs (R-Mission Viejo) came in fifth behind Brough. Brough was dogged by allegations of sexual harassment and campaign finance misspending, with Davies winning the endorsement of the Republican Party of Orange County.
  7. County Board of Ed. Trustee Area 3: How Much Does it Take to Beat Ken Williams? No One Knows, But $750,000 Isn’t Enough
    County Board of Education Trustee Ken Williams (R-Silverado) won more than 61% of the vote in a head-to-head race with self-funding millionaire Andy Thorburn (D-Villa Park). Thorburn was dubbed “the Mike Bloomberg of OC” by the Liberal OC and ended up putting more than $750,000 of his own money into the race. As a resident of this Trustee Area, I personally received eight mailers from Thorburn, with several attacking Williams as being too extreme for Orange County. Thorburn ran as a carpetbagger for the 39th Congressional District and almost ran for 3rd Supervisorial District. (Only Brea, Yorba Linda, and a portion of Anaheim Hills are in both the 39th Congressional District and Board of Ed Trustee Area 3.) Despite Thorburn’s $750,000 onslaught, the popular Williams cruised to a seventh term.
  8. County Board of Ed. Trustee Area 4: Shaw Wins 33.7% to Deliver Conservative Supermajority as Democrats Shoot Selves in Foot
    Unlike every other seat on the primary election ballot, County Board of Education seats are won by plurality vote (city councils, school boards, and special districts on the November general election ballot are also won by plurality). As the sole Republican on the ballot, Professor/Councilman Tim Shaw (R-La Habra) came in first place with just 33.7% of the vote.

    Three Democrats split the remainder of the vote, with At-Risk Youth Counselor Vicki Calhoun (D-Fullerton) coming in second with 26.8% of the vote, ahead of Educator/Attorney Paulette Chaffee (D-Fullerton), who got 22.4% of the vote and Councilman/Businessman Jordan Brandman (D-Anaheim) who got 17.1% of the vote. Chaffee (whose husband Doug Chaffee beat Shaw for Supervisor in 2018) spent over $124,000, Brandman spent over $64,000, and Calhoun spent so little that she was not required to file campaign finance reports: Calhoun didn’t even buy a ballot statement.The three Democrats got a combined 66.3% of the vote. With one fewer Democrat in the race, it is likely that Shaw would have fallen to second place.

    Consequently, with the election of Tim Shaw and the re-election of Ken Williams, there is now a conservative supermajority on the County Board of Education for the first time in memory (conservative Trustees Mari Barke and Lisa Sparks are not up for election until 2022).

  9. BOS-3: No One Wins Their Hometown…Again
    For the second election in a row, no candidate won their hometown in the race for Third District Supervisor. As expected, Supervisor Don Wagner (R-Irvine) won re-election without a run-off necessary since he achieved a majority of the votes. Specifically, he won 54.4% while attorney Ashleigh Aitken (D-Anaheim) won 45.6%. Despite winning most of the Third District, Wagner actually lost Irvine. Aitken lost Anaheim Hills (the only part of Anaheim in the Third Supervisorial District) handily to Wagner. Similarly, in 2018, Anaheim Hills came out strong for Republican Harry Sidhu over Democrat Aitken in the race for Mayor of Anaheim. In the 2019 special election to fill this supervisorial seat after Supervisor Todd Spitzer (R-Orange) was elected District Attorney, all seven candidates lost their hometowns. This strange streak of hostile hometowns continues.
  10. Central Committee: New Bipartisan Strategy Emerging – Get a Central Committee Seat While Running for Office on the Same Ballot
    In a fascinating phenomenon, candidates for Congress or Assembly are concurrently running for Central Committee. Nowhere was that clearer than the 68th Assembly District, where every challenger to Assemblyman Steven Choi (R-Irvine) ran for Central Committee. Melissa Fox (D-Irvine), Eugene Fields (D-Orange), and Benjamin Yu (R-Lake Forest) all won seats on their respective parties’ Central Committees for the 68th Assembly District while Choi already holds a Central Committee seat by virtue of being the Republican nominee for Assembly.

    Cynthia Thacker (R-Fullerton) in the 65th Assembly District, James Waters (R-Anaheim) in the 46th Congressional District (running for Central Committee in the 65th Assembly District), Brian Burley (R-Huntington Beach) in the 48th Congressional District (running for Central Committee in the 72nd Assembly District), Amy Phan West (R-Westminster) in the 47th Congressional District (running for Central Committee in the 72nd Assembly District), Laurie Davies (R-Laguna Niguel) in the 73rd Assembly District, Ed Sachs (R-Mission Viejo) in the 73rd Assembly District, Greg Raths (R-Mission Viejo) in the 45th Congressional District (running for Central Committee in the 73rd Assembly District), Diane Dixon (R-Newport Beach) in the 74th Assembly District, and Kelly Ernby (R-Huntington Beach) in the 74th Assembly District all won elections for Central Committee.

    In other words, a full dozen candidates for Congress and Assembly won seats on their parties’ respective Central Committees. Half of them (Fox, Thacker, Waters, Davies, Raths, and Dixon) will vacate their directly-elected Central Committee seats because they have won the ex officio positions on their respective Central Committees by virtue of being the nominees of their party for Congress or Assembly.

“As Expected” News

  • The 39th Congressional District will be a rematch (from 2018) between incumbent Gil Cisneros (D-Fullerton) and former Assemblywoman Young Kim (R-Fullerton).
  • The 48th Congressional District will feature incumbent Harley Rouda (D-Laguna Beach) vs. Supervisor Michelle Steel (R-Surfside).
  • The 49th Congressional District will feature incumbent Mike Levin (D-San Juan Capistrano) vs. Councilman Brian Maryott (R-San Juan Capistrano).
  • The 29th Senate District will be a rematch (from 2016) between incumbent Ling Ling Chang (R-Diamond Bar) and former Senator Josh Newman (D-Fullerton).
  • In the 55th Assembly District, Assemblyman Phillip Chen (R-Yorba Linda) won the primary in commanding enough fashion that Councilman Andrew Rodriguez (D-Walnut) is unlikely to be able to mount a rigorous challenge to Chen in the November general election.
  • The 74th Assembly District will be the most hotly contested between the two parties, as Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach) faces off against Councilwoman Diane Dixon (R-Newport Beach).
  • County Board of Education Trustee Beckie Gomez (D-Tustin) defeated former Councilman Jim Palmer (R-Tustin) and former School Board Member/Perennial Candidate/Lunatic/Convicted Ketchup Thief Steve Rocco (NPP-Santa Ana) to hang on to her Trustee Area 1 seat.
  • In other Orange County seats, Congresswoman Linda Sanchez (D-Norwalk), Congressman Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana), Congressman Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach), Assemblyman Tom Daly (D-Anaheim), and Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton) all face nominal opposition in November and are expected to cruise to re-election.

(Cue my usual Nguyen disclaimer: Former Senator Janet Nguyen and Garden Grove Councilwoman Diedre Nguyen are not related to each other, and neither of them are related to me. The last name Nguyen is held by 36% of Vietnamese people.)

(In the interest of full disclosure, Dynamic Strategies, the consulting firm that owns OC Political, are the general consultants for 74th Assembly District candidate Diane Dixon, and did some last-minute work for County Board of Education Trustee Ken Williams.)

Posted in 1st Supervisorial District, 37th Senate District, 3rd Supervisorial District, 45th Congressional District, 72nd Assembly District, 73rd Assembly District, Orange County Board of Education | 1 Comment »

OC’s Worst Ballot Designations, 2020 Primary Edition

Posted by Chris Nguyen on February 28, 2020

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

A unique animal in California elections law is the ballot designation.  Those are the three words the appear under non-presidential candidates’ names on the ballot (I will note, there are a handful of exceptions that allow more than three words).  For every voter, it’s the last thing they see about a candidate before casting their ballots.  For a frighteningly high number of voters, it’s the only thing they see about a candidate before casting their ballots in low-profile races.

Consequently, ballot designations may well be the most important words in a race, with campaigns even filing lawsuits over ballot designations every election.

In many previous elections, OC Political has written about the worst ballot designations on the ballot.  These are the candidates who truly squandered a small, but very important, opportunity to communicate with the voters.

