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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 »

Voter Recommendations – A Reminder

Posted by Craig P Alexander on February 27, 2020

As March 3rd is only a few days away, I just wanted to remind voters (who have not cast a ballot yet) that there are voter recommendations by conservatives who do not get paid for their endorsements – people like Robyn Nordell and myself. And we do not always agree!

Here is the link to my prior post on this subject: Voter Recommendations.

Craig Alexander is an attorney and a Dana Point resident.

Posted in 38th Congressional District, 39th Congressional District, 45th Congressional District, 46th Congressional District, 47th Congressional District, 48th Congressional District, 49th Congressional District, Anaheim City School District, Anaheim Union High School District, Brea Olinda Unified School District, Buena Park School District, California, Capistrano Unified School District, Fountain Valley School District, Fullerton Joint Union High School District, Fullerton School District, Lowell Joint School District, Orange County Board of Education, Orange County Board of Supervisors, Saddleback Valley Unified School District, State Assembly, State Senate, Uncategorized | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

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 »

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.

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45th Congressional District Republican Candidate Forum Hosted by CRA on November 21, 2019

Posted by Craig P Alexander on October 21, 2019

On November 21, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. the California Republican Assembly will be hosting a Candidate Forum for the major Republican Candidates for the 45th Congressional District which is currently held by Democrat Katie Porter and formerly held by Republican Mimi Walters.  Doors will open at 6:45 p.m. and the Forum will begin at 7:00 p.m.  It is scheduled to end at approximately 8:30 p.m.  The venue location is the Norman P. Murray Community Center (24932 Veterans Way, Mission Viejo, CA  92692).   The current four major Republican candidates are the Honorable Peggy Huang, the Honorable Greg Raths, the Honorable Don Sedgwick and the Honorable Lisa Sparks. 

The event is being hosted by CRA’s local units in the 45th Congressional District – the Saddleback Republican Assembly, the Tustin Republican Assembly and the Anaheim Republican Assembly.  Former CRA Executive Vice President and attorney Craig Alexander of Dana Point will act as the moderator. CRA Orange County will hold its Orange County Endorsing Convention in early January 2020.

This forum will consist of a series of questions centering in on policy and the candidate’s position on issues regarding their potential responsibilities as a Congressman / woman from the 45th District.  Each candidate will be asked the same questions.   Members of the audience will be able to offer questions to the candidates in writing (not orally) at the event.  No candidate will receive a copy of the questions prior to the Forum event.

The event is open to the public.  For more information regarding this event please contact Saddleback Republican Assembly President Cynthia Cantrelle at cynthiacantrelle@yahoo.com.

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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 »

Ballot Harvesting

Posted by Brenda Higgins on December 3, 2018

Since the blue wave that swept Orange County in November 2018, there has been much discussion and outrage at the multiple victories of the Democrats.  I have looked in vain for a thoughtful analysis of the relatively new law known as “Ballot Harvesting”.  The reactions of conservatives and Republicans to the election results have been shock and outrage.   Those sentiments are fueled by party leadership’s failure to provide meaningful explanation of the law, and the lack of party strategy in addressing it during the 2018 cycle.  A productive discussion is needed, with truth about what the statute says and doesn’t say, and what party leadership did and did not do.  There may very well have been fraudulent activity, but it is impossible to discern that, unless and until we appreciate what was permissible under the law, and the utter lack of response to the possibilities.

In September 2016, Governor Brown signed AB-1921 , it was codified as Elections Code Section 3017.  In past elections, (i.e. prior to 2016) a “Vote by mail” voter, which most Republicans are, could mail their ballot, drop it off at the polling place, or have a relative or member of their household drop it off at the polling place.  It had to be received at the polling place before the polls closed, or received by the Registrar of Voters (if by mail) prior to the closing of the polls on election day.

It is easy to see that even with the Vote by Mail ballots, there are impediments for some people.  If you live alone, if you have no relatives, if you are unable to get to the polling place and can’t or just forgot to mail it on time, maybe you don’t have the $1.00 in postage (It does require two stamps that are $.050 now), or you can’t get to the post office to get stamps.  For elderly or disabled persons in particular, it is easy to see how these things could prevent a person from exercising their constitutional right to vote.

The new law provides that you can turn your ballot over to anyone you want to, and have them drop it off at the polling place.  The law provides that the person transporting the ballot can not be paid for doing so, not by a campaign or party or political action committee.  The Ballot “Harvester”, if you will, just has to be a well intentioned person who wants to help a voter out.  On its face, seems like a great idea, ask your neighbor or the nice lady you know from church to take your ballot to the polls for you.  The opportunity arises though, for a grassroots army, of well organized volunteers, who could be working the Get Out the Vote process in a way that visits voters at their home to make sure they get registered, offer some helpful advice and information on what the issues are and about the candidates, offer to pick up the ballot on election day and take it to the polls for you.  It all sounds like a wonderful program, a win-win situation.

There is a window of opportunity created by this new law.  The law itself is impartial, and not a terrible idea in that it increases the ability and likelihood that someone can exercise their constitutional right to vote.  The problem with any window of opportunity, is that if you don’t move to make it work for you, it becomes a liability.  That seems to be what happened to Orange County Republicans in the 2018 election.

Before the primary in June, the California Republican Party engaged in a pilot program to call on consistent Republican voters and volunteers would offer to pick up their ballot and take it to the polling place.  The problem was, many Republican voters who were contacted refused.   This is the same thing we have seen in recent past elections with polling.  The polls have tended to favor Democrats, never forget the “sure thing” of a Hillary presidency, because Republican voters are disinclined to share their opinions or information with strangers.  They were similarly disinclined to turn over their ballots.  The OCGOP therefore abandoned any effort to organize and/or leverage the new law in their favor in the November election. They stuck to the old tried and true phone banking and canvassing calling on the RWF to round up the woman power to Get Out The Vote.