OC’s Ten Worst Ballot Designations

  1. Caregiver/Driver (Will Johnson in the 46th Congressional District)
    The reverse version of this ballot designation (“Driver/Caregiver”) for this exact same candidate in this exact same office actually made the 2018 primary election list of “OC’s Worst Ballot Designations” as the second-worst designation behind only “Carpenter/Boxing Coach.”  With no Carpenter/Boxing Coach on the ballot this time, “Caregiver/Driver” takes the top slot.  To quote the 2018 list: “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?”
  2. Mother/Automation Director (Naz Hamid in the 68th District Democratic Central Committee)
    When running for the Central Committee of the party that bills itself as being the party of labor and working people, I can’t imagine why people wouldn’t vote for an automation director.  Nothing says putting people out of work like an automation director.
  3. Student/Campaign Coordinator (Kalvin Alvarez in the 74th District Democratic Central Committee)
    As I’ve said in previous editions of “OC’s Worst Ballot Designations,” the voters do not vote for students.  They prefer candidates who are not still in school.  Every time someone complains when I put “Student” on the list, their candidate loses.  Plenty of young people have won office: not one of them has used “Student” as their ballot designation even when they are students.
  4. Handyman (Bobby Florentz in the 65th District Republican Central Committee)
    What unique skills does a handyman bring when running for office?  I mean I guess he’s helpful if you have a wobbly table or flickering light at Central Committee that needs fixing.
  5. Teacher’s Assistant (Jalen Dupree McLeod in the 47th Congressional District)
    Teacher’s assistants perform a valuable job.  However, in picking candidates for office, I feel the voters would prefer the actual teacher rather than the teacher’s assistant.  It’s especially tough when you’re challenging a sitting member of Congress from your own political party.
  6. Risk Professional (Sudi Farokhnia in the 73rd District Democratic Central Committee)
    Oh, yes, that’s what everyone wants for Central Committee: a risk professional.  Who doesn’t love insurance?  While an important job, this profession does not bring warm, fuzzy feelings to anyone.  For those few voters who know what Central Committee is, I’m sure they’ll be thrilled to have someone who will fret about insurance for precinct walkers and phone bankers.
  7. Legal Clerk (Ariana Arestegui in the 69th District Democratic Central Committee)
    Unless you’re the Orange County Clerk-Recorder or running for that office, a clerk ballot designation just isn’t going to get the job done.  While legal clerks perform an important role, life is unfair, and the voters have little respect for the position.
  8. Filmmaker (Andrew Gallagher in the 74th District Democratic Central Committee)
    Are you Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, James Cameron, or another famed filmmaker?  If not, you should not use “Filmmaker” as your ballot designation.  What special skills does a filmmaker bring to the table?  Maybe if voters knew what Central Committee is, they might like you for your potential ability to make TV campaign commercials, but unfortunately, most voters don’t know what Central Committee is.  (It may be unfair to you, and it was after you’d already picked your designation, but it doesn’t help people are getting sick of Mike Bloomberg and Tom Steyer’s commercials.)
  9. Life Skills Coach (Michael Navarro in the 55th District Republican Central Committee)
    While many people joke about Central Committee members needing life skills coaching, I don’t think the electorate has any particular reason to back a life skills coach for office.
  10. Psychotherapist (Anne Cameron in the 73rd District Democratic Central Committee)
    How bad are your Central Committee meetings getting when you need a psychotherapist?  Why would a voter want to vote for a psychotherapist for office?  So the psychotherapist can make the other candidates feel better?

(Dis)Honorable Mention

This ballot designation was subpar, but it wasn’t bad enough to make the list of worst ballot designations.  However, this poor soul probably should have realized sometimes politics is about timing. For some of us, the name you’re born with (or the name you marry into) just brings unfair problems beyond your control.  (I am not unsympathetic to this, having had numerous misspellings and mispronunciations of my last name of Nguyen.)  For the candidate below, this is probably a good name when running for Republican Central Committee.  However, in running for Democratic Central Committee, I think it may have been wise to wait until 2024 to run:

  • Mary Tromp, Retired Computer Programmer (72nd District Democratic Central Committee)

Posted in 46th Congressional District, 47th Congressional District, Democrat Central Committee, Republican Central Committee | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

CD-45 Spending Approaches $2.6 Million

Posted by Chris Nguyen on February 26, 2020

In the hotly contested primary election for the 45th Congressional District, the candidates have spent nearly $2.6 million combined (seven candidates qualified for the ballot: incumbent Democrat Katie Porter and six Republicans).

Incumbent Democrat Katie Porter raised $3,867,406 and spent $942,242.  Even after all that spending, she still reports $3,008,911 cash on hand (the other $83,747 was cash left on hand from the 2018 election).  Additionally, there was $39,488 in independent expenditures supporting Porter, with $37,410 of that coming from End Citizens United, a large national PAC with numerous individual donors.  Planned Parenthood did a $1,177 IE for Porter, and three other groups (Courage Campaign Super PAC, Flip the West, and the Sierra Club) spent a combined $901 on IEs for her.

That leaves $1.65 million spent by the Republican candidates.

Laguna Hills Councilman Don Sedgwick raised $860,196 and spent $584,422, leaving $275,774 cash on hand.  Additionally, there was $87,757 in independent expenditures from California Freedom and Prosperity PAC supporting Sedgwick.  That PAC’s funding appears to be numerous individual people.

Orange County Board of Education Trustee Lisa Sparks raised $495,456 and spent $300,440, leaving $195,016 cash on hand. Her campaign has $39,558 in unpaid bills; accounting for that leaves her campaign at $155,458 cash on hand.

Mission Viejo Councilman Greg Raths raised $451,637 and spent $325,491, leaving $126,114 cash on hand (not sure why there’s a $32 discrepancy but that’s a negligible amount anyway).

Yorba Linda Councilwoman Peggy Huang raised $451,506 and spent $424,908, leaving $26,598 cash on hand.  Her campaign has $43,035 in unpaid bills; accounting for that leaves her campaign at $16,437 in debt. Huang loaned her campaign $139,000, so she raised $312,506 from donors other than herself, and the campaign would be in debt $155,437 if she wishes to repay the loan.

Attorney Christopher J. Gonzales raised $18,362 and spent $16,641, leaving $1,721 cash on hand.  However, Gonzales loaned his campaign $6,500, so he raised $11,862 from donors other than himself, and the campaign would be in debt $4,779 if he wishes to repay the loan.

Retired Teacher Rhonda Furin has not filed any campaign finance reports, presumably meaning she has spent nothing.

For visual learners, here’s the campaign finance chart for the candidate’s campaigns:

Candidate Contributions
Through 2/12/2020
Loans Unpaid
Bills
Expenditures
Through 2/12/2020
Cash on Hand
2/12/2020
Cash on Hand
Minus
Unpaid Bills
Cash on Hand
Minus
Unpaid Bills and Loans
Katie Porter (D) $3,867,406 $0 $0 $942,242 $3,008,911 $3,008,911 $3,008,911
Don Sedgwick (R) $860,196 $0 $0 $584,422 $275,774 $275,774 $275,774
Lisa Sparks (R) $495,456 $0 $39,558 $300,440 $195,016 $155,458 $155,458
Greg Raths (R) $451,637 $0 $0 $325,491 $126,114 $126,114 $126,114
Peggy Huang (R) $312,506 $139,000 $43,035 $424,908 $26,598 -$16,437 -$155,437
Christopher Gonzales (R) $11,862 $6,500 $0 $16,641 $1,721 $1,721 -$4,779
Rhonda Furin (R) $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Notes: Figures may be off by one dollar due to rounding.
Porter rolled over $83,747 in cash from the 2018 election.

Posted in 45th Congressional District | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

AD-72 Spending Breaks $1.6 Million

Posted by Chris Nguyen on February 25, 2020

Assemblyman Tyler Diep (R-Westminster), former Senator Janet Nguyen (R-Fountain Valley), Councilwoman Deidre Nguyen (D-Garden Grove), Bijan Mohseni (D-Los Alamitos)

72nd District Primary Election Field: Assemblyman Tyler Diep (R-Westminster), former Senator Janet Nguyen (R-Fountain Valley), Councilwoman Deidre Nguyen (D-Garden Grove), and Bijan Mohseni (D-Los Alamitos)

The hotly contested primary in the 72nd Assembly District has exceeded $1.6 million in spending.  Between their campaigns and independent expenditures, $1.5 million has been spent on the battle between Assemblyman Tyler Diep (R-Westminster) and former Senator Janet Nguyen (R-Fountain Valley).  Councilwoman Diedre Nguyen (D-Garden Grove) spent $151,243, a rather significant sum for the Assembly primary but is dwarfed by the spending on the contest between Diep and Janet Nguyen.  However, with Bijan Mohseni (D-Los Alamitos) spending only $3,734, it is quite likely Diedre Nguyen comes in first place, with either Diep or Janet Nguyen coming in second in order to advance with her to the general election to set up the traditional Republican vs. Democrat general election in the seat.

Diep has spent $374,333 while Janet Nguyen has spent $268,401, for a combined total of $642,734.  However, independent expenditures have reached $871,834, meaning the expenditures involving these two candidates has reached $1,514,568.  No independent expenditures have been reported for either Diedre Nguyen or Mohseni.

Pro-Diep IEs spent $307,288.  Anti-Diep IEs spent $386,440.  Pro-Janet Nguyen IEs spent $136,457. Anti-Janet Nguyen IEs spent $41,649.  In other words, Pro-Diep/Anti-Janet Nguyen IEs spent a total of $348,938 while Pro-Janet Nguyen/Anti-Diep IEs spent a total of $522,896.

Between the campaigns and IEs, the Pro-Janet Nguyen/Anti-Diep side has spent $791,297 while the Pro-Diep/Anti-Janet Nguyen side has spent $723,271.

The biggest single source of IEs was Californians for Independent Work (sponsored by Lyft), which spent $249,803 against Diep.  Over $200,000 of those IEs has been spent on mailers, cable television, and digital advertising.  The remainder went to polling and consultants.

The biggest single source of pro-Diep IEs was $158,664 spent by California Labor and Business Alliance (sponsored by Building Trades, Correctional Peace Officers and Apartment Rental Organizations, and Energy Providers).  That committee’s four largest donors are Chevron, the California Apartment Association, the California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA), and the State Building and Construction Trades Council.  Over $133,000 of those IEs have been spent on mailers.  The remainder went to polling and consultants.

All of the anti-Janet Nguyen IEs were $41,649 spent by the Coalition to Restore Republican Accountability & Ethics Opposing Nguyen for Assembly 2020.  That group received 98.9% of its funding from Parents for Safe Communities, whose four largest donors are Local Union 105 Sheet Metal Air Rail Transportation Workers, the Orange County Professional Firefighters Association, Lee’s Sandwiches, and Huntington Beach resident Hoi Quoc Doan.  The entire expenditure was for mailers.  (Correction: While a substantial sum of its funding came from Parents for Safe Communities, this group also received significant funding from the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles and the California Cardroom Alliance.)

All of the pro-Janet Nguyen IEs were $136,457 spent by Taxpayers for Ethical Government.  The bulk of that committee’s 2020 funds come from billionaire Kieu Hoang, the country’s wealthiest Vietnamese-American.  $135,000 of that was spent on field operations.

For visual learners, here’s a table of the IEs:

Pro-Tyler Diep IEs ($307,288) Pro-Janet Nguyen IEs ($136,457)
California Labor and Business Alliance $158,664 Taxpayers for Ethical Government $136,457
Healthcare and Housing Business Coalition $148,624
Anti-Janet Nguyen IEs ($41,649) Anti-Tyler Diep IEs ($386,440)
Coalition to Restore Republican Accountability $41,649 Californians for Independent Work (Lyft) $249,803
Silicon Valley Jobs PAC (CalChamber) $69,852
Taxpayers for Ethical Government $46,785
California Taxpayer Protection Committee $20,000
Total of Pro-Tyler Diep/Anti-Janet Nguyen IEs $348,937 Total of Pro-Janet Nguyen/Anti-Tyler Diep IEs $522,897

Here’s the campaign finance chart for the candidate’s campaigns:

Candidate Cash on Hand
12/31/2019
Monetary
Contributions
1/1-2/15/2020
Nonmonetary
Contributions
1/1-2/15/2020
Unpaid
Bills
Expenditures
1/1-2/15/2020
Cash on Hand
2/15/2020
Cash on Hand
Minus
Unpaid Bills
Tyler Diep (R) $531,393 $67,910 $1,480 $0 $374,333 $226,450 $226,450
Janet Nguyen (R) $214,591 $189,534 $350 $3,096 $268,401 $139,169 $136,073
Diedre Nguyen (D) $102,642 $22,415 $87,474 $28,931 $151,243 $90,219 $61,288
Bijan Mohseni (D) $3,527 $4,330 $0 $550 $3,734 $2,628 $2,078
Notes: Figures may be off by one dollar due to rounding.
Expenditure figures include nonmonetary contributions and unpaid bills.
All of Diedre Nguyen’s $87,474 in nonmonetary contributions were from the California Democratic Party.

(Cue my usual Nguyen disclaimer: Former Senator Janet Nguyen and Garden Grove Councilwoman Diedre Nguyen are not related to each other, and neither of them are related to me. The last name Nguyen is held by 36% of Vietnamese people.)

Posted in 72nd Assembly District | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Live from the 1st Supervisorial District Debate

Posted by Chris Nguyen on February 20, 2020

We are live from the 1st Supervisorial District Debate, hosted by Resilience Orange County (a youth nonprofit) and Latino Health Access, and moderated by Voice of OC Publisher Norberto Santana.

Participating in the debate are:

It is nice that for once, an organization called their event a debate, rather than a candidate forum.

7:19 PM: The debate is called to order, with representatives of Resilience Orange County and Latino Health Access welcoming the audience. They note they are 501(c)(3)s and cannot endorse any candidates. They also promote participating in the 2020 U.S. Census. They discuss the new Vote Center model. Resilience Orange County announces a plan to alert people of ICE is present in the streets of Santa Ana.

7:24 PM: Santana is introduced. He explains the debate will be a bit of an open forum. Homelessness, open space, ICE coordination, health care, the County budget, and the County jail/law enforcement will be the main topics.

While there is a nameplate for Do, he does not appear to be here.

7:26 PM: Santana asks what funding priorities in the County budget each candidate has.

Nguyen criticizes the cuts for public health that she says were used to fund $151 million in pay increases for Sheriff’s deputies. She calls for an external auditor to find ways to save money in the County budget.

Contreras says he would spend mental health and housing money rather than hoarding it. He wants to work with cities on housing. He wants to invest in workforce investment to prepare the workforce for growing industries, like health care and IT.

Pulido says the County fears controversy, which then causes the 1st District to suffer. He notes that criminals are arrested in other supervisorial districts and then simply released into the 1st District. He calls on mental health care services be offered in other districts, not centralized in the 1st District because he argues that there has not been strong representation for the 1st District on the Board of Supervisors.

7:30 PM: Santana apologizes for skipping opening statements.

Nguyen is a 28-year-old daughter of a Vietnamese refugee and a Mexican immigrant. She has lived in OC since the age of 10. She discusses her college degree. She has been working on Medi-Cal for the past 7 years. She is the youngest and first Latina on the Garden Grove City Council.

Contreras was born and raised in OC, as the son of an immigrant janitor. He worked as Disneyland for 10 years liked his father. He discusses his college degree. He discusses representing the diverse city of Westminster.

Pulido was born in Mexico City and came to the U.S. at the age of 5, speaking only Spanish. He took the bus to school. He went to school not knowing English but eventually learned. He discusses his college degree. He ran for Council when the City of Santa Ana threatened his family’s muffler shop, quipping, “I fought City Hall. I beat City Hall. I became City Hall.” He notes his record as Mayor.

Santana explains Do was invited but could not attend.

7:35 PM: Audience question states there were $151 million in Sheriff’s deputy raises with $110 million coming from the General Fund. He says $39 million was cut from the health care budget and $59 million added to the Sheriff’s department. He asks if the candidates would have supported this.

Contreras calls for increased funding for health care and social services. He calls for getting more money from Sacramento and spend more of CalOptima’s money on public health.

Nguyen blasts Contreras’s CalOptima plan, noting she had worked there, and the money is restricted by state and federal sources. She says the money Contreras is citing are restricted for one-time grants for nonprofit groups.

Pulido worked with Judge Carter on homeless services. He argues CalOptima should be more aggressive in assisting the homeless. He notes two Supervisors sit on the CalOptima Board and the Supervisors appoint the rest of the CalOptima Board. He notes what cities have done with the homeless. Pulido wants Sheriff’s deputy pay to be competitive but not at the expense of public health. He wants the unfunded liability to be refinanced and stabilized.

7:41 PM: Santana asks about the Sheriff cooperating with ICE.

Pulido opposes the Trump Administration’s targeting sanctuary cities. He worked with Congressman Correa to literally get people off ICE vans. He notes Santa Ana is a sanctuary city. He argues Santa Ana has a low crime rate due to trust from the community.

Contreras says the County has enough work to do that it shouldn’t be doing the federal government’s job. He wants more community policing.

Nguyen’s mother’s green card expired today. They are trying to figure out how to keep her here. She says she would drop the lawsuit against SB 54 [the Sanctuary State law]. She demands more rigorous Truth Act forums on immigration, calling the existing format “BS.”

7:45 PM: The Resilience OC Executive Director asks if they support Assemblyman Rob Bonta’s bill banning local government transfers to ICE

Contreras would sign on.

Pulido would sign on and would support hiring lawyers to assist potential deportees at hearings.

Nguyen says her stance is clear.

7:47 PM: Santana notes the Sheriff is independently elected, so what would the candidates do to “confront” him?

Nguyen would fill the Office of Independent Review and institute an Oversight Committee on immigration and jails. She would call for an external audit of the Sheriff’s department.