Democrats maximized their leverage of the new law  by registering new Democrat voters, getting out the vote from low propensity voters (who haven’t often voted), increasing the voter contact and then, ‘harvesting’, offering for volunteers to pick up and deliver voters ballots to the polls.

The Registrar in Orange County has been quoted as saying that the numbers of ballots dropped off on election day in the November 2018 election was unprecedented.

On November 19, at the OCGOP monthly meeting, a very contrite Chairman Fred Whitaker, discussed Ballot Harvesting and indicated that he had significantly underestimated the impact it would have in the 2018 races.  By that date, it had become clear that the county had lost every congressional seat, as well as State Assembly and State Senate seats.   On election night, the early returns had Republicans in slim leads in the congressional and state legislature seats.  As the hundreds of thousands of “Harvested” ballots were tallied, those leads disappeared.  On that evening of November 19, it was clear that no congressional seats were saved and the words of Chairman Whitaker dismissing Democrat challengers earlier in the year “Let them die on the hill in Orange County”, had come back to haunt him in the worst way.  Similarly, Mimi Walters, when asked in March if she had any concerns about being re-elected, she exerted a confident “No”.   This arrogance did not serve the party well, and translated to losses even for those who took the threat of harvested ballots seriously.

Young Kim was talking about harvested ballots. Travis Allen was talking about the threat of harvested ballots.  It is of little benefit for single candidates to recognize an existential threat to their candidacy when the party has affirmatively decided to ignore it.

The ballots turned in through the harvesting of volunteers, are not per se, ‘fraudulent’ votes.  That is the distinction that so many who are outraged over this result are missing. The elucidation of the new law herein, is not to say there was no election fraud, but to point out, it is a different issue.  In the November 19 meeting, Chairman Whitaker and others told stories of many long hours spent at the County office of the Registrar, observing the ballots being counted to look for any anomalies.  Mark Meuser and others did the same in many other counties.  Fraud may very well have been at work in this election and affected the result.  Deborah Pauly, OCGOP Central Committee representative noted that this new procedure  “May further have denigrated election integrity”, as there have been myriad other concerns  raised about election integrity in this election where not just Ballot Harvesting, but Motor Voter law, and an incompetent and recalcitrant DMV, have created a brave new world of election fraud possibilities.

The new law permitting Ballot Harvesting in California, should also not be confused with the ban on such harvesting in Arizona.  The Arizona law prohibiting ballot harvesting was challenged in the 9th Circuit.  On an emergency basis, in a remarkably brief, two line ruling,  the court refused to stay the Arizona law.  So, as of the 2018 election, ballot harvesting was banned, by law in Arizona.  That legal matter is still pending with the 9th Circuit and scheduled for a full  hearing  in January.  That case may shed some light on the California law, but it is important to know that the law is opposite in the two states.

Many factors likely contributed to the blue sweep of this famously red county.   It is disappointing and the sheer magnitude of the defeat is breathtaking.  The party has emphasized this ballot harvesting as being the problem.  It is onerous sounding, “Ballot Harvesting” without an understanding of the law.  This fueling of outrage though, does work in keeping constituents upset, and in their outrage, they fail to analyze and appreciate all of the other malfeasance by party leadership.  Given the classic behavior of liberals and conservatives, everyone should have known that the harvesting would dramatically favor democrats.  Given the make up and rhetoric surrounding the House of Representatives on a national level, they knew the efforts of the Democratic National Convention would be focused, aggressively  here.  In the constant refrain of polling and strategy, party leaders knew that demographics were changing and the market share of the Grand Old Party was shrinking in this region.

What the party missed was a set of cohesive messaging and ideas, conservative philosophy, simply communicated to voters.  Conservative ideals, of smaller government and greater civil liberties, law and order and government that stays out of your way…this is the ideal that sells that has always been the heart of the Republican party.  But, in their effort to distance themselves from Trump, because a pollster told them to, they forget what they were about.   The party, again in this election, let the liberals set the tone and the agenda and stuck to statistical models and polls, instead of revisiting our foundation, of greater freedom through smaller government.

In the current environment, if a candidate can not make the case for conservatism, then that candidate is finished. That is the battle field.  It will no longer work to just make voting easier and pander to a demographic, with slick mailers and repetitive phone calls. Voters are more sophisticated than that and they want to have a sense of the party’s core beliefs and the candidate’s willingness to adhere to that.  The party also put up “recognizable” names, without any appreciation for the baggage and displeasure that may be associated with the names.  Polls can’t tell you that.  Only involvement with the non-political constituents can give a reading on that.

Ranting about fraud or ballot harvesting, and encouraging others to rant about it,  is just a failure to accept full responsibility for an abject failure to see and plan for what was to come.  There is so much more the party needs to be doing to come into being a force to be reckoned with in the new political environment.  One thing is for sure, what we have always done, and ignoring and discounting what has occurred nationally, is not the right plan forward.  Other than attempting to gloss over the massacre of 2018, by congratulating the local officials who were endorsed and won races, the party has not communicated what the plan forward is.  There’s been no indication of leadership change, little acknowledgment of fault or malfeasance, no indication of what if anything will be done to address real irregularities that came up and were reported during the election season.  It will behoove and be incumbent upon leadership to forge and communicate a new path forward, and it would seem to be prudent to do that sooner rather than later.

There is an election in 23 months. Orange County, has no Republican incumbents in Congress.  Rebuilding, if it is going to be attempted