Contreras notes the Board controls the budget and can use the power of the purse.

Pulido agrees with the power of the purse. He says not funding overtime or other activities would restrict them. He says he wishes Nguyen, Contreras, and Pulido could be on the Board of Supervisors together. He speaks about Santa Ana’s lawsuit against cities sending criminals to Santa Ana that the Sheriff to see the precedent and stop doing that as well.

7:51 PM: Santana asks about homelessness and housing.

Nguyen says she is neither rich nor poor. She rents an expensive apartment, has student loans, and just paid off her car. She says Garden Grove has made good progress on issuing Section 8 vouchers and tenant housing assistance but still need to do more. She calls for wraparound services in addition to housing solutions.

Contreras speaks of living in one-bedroom multigenerational housing as a child. He speaks of updating Westminster’s general plan. They’ve built 150 affordable housing units and could build more if there were County support. He notes the average resident needs to make $31 per hour to afford housing. He says permanent housing is necessary, not just temporary shelters. He calls for workforce development and says the Board of Supervisors needs to work more with cities.

Pulido speaks of getting a bowl cut at home from his dad because they couldn’t afford the barber. He speaks of participating in food drives as a child to only realize his family were the recipients. He says South County doesn’t even want to see homeless people, yet Central County has a heavy share that he sees driving home. He speaks of shelters, services, and housing. He says moving the homeless off the riverbeds just sent them to Central County. He says the Civic Center homeless were cleared out and simply moved into local neighborhoods.

7:57 PM: Santana asks about mental health treatment.

Nguyen speaks about the current situation of the mentally ill being arrested and treated in jail. She notes she is the only elected with professional public health experience in the district. She is a regulatory auditor for a health agency.

Contreras speaks of constituents asking for help, and even his own staff struggling to navigate the process to help the constituents. He calls for spending, not hoarding, mental health money for mental health services.

Pulido says a bed is necessary, facilities to treat the mentally ill. He points to up to 1,000 beds at Fairview in Costa Mesa if it is converted into a mental health facility, but there should be at least 200 beds there. He praises Orange for building 60 beds. He says services can be allocated but there needs to be facilities to house the mentally ill. He calls for the money to be spent.

8:02 PM: An ACLU representative says too many people are being incarcerated instead of getting mental health services. She says the County is planning to expand the Musick Jail to house the mentally ill. She asks if the candidates would stop the jail expansion and form a taskforce to find other ways to handle the mentally ill.

Contreras says the existing mental health money needs to be spent. He calls for working with local agencies to provide humane treatment of the mentally ill. He says there needs to be Supervisors advocating for spending the money.

Nguyen says there needs to be Supervisors who want to spend the money correctly. She blasts the closing of the County hospital years ago because it leaves the County reliant on private hospitals. She blasts the deaths of the mentally ill in County jails.

Pulido says there should be a reduction on the revolving door of mentally ill people in jail. He says there need to be jobs and job training for the homeless to reduce the revolving door. He says jailing more people is not the solution. He says the County has both jails and health services. He says South County should have facilities to ensure they do their fair share.

8:08 PM: Santana asks about preventative health services, particularly for immigrants.

Nguyen says CalOptima has 338,000 members, with Anaheim, Santa Ana, and Garden Grove home to the largest share of members. She says there needs to be more affordable health care, so people can use more of their income spending in cities, generating revenue. She speaks of her work that contributes to expanding health care access. She claims, “I could literally solve this problem.”

Contreras says there needs to be a Latino on the CalOptima Board, as there are none now. He notes 42% of the CalOptima population are Latinos, and there needs to be more cultural sensitivity from CalOptima.

Pulido wants more nonprofit organizations to help people navigate the labyrinth systems of government health programs. He argues nonprofits are being blocked by CalOptima because the latter argues the nonprofits are trying to do CalOptima’s job. He speaks of various services provided by nonprofits. He says responsibility is to the community, not to turf wars.

8:14 PM: Santana notes that Central County has the least open space aned asks what candidates would do to rectify it.

Pulido says Santa Ana is the 4th most dense city in the country. He calls for more programming because people can’t be kicked out to make open space. He argues County park money could be used to bring services to City or School facilities. He points to schools in Santa Ana that are converted into parks after school lets out for the day or the weekend.

Contreras values open space having grown up in a one-bedroom apartment. He calls for investing in existing parks and opening pocket parks. He calls for school playgrounds to be open in off-hours.

Nguyen calls for better coordination of the “branches of government:” federal, state, county, and city. She has the most Latino district in her city. She points to ways Garden Grove has innovated to bring people to parks. She speaks of programs in Garden Grove that temporarily close streets for temporary parks on select occasions.

8:20 PM: An audience question from a group called Rise Up Willowick notes 1% of Garden Grove and 4% of Santa Ana are open space versus 25% of Irvine. She asks about using OC Parks money in relation to Willowick Golf Course.

Contreras helped create the Mendez v. Westminster trail and park. He says OC Parks money should be used to make Willowick a County park.

Nguyen says she is restricted from going detail because of closed session on this issue since Garden Grove owns Willowick. She says the County has plenty of money for parks that needs to be used in District 1.

Pulido notes Garden Grove owns Willowick, yet it’s located in Santa Ana. He says there is litigation involving Willowick and ultimately, a judge controls its fate. He appoints to the new Surplus Land Act amendments that just came into law on January 1. He calls for more affordable housing and notes Santa Ana has more than any other city in OC.

8:25 PM: Santana begins the lightning round of yes/no answers.

Would you support transferring certain county land to private land trusts?

All say yes.

Would you support building a County Library in District 1.

All say yes.

Do you support an alternative to policing for youth?

All say yes.

Who are you supporting for President?

Nguyen: Undecided, but not Trump

Contreras: Undecided, but leaning Sanders

Pulido: Undecided, but not Trump. He’s worked with Biden and Bloomberg. He praises them, Warren, and Sanders, as well as Buttigieg, who he met at Conferences of Mayors.

Would you accept endorsements from police unions or the Sheriff’s deputies union?

Nguyen: Not sought them in this race.

Contreras: Had police union support in past.

Pulido: Had police union support in past but notes Do has Sheriff’s deputies’ union support.

Do you support a $15 minimum wage?

All say yes.

Do you support the Poseidon desalination plant?

Nguyen and Pulido say no.

Nguyen wants to ascertain the environmental impacts.

Pulido notes there are better plans for increasing the water supply and jobs that are more effective than the Poseidon plan.

Contreras says yes because he believes in expanding the water supply. He wants to ensure any such plan does not have an adverse impact on communities of color.

Do you support rent control?

Nguyen says yes.

Contreras says it’s already law.

Pulido says no.

Do you support a bond to raise $2.2 billion for housing?

All say yes.

Would you support a feasibility study to connect JWA with ARTIC and ONT?

Pulido says the study’s already been done, pointing to CenterLine.

Nguyen and Contreras don’t have enough info.

Would you support the Irvine energy JPA?

All say yes.

Would you support increasing government whistleblower protection?

All say yes.

Nguyen says they need to figure out what to do when whistleblower helped cause problem.

Would you put more County homeless shelter beds in Santa Ana?

All say no.

Would you support increasing the Board of Supervisors to 7 members?

All say yes.

Do you support abolishing ICE?

All say yes.

Do you support immigration reform?

All say yes.

Do you support the Proposition 13 school bond on the March 3 ballot?

Nguyen is still researching it.

Contreras describes a different ballot measure.

Pulido is still researching it.

8:38 PM: Santana announces closing statements.

Contreras thanks audience. He says half the voters don’t know anything about the Board of Supervisors. He says there is no knight in shining armor who will fix everything. His experience in City government and the school district have prepared him for the Board. He works at United Way on many of the issues he argues the County should be working on. He says there should be representation from someone who actually lives in the district. He knows what it is like to be on the losing end of a 4-1 vote but still speak for the community.

Nguyen asks to receive the sword to go to the Board. She speaks of change and leadership and notes she is the only one who isn’t a career politician, as Contreras and Pulido have had a combined 45 years in office. She is accessible to constituents by cell phone and social media. She works hard on Council.

Pulido thanks Santana and the audience. He says Do doesn’t live in the First District. Pulido speaks out his deep roots in the community since he was 13. He speaks of dramatically lowering the crime rate, the safest city in America of its size. He speaks of a low 3% unemployment rate. He speaks of building schools. He says the County is not engaged and needs to work with cities. He has the will, experience, and vision, he says. He speaks out his experience at OCTA and getting them to vote for the Santa Ana streetcar.

8:45 PM: Santana thanks the candidates, hosts, and audience. The debate is concluded.

Posted in 1st Supervisorial District | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off on Live from the 1st Supervisorial District Debate

Live from the 45th Congressional District CRA Candidate Forum

Posted by Chris Nguyen on November 21, 2019

We are live from the 45th Congressional District forum for Republican candidates sponsored by the California Republican Assembly.  Participating are the four major Republican candidates:

Hosted at the Norman P. Murray Community Center in Mission Viejo by the the Saddleback Republican Assembly, Tustin Area Republican Assembly, and Anaheim Republican Assembly, the forum is moderated by OC Political’s own Craig Alexander, who is an attorney from Dana Point and former State CRA Executive Vice President.

Much appreciation to the City of Mission Viejo for supplying free WiFi.  (Most OC Political live-blogs are done typing into a smartphone due to most venues not having WiFi.  Thanks to the free WiFi, this live-blog will be done on computer, so there’ll be even more detail than usual.)

After the invocation, Pledge of Allegiance, and Star-Spangled Banner, moderator Craig Alexander is introduced.  He explains the candidate order was by random draw.  There will be several questions from the forum organizers, and then there will be audience-submitted questions via index cards.  CRA delegates will vote on a potential endorsement on January 11.

90-second opening statements begin at 7:20.

Don Sedgwick grew up in San Juan Capistrano and raised his four children here with his wife.  He served 18 years on the Saddleback School Board and two terms on the City Council, more elected experience than all the Democrats and Republicans combined in the CD-45 race.  He says Katie Porter does not reflect the values of the district.  He was ASB President, coached his children’s youth sports, and is involved in the community.  He says, “the freedoms of our country are at stake in this country…our economy is headed toward socialism, and I will do something to reverse that.”

Greg Raths welcomes everyone to Mission Viejo jokingly calling it “home field advantage.”  He introduces his wife as the First Lady of Mission Viejo.  He notes his city is the second largest in the district.  Six years ago, his children had grown up; he had retired after 30 years in the military, including assignments in the White House and Pentagon; and he decided to run for Congress after the election of Barack Obama.  Then he got elected to the City Council after his unsuccessful bid for Congress.

Lisa Sparks is Dean of Communications at Chapman University and serves this area on the Orange County Board of Education.  She speaks of her Midwestern upbringing and family values.  She has been a Republican since age 2.  She raised three of her four children in the 45th District.  She has written 12 books and published numerous articles.  As a college educator, she was frustrated with the way K-12 schools were treating students.  She decided to run for Congress on her father’s 80th birthday.

Peggy Huang is a Yorba Linda Councilwoman and Deputy Attorney General.  She came to the U.S. at the age of 7 after waiting 12 years to legally enter the country.  She described her Christian family fleeing from socialism.  She is frightened by the tyranny of socialism and does not want anyone in the room to endure what her family did.  She warns of the path that Katie Porter will lead us down.  At the Department of Justice, she worked to protect children.  She notes that she has worked on the issues that matter to the district.

7:28: Questions begin. Alexander asks which committees the candidates would like to serve on.

Raths picks Armed Forces (Tactical Air and Land Forces subcommittee), Homeland Security (Border Security subcommittee), Intelligence (National Security Agency subcommittee), Oversight (National Security subcommittee), Aeronautics, and Veterans Affairs.

Sparks picks Labor, Health, Human Services, and Education as well as Homeland Security, particularly on cybersecurity.

Huang picks Health and Human Services, Transportation, Commerce, Judiciary (Immigration subcommittee), Natural Resources (water subcommittee), Foreign Affairs, and Energy.

Sedgwick picks Education, Budget, and Judiciary.

7:32 PM: Alexander asks which caucuses the candidates would like to serve on.

Sparks picks Republican Study Committee and is interested in the Blue Dog Caucus.

Huang picks the Tuesday Group, the Freedom Caucus, the Asian-American Caucus, and the Taiwan Caucus.

Sedgwick picks the Freedom Caucus and the Problem-Solvers Caucus.  He says this election is about freedom versus socialism.  He says he will solve problems and get things done.

Raths picks the Freedom Caucus and the Problem-Solvers Caucus.  He speaks of speaking with Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows of the Freedom Caucus.  He says as a Marine, he took Marines of all parties into battle and in Congress, he will represent people of all parties.

7:35 PM: Alexander asks about the Equality Act (HR 5) and how they would have voted and why.

Huang says she would have opposed it to protect religious freedom.  She fears the risks to the First Amendment in the present environment, particularly due to social justice.  She says losing religious freedom will threaten Second and Fourth Amendment rights.

Sedgwick says Porter referred to thoughts and minds without prayer after a tragedy.  He says there should be separation of church and state but state should not be separate from God.  Doctors should not be forced to provide services they object to and religious organizations should not be required to insure services they object to.

Raths argues the federal government’s reach has gone too far.  He says national defense, common currency, and interstate commerce are its responsibilities.  He says government should not be in people’s bedrooms.

Sparks notes that protesters are trying to take away the ability to have invocations at the board of education.  She expresses agreement with the other candidates.

7:40 PM: Alexander asks Save the Internet Act (HR 1644) which would restore Obama-era regulations for net neutrality.

Sedgwick speaks of the importance of the Internet being able to transmit information, such as President Trump’s tweets.  He speaks out in opposition to hate speech but supports freedom of speech on the Internet.  He says parents should be able to opt out of things they object to in school.

Raths says he doesn’t know the details of HR 1644, but the federal government needs to get out of people’s homes.  He says his goal is to make Katie Porter a one-term Congresswoman.  She joined the Progressive Caucus and called for impeaching Trump.  Raths notes the district is Republican because every City Council in the district has a Republican majority.

Sparks speaks in support of free speech and speaks of encouraging it at Chapman University, noting the event they sponsored with Robert Gibbs and Sarah Huckabee Sanders.  She says she despises hate speech but it must be protected under free speech.

Huang says the question was about net neutrality.  She notes the regulation forbids cable companies from charging other companies for using their Internet cables.  She says taxpayer dollars should not be used to pick winners and losers.  She says the market should decide.

7:44 PM: Alexander asks about signing the discharge petition to allow a vote on SR 962, which would provide immediate medical care for a child born alive after a failed abortion.

Raths speaks in opposition to abortion and urges adoption.  He opposes late-term abortions and all other forms of abortion.

Sparks says she is pro-life and especially opposes late-term abortions.  She supports adoption instead of abortion.

Huang says she would support the discharge petition.  She says they need to support President Trump.  She speaks of the Susan B. Anthony health clinics that provide women’s health services in contrast to Planned Parenthood, which she refers to as an abortion group masquerading as women’s health services.

Sedgwick says it took seven years for him and his wife to have children and were initially told they wouldn’t have any.  He expresses support for life and is pro-life.  He expresses opposition to Planned Parenthood programs in the schools.

7:49 PM: Alexander asks if the candidates had any reason where they wouldn’t vote to defund Planned Parenthood.

All four support defunding Planned Parenthood without reservation.

Sparks calls it an easy question.

Huang supports funding health groups like Susan B. Anthony instead of Planned Parenthood.

Sedgwick says Katie Porter is out of touch with the district.

Raths expresses disappointment that Trump and the Republican Congress did not do this in 2017-18.  He speaks of seeing the movie Unplanned.

7:52 PM: Alexander asks the first audience question.  The question asks for opinions on DACA, comprehensive immigration reform, and border security.

Huang supports immigration reform.  Her parents waited 12 years to get permission to enter the U.S. She calls for reform of skilled visas vs. unskilled visas.  She does not support DACA. She says federal law dictated that children under the age of 5 would be presumed to be Americans if found in the U.S.  She worked on legislation to undo that, but it was vetoed by President Bill Clinton.

Sedgwick wants to work on Day 1 to end illegal immigration.  He says it is not compassionate to expose children to human trafficking, the drug trade, and immigration coyotes.  He says the U.S. is a nation of laws and that sanctuary cities are wrong.

Raths says borders must be secured because drugs and human trafficking are a major problem.  He served as a Marine with DACA Marines.  He will not send them to a country of birth that they do not know.  He wants immigration reform.  The U.S. needs labor because there are 7,000,000 open jobs and only 6,000,000 unemployed.

Sparks wants to secure borders.  Her husband waited 10 years to immigrate and is finally a citizen.  Her stepson took 12 years to immigrate and still only has a green card because the system is so slow.  She has DACA students at Chapman.  She says the U.S. needs to know who is entering the country.

7:57 PM: Alexander asks the candidates: what would be their top three legislative priorities in Congress?

Sedgwick says the federal government should get out of the way on education.  He wants to pass a federal opt-out law, noting that parents can opt-out of everything by homeschooling, so parents should be able to opt out of individual things in schools.  He wants to work toward eliminating tariffs because he supports free trade.

Raths wants Veterans Affairs to be run better.  He says Trump has made progress but needs to do more.  He expresses concern about pay for medical personnel at the VA.  He wants a constitutional amendment for term limits for Congress, 6 terms in the House and 2 terms in the Senate.  He wants to break up health company cartels and allow health care across state lines while protecting pre-existing conditions.

Sparks wants to allow crossing state lines and protect pre-existing conditions.  She wants to find ways to allow 529 funds to provide relief for people who are caring for both their parents and their children.

Huang supports a bipartisan bill (Feinstein and Stivers) that will address mental health and homelessness, which Katie Porter has failed to coauthor.  She wants bonuses for employees with student loans where the bonus is not taxed for employees or employers.

8:02 PM: Alexander asks which think tanks would advise the candidates in the House.

Raths says he would work with the Club for Growth, who’s he’s met with.  He says free college is available if you join the Marine Corps, and you won’t have student loans.

Sparks picks the Heritage Foundation, Club for Growth, and Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University, all of which she has already worked with.

Huang picks the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, and the Children’s Defense Fund, all of which she has already worked with.

Sedgwick picks the Club for Growth, who he’s worked with.  He notes he is the only businessman and understands the challenges businesses face.  He expresses disgust that Katie Porter blasts “CEOs when she hasn’t even run the corner store.”  He says the people in the audience are the best think tank.

8:05 PM: Alexander slightly alters an audience question: the question asks how they support diverse ethnic groups in California and voice their concerns.

Sparks says the Republican Party needs to reach out to all groups and peoples.  She says the “Democrats have taken a lot of those groups hostage.”

Huang notes she is the only Asian-American on the stage.  She says she does not run on identity politics but she is running on freedom and liberty.  She says common issues are the best way to reach out to these groups because they all desire freedom and liberty.  She says Democrats have called minorities victims.  She says America is the land of opportunity where she could come not speaking English and then finds herself running for Congress.

Sedgwick speaks in Spanish (OC Political’s Spanish is rusty from college).  He says Hispanics are an important part of the fabric of the community.  He says most of his employees are Hispanics, and they support his stance on immigration.

Raths says television keeps talking about racists.  In the military, he says everyone worked together regardless of race.  He sees that as Mayor in his city.  He will fight racism and discrimination in Congress.  He says racism is overblown by the media.

8:10 PM: An audience question asks for candidates’ opinions on Common Core.

Huang has two children, and Common Core math makes no sense.  She calls for parental rights, local control, and electing school board members who will stand up to liberal mandates.  She says Integrated Science does not teach legitimate science and fails to prepare students for the future.

Sedgwick was President of the California School Boards Association even though he is a conservative.  Many people would boo him but others would come up to him privately to express support.  He calls for more local control and parental rights.

Raths’s wife was a teacher, and his daughters are both teachers.  He was a substitute teacher and jokes that it was the worst job he ever had, expressing his admiration for teachers doing this difficult work.  He calls for local control and getting the federal government out.

Sparks speaks of the craziness of Common Core that she is seeing on the County Board of Education.  She expresses concern about California Health Youth Act (CHYA) and holding a forum to inform parents.  She says health is the window dressing that is used to sneak all sorts of programs into schools.

8:15 PM: Alexander asks: What is your opinion on the Education Savings Accounts for Military Families Act which would allow military families to redirect funds for their children’s education to private school.

Sedgwick wants to give military families any leg up.  He wants to give more opportunities to children from Gold Star Families with increased educational tax deductions.  He wants the private sector healthcare expenses to be reimbursed for the military.

Raths is on the Orange County Veterans’ Advisory Committee for the Board of Supervisors.  He supports local nonprofit organizations assisting veterans in addition to the VA.

Sparks proposes each year of service for a military servicemember resulting in a year of free education for the military servicemember’s child.

Huang notes that military families are often forgotten.  She wants strong social networks and mental health care for military families, not just military servicemembers.  She wants to support nonprofits because government involvement results in inefficiencies from funding bureaucracy.

8:20 PM: Alexander asks: Do you agree with President Trump’s efforts for a better deal with China, including tariffs?

Raths says China nearly became the economic superpower until President Trump stopped them.  He says Trump has done a phenomenal job.  He doesn’t normally support tariffs but has found the tariffs on China are reasonable.

Sparks says “America wins when we lead at home and abroad.”  She praises the USMCA as an improvement over NAFTA.  She warns tariffs are taxes that are passed on to American consumers but has been surprised how well the tariffs on China are working.

Huang calls for student visa reform because students get shipped back to their countries and compete against the U.S.  She opposes tariffs because she is a free-market person.  She says tariffs hurt American consumers and companies.

Sedgwick says tariffs are a tax on consumers.  He supports President Trump’s efforts but believes it will eventually reach “zero, zero” tariffs.  He has been on Fox News six times in the past four months.  He warns the country to look to California to see what would happen if one of the Democrats wins the presidency.

8:26 PM: Alexander asks about policy on Iran and North Korea.

Sparks supports sanctions on Iran and North Korea.  She supports pressuring these dictatorships.

Huang supports Trump policy on Iran and North Korea.  She calls for putting enough resources for the 7th Fleet to strengthen the first line of defense against North Korea: South Korea and Japan.  She wants to protect Israel.

Sedgwick says the role of government is protection from threats, foreign and domestic.  He says socialism is a domestic threat.  He says the border needs to be protected.  He says Trump is right to open communications with North Korea.  He wants to keep the military out of battle.  He wants diplomatic solutions as much as possible.

Raths served two tours of duty in Japan and South Korea.  He had seven tours of duty in the Middle East.  He supports protecting Japan, South Korea, and Israel.  He says it is time to reduce American troops in “countries that don’t like us.”  He says troops should not be in Syria or Lebanon.

8:30 PM: Alexander asks an audience question asking about protecting the Second Amendment and opposing the Assault Weapons Ban.

Huang says she supports the Second Amendment.  She says she opposes all bans and jokes about the straw ban.  She says bans punish responsible people, not criminals.  She wants to reform HIPPA to allow families to speak to medical personnel about relatives’ mental health.

Sedgwick supports the Second Amendment and says, “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”  He notes gun control would not have prevented the Saugus High School shooting because the shooter already broke existing gun control laws.  He calls for more mental health services.

Raths says the Constitution is clear about the right to bear arms.  He says 99.9% of gunowners are responsible people.  He says the NRA has fantastic gun safety education programs.

Sparks supports the Second Amendment.  She speaks of going shooting with her family.  She notes her parents sent her to camp to get rifle training as a youth.  Her family was very diligent about gun safety.  She says families need to be helped when there are mental health problems in the home.

8:34 PM: Alexander asks the last audience question: “What do you plan to do when you get to Congress about the national debt?”

Sedgwick notes Laguna Hills will be debt free in 3 years.  When he joined OCFA six years ago, he put together a “snowball” plan to pay off the pension liability; he notes interest payments have decreased by nearly $25 million as a result.  He says that attitude is needed to balance the national budget instead of just supporting the presented budget.

Raths says Mission Viejo had a $6 million surplus this year due to $4 million in unexpected revenue and $2 million in cost savings.  He opposes omnibus bills.  He wants a 10% phased-in reduction of federal bureaucracy.

Sparks blasts the size of the deficit.  She opposes the previous budget deal.  She speaks of being on the County Board of Education, where she voted to remove 1% of the budget from expenses for lobbying and travel, and is fighting the Superintendent on that.

Huang notes Yorba Linda is the first city with OpenGov to show every dollar of City expenditures online.  She would start with Health and Human Services and with Education.  She calls for eliminating certain federal agencies, noting there are several in the EPA that should be eliminated.

8:39 PM: Alexander thanks the organizers and discusses the CRA.

8:41 PM: Closing statements begin.

Raths thanks the audience for attending.  He speaks of a life of service: being a Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Eagle Scout, 30 years as a Marine, 5 years as a Councilmember and now Mayor, and now he wants to go to Congress to represent the people of the 45th District.  He will ensure Katie Porter is a one-term Congresswoman.

Sparks is “an accomplished scholar-teacher and a builder.”  She built the Chapman University School of Communications.  She has only been in politics for a couple years.  She will represent the people of the district and fight for them just as she is fighting for freedom of speech through her work at Chapman.  She says Porter does not represent the district, and Sparks will be the one to beat her.

Huang thanks the audience for attending.  She says next month marks the 30th anniversary of her citizenship and her registration as a Republican the day she was naturalized.  She worked on affordable housing and human trafficking not through reading about them but by working in the trenches with people directly.  She says she worked on the Unabomber case.  She has fought sex trafficking and the drug trade.  She says Porter has worked in theory brainwashing the young offering nothing of value to the people of the district.

Sedgwick says a democracy is only as great as its people.  He wants to strengthen parent rights, local schools, institutions of faith, and the free-market economy.  He wants Congress to not be paid if they don’t pass a budget; he wants to run government more like business.  His city contracts for most services.  They have no pension liability because they have few employees.  He called it ironic that the LA City Council was complaining about the expense of construction when it was their regulations that made it so expensive in the first place.

8:47 PM: Alexander thanks the candidates, the organizers, and the audience and adjourns the forum.  Two raffle prizes (a Thanksgiving basket and a Trump hat) are awarded to the audience.

Posted in 45th Congressional District | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Live from OC GOP Central Committee: Call for Brough to Retire

Posted by Chris Nguyen on September 16, 2019

We’re live from the OC GOP Central Committee, where tonight’s agenda includes endorsements of Shawn Steel for re-election as RNC Committeeman, Harmeet Dhillon for re-election as RNC Committeewoman, Ken Williams for re-election to the County Board of Education, Gale Oliver for the Santa Ana Council Ward 4 special election, Gene James for the San Clemente City Council special election, and Gisela Contreras for the Santa Ana Unified School District Board of Education special election. (Christina Selter for the San Clemente City Council special election is also eligible to be considered, but the Endorsements Committee recommendation is for James. Selter did not receive the recommendation of the Endorsements Committee.) Finally, there is a closed Executive Session on a resolution regarding Assemblyman Bill Brough.

Irvine Mayor Pro Tem Anthony Kuo delivers the invocation. OC GOP intern Joe Gonzalez leads the Pledge of Allegiance.

Two new alternate members are sworn in.

Chairman Fred Whitaker gives updates on the 39th, 45th, and 48th Congressional District races. Publicly released polling shows Supervisor Michelle Steel in a tie with 48th District Congressman Harley Rouda and shows former Assemblywoman Young Kim slightly ahead of 39th District Congressman Gil Cisneros. The field has narrowed in the 45th Disrict, with Deputy District Attorney Ray Gennawey dropping out.

Whitaker wins unanimous votes from the Cebtral Committee to appoint the Resolutions and Financial Review Committees.

Steel and Dhillon are endorsed for re-election unanimously after a motion to suspend the rules to allow their endorsement resolution to be considered passed nearly unanimously, with Deborah Pauly opposing the suspension.

The featured speaker is Crime Survivors Founder and CEO Patricia Wenskunas. She speaks about crime victims and the crime victims’ movement. She ends her remarks urging the passage of the resolution calling for Brough to not seek re-election and directly addresses Brough urging him to resign.

Ken Williams is endorsed for re-election unanimously to the Orange County Board of Education. Gale Oliver is endorsed unanimously for the Santa Ana Council Ward 4 special election, as is Gisela Contreras for the Santa Ana Unified School District Board of Education special election.

Committee Member Diane Harkey moves to endorse Gene James. Committee Member Jennifer Beall offers a substitute motion for no endorsement since there are two Republican candidates.

Beall urges a respectful process, expressing concern about the contentiousness. She had urged the Endorsements Committee to wait until after filing closed. She notes both Republicans have good ballot designations. Selter is the only woman running. Both have good ballot positions. The 19-year-old Democrat who won 7% in the last election is not a real threat.

Committee Member Jon Fleischman warns that the number of Republican elected officials is declining each election cycle. He says James is the candidate who can win the seat for Republicans. He argues the Democrat has received funding and support from unions and other Democratic leaders. Fleischman argues the Beall motion is unnecessary because it takes 2/3 to endorse a candidate, and it is entirely possible no one gets to 2/3, which would have the same end result as the Beall motion.

The parliamentarian notes the Beall motion needs a majority of those present and voting.

14 vote in favor of the Beall motion while 27 vote against.

Endorsements Committee Chair Peggy Huang delivered the report of the committee. The other members are Mark Bucher, Laurie Davies, Tyler Diep, Gene Hernandez, Leroy Mills, and Erik Weigand. The committee met with James and recommended his endorsement 4-2. Later, when it met with Selter, the vote was 5-0 for neutrality and 4-1 to recommend Selter be able to speak to the Central Committee.

James notes he was endorsed last year. He says he came within 0.4% of winning in 2018 despite only living in San Clemente for two years. He blasts the “20-year-old socialist” who received $5,000 from the firefighters union and the endorsement of four former Mayors. James is an Army veteran who served at Checkpoint Charlie. He is a pro-life, limited government conservative. He has taught homeland security and criminal justice. He serves on the national USO board.

Selter was born and raised in OC and has lived for 10 years in San Clemente. She sits on two County board representing San Clemente. She works to help provide services to senior citizens. She volunteers with her church. She opposes the toll road extension into San Clemente.

Deborah Pauly asks how long each has been a Republican. Both have been lifelong Republicans.

Kermit Marsh asks how much each candidate has raised and how much cash is on hand.

James says he has raised $20,000 and has $10,000 cash-on-hand.

Selter says she has several thousand and is willing to self-fund.

The motion on James has 26 votes in favor and 13 against. That is exactly 2/3. James is endorsed.

July Volunteer of the Month Abigail Scott is recognized by Chairman Fred Whitaker, 1st Vice Chair Peggy Huang, Senator John Moorlach, and Assemblyman Steven Choi.

August Volunteer of the Month Amy Freeman is recognized by Chairman Fred Whitaker, 1st Vice Chair Peggy Huang, and the office of Senator Ling Ling Chang.

Officer reports are delivered.

Two alternates are sworn in before Executive Session.

The Central Committee enters Executive Session at 8:22 PM.

The Central Committee returned from Executive Session at 8:50 PM and announced the following resolution passed:

Resolution on Assemblyman Bill Brough

BE IT RESOLVED that based on the totality of the circumstances and controversies surrounding the Assemblyman, the Republican Party of Orange County calls on Bill Brough to not file for re-election to the State Assembly, and retire at the end of his current term.

Posted in 73rd Assembly District, Orange County Board of Education, Republican Central Committee, San Clemente, Santa Ana, Santa Ana Unified School District | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Live from the CD-45 Candidate Forum at OC GOP Central Committee

Posted by Chris Nguyen on August 19, 2019

We are live from the OC GOP Central Committee, where tonight’s agenda includes the CD-45 Republican candidate forum and a pair of resolutions opposing recall efforts in Santa Ana and Westminster. The meeting began shortly after 7:00 PM.

Kathy Tavoularis delivers an invocation in memory of the late Orange County Auditor-Controller Eric Woolery, who had served on the Central Committee in the 1990s as Ethics Committee Chairman, Treasurer, and Second Vice Chairman. A number of people holding “Gene James for San Clemente City Council” signs continue talking during the invocation.

Orange County Treasurer Shari Freidenrich speaks in memory of Eric Woolery, while a smaller number of Gene James sign holders continue talking. Freidenrich then leads the Pledge of Allegiance.

Steve Sarkis and Cynthia Thacker are nominated by the 65th District caucus to replace Chris Norby and Jack Bedell. Jeff Barke is nominated by the 72nd District caucus to replace Jim Cunneen. All three nominations are approved unanimously by the full Central Committee.

The roll is taken, and elected officials are introduced.

Central Committee Chairman Fred Whitaker speaks in memory of Eric Woolery.

Whitaker speaks about the Democrats taking the lead in voter registration in Orange County, noting Republicans took the lead back after Democrats gained the lead in the aftermath of Watergate. He also notes Republicans still hold 2/3 of all elected offices in Orange County. He speaks about the importance of conducting voter registration. He speaks of the importance of winning Congressional and legislative seats.

Whitaker introduces the 45th Congressional District candidate forum for the Republicans seeking to unseat Congresswoman Katie Porter (D). He explains each candidate will get the same questions and will not be allowed to attack other Republican candidates.

He notes Democrats do not allow non-members to attend Central Committee while Republicans allow the public to attend, even pointing out a Democrat in attendance.

He requests that audience members be respectful and not yell or shout.

Whitaker introduces the candidates, who get three minutes to deliver opening statements.

Deputy District Attorney Ray Gennawey speaks about his deep roots in the district. He speaks about his work as a prosecutor. He talks about California’s rising crime and rising cost of living. He wants to end sanctuary for violent criminals. He wants to help the 7,000 homeless people in Orange County. He speaks of a human trafficking victim he worked with as a prosecutor and the value of her life.

Yorba Linda Councilwoman Peggy Huang legally immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 7. When she became a citizen, she registered as a Republican and became active in Republican causes. She expresses her support for Donald Trump and says her daughter is the youngest Trump volunteer. She speaks of her work as a Deputy Attorney General. She says she is running for Congress because of immigration, health care, and student loans. She wants to help the next generation with student loans.

Mission Viejo Mayor Greg Raths speaks of marrying his wife in the district, and raising his children and grandchildren in the district. He speaks of his career in the U.S. Marine Corps. He was an Eagle Scout like Gennawey. He discusses 30 years of USMC missions, joining during the Vietnam War. He speaks of his graduate education. He speaks of being assigned to the White House Military Office. He speaks of his election and re-election to the Mission Viejo City Council. He speaks of immigration, the military, personal freedoms, and the Constitution. He filed suit against the State of California over its exclusion of candidates from the presidential ballot.

Laguna Hills Mayor Don Sedgwick notes he is the only candidate who has signed both the front and back of the check. He speaks of curbing regulations that harm business. He speaks of illegal immigration and the rule of law. He notes that Congresswoman Katie Porter is a protege of Senator Elizabeth Warren and one of only two candidates to already be endorsed by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. He speaks about rising crime.

Orange County Board of Education Trustee Lisa Sparks grew up in a small Midwestern town. There she learned the principles of fiscal responsibility. She is a wife, mother, and the founding dean of the School of Communications at Chapman University. She is an international expert ranked in the top 10 of health care communicators. She speaks of her conservative record on the Orange County Board of Education. She argues Congresswoman Katie Porter is one of the most vulnerable incumbents in the nation due to her liberal record. Sparks currently represents more constituents in the 45th Congressional District than any other candidate. She knows how to communicate to students, and notes UCI precincts went 91% for Porter over Walters.

Whitaker announces a lightning round asking each candidate how they will win the district.

Huang says she has an aggressive plan to walk all district precincts 3 times before the election.

Raths plans to reach out to veterans and win over their votes. His wife taught at UCI, and his children teach in Irvine.

Sedgwick notes his 23 years of experience in elected office in the 45th District surpasses all the other Republicans and Porter combined. He notes he has raised 2/3 of a million dollars already. He will use the money to get his message out to the voters, noting Porter raised $1 million, more than any other Congressional freshman.

Sparks speaks of her family’s roots in the district. She speaks of already representing 35% of the district. She has hired several members from Mimi Walters’s team.

Gennawey will go to places where candidates have not sought voters before. He points to the first-time volunteers in the room who are volunteering for him.

Whitaker asks the candidates what is the top issue in the district.

Raths states veterans are the top issue. He speaks of veteran mental health and suicide. He has spent $700,000 in the past raising his name ID in the district.

Sedgwick states immigration is important but highlights the opioid epidemic’s effect on homelessness.

Sparks notes her husband is an immigrant. She speaks about free market choices for health insurance, allowing people to buy health insurance across state lines. She speaks of her mother’s high cost for life insurance.

Huang speaks of the high cost of health care. She is a cancer survivor. She wants to expand Health Savings Accounts and make them more flexible. She wants free market options to allow people to buy health insurance across state lines. She wants small business owners, like her husband, to be able to get a tax deduction for health insurance.

Gennawey speaks the drug crisis and how it contributes to homelessness.

Whitaker asks how the candidates will deal with the State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction limitation in the 2017 tax reform.

Sedgwick calls for lifting the SALT limit because it harms California families. He praises various administration accomplishments but blasts SALT as a detriment.

Sparks says she will fight to lower taxes for Californians. She says the recent tax reforms had 80% of people paying less and 5% of people paying more. She says it has largely helped American taxpayers but the SALT limitation and mortgage limitation must be repealed because it hurts Californians.

Gennawey says he will fight to repeal the SALT limitation but points out it is only a problem because California has high state taxes.

Huang blasts the SALT limitation but praises the economic opportunity zones in the tax reform.

Raths similarly opposes the SALT limitation but praises the rest of the tax reform bill.

Whitaker asks about health care reform.

Sparks speaks about the impact of health care costs upon seniors and families. She calls for an informed scientific approach to alleviate the costs.

Gennawey worked in the House of Representatives when the Affordable Care Act was passed. He says it has been anything but affordable. He calls for lowering prescription costs.

Huang calls for the expansion of Health Savings Accounts and the ability to buy health insurance in the free market across state lines. She speaks of her challenges battling cancer at age 44.

Raths jokes that his Marine recruiter lied to him about getting free health care for life through the VA. He speaks of market approaches on health insurance.

Sedgwick says government cannot afford to provide all things. He calls for a private sector approach, increasing competition in health insurance, including purchases across state lines. He calls for reducing regulations that keep prescription costs artificially high.

Whitaker announces an ultra lightning round. He asks for ways to control spending.

Huang cites various pork barrel projects that should be cut.

Raths has run a balanced budget at the City. He understands the Pentagon budget. He gives the example of a particular type of aircraft that is three times the cost of other military aircraft.

Sedgwick speaks of his budget in Laguna Hills. He calls for examining the proper role of government.

Sparks speaks of balancing the budget as a dean. She warns government cannot tax and spend its way to prosperity.

Gennawey blasts $22 trillion in debt. He says his generation is saddled by the spending of prior generations.

Whitaker asks if the candidates will support the Republican nominee if it is one of the other candidates.

All say yes.

Whitaker asks what endorsement each candidate is proudest of.

Sedgwick cites the endorsement of his entire City Council because they know he is someone who they can work with. He cites his conservative approaches when he was with the California School Board Association.

Sparks lists numerous elected officials and businesspeople but does not specify which one she is proudest of.

Gennawey says former Congressman Dana Rohrabacher gave him a surfboard and his endorsement. He also notes the Deputy District Attorneys have endorsed him.

Huang lists various elected officials but does not specify which one she is proudest of.

Raths lists various elected officials and cites Orange County Assessor Claude Parrish as the one he is most proud of.

Whitaker asks how much each candidate raised in the prior quarter and how much they plan to raise in this quarter.

Sparks raised $151,000. She plans to raise $300,000 more.

Gennawey raised $73,000 and plans to raise as much as he can.

Huang raised $264,000 and is aiming for $300,000.

Raths raised $212,000 and plans to raise $600,000.

Sedgwick raised $625,000 last quarter. He is aiming for nearly $1,000,000. He wants $1,500,000 by the general election.

Whitaker asks who the campaign consultants are.

Gennawey has hired Chip Englander and Michael Antonoupoulos.

Huang has hired Chris Emami, Erik Brown, and Lou Penrose.

Raths has a pro bono campaign consultant, Paul Jensen.

Sedgwick has hired John Thomas.

Sparks has hired seven members of Mimi Walters’s team, including Sam Oh, who is now with a 150-person consulting firm.

Whitaker ask what committee each candidate would want to serve on.

Huang cites Transportation, noting how much in taxes flow from Orange County and how little flows back in transportation dollars.

Raths cites Armed Services, Budget, and Ways & Means.

Sedgwick cites Judiciary, Budget, and Ways & Means. He notes the nation’s judges have a long, profound effect on the country.

Sparks cites Health Care, Education, Budget, and Ways & Means. She states she would like to help recruit more Republican women to run for Congress.

Gennawey cites Judiciary and Armed Services. He wants to help obtain federal funding for an Orange County veterans’ cemetery.

Whitaker asks about student loans and college affordability.

Gennawey notes he and his wife are still paying their student loans. He blasts high loan interest rates and opposes free college.

Huang is still paying her student loans. She calls for a tax deduction for employees who receive employer loan assistance.

Raths calls for more community college attendance, citing his daughters’ experiences. He also calls for limits on student loan interest rates.

Sedgwick opposes free college and questions whether people who already graduated should get refunds.

Sparks is a college dean. She calls for greater financial literacy education in K-12 schools and opposes free college as too expensive.

Sedgwick previously served two terms on Central Committee. He has walked precincts and phone banked for candidates.

Sparks was recruited to run for the Orange County Board of Education. She recalled her father’s values when deciding to run for Congress.

Gennawey speaks of various campaigns he volunteered on, he was College Republicans President, and he encouraged his mother to run for City Council while he was studying for the State Bar Exam. He notes, “She won, and I passed!”

Huang has volunteered for 30 years. She serves on Central Committee as Vice Chair and is a member of the Lincoln Club.

Raths has volunteered for numerous candidates and run in his own election.

After over an hour, the forum is complete.

Whitaker recognizes the RWF. He then recognizes the Volunteer of the Month, Cynthia Thacker.

Whitaker brings up resolutions opposing the recall efforts in Westminster and Santa Ana.

The Central Committee votes unanimously to suspend the rules to consider the resolutions.

The Central Committee then votes unanimously for the resolution to oppose the recall of Westminster Mayor Tri Ta and Councilmembers Kimberly Ho and Chi Charlie Nguyen.

The Central Committee then votes unanimously for the resolution to oppose the recall of Santa Ana Councilwoman Ceci Iglesias, though Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer recuses himself due to a complaint received by his office regarding this recall.

Various officer and club reports are delivered.

Whitaker thanks all the volunteers who helped register voters at the Republican Party booth at the OC Fair. He announces various upcoming opportunities to register voters.

The Central Committee adjourns at 8:58 PM in memory of Eric Woolery.

Posted in 45th Congressional District, Republican Central Committee | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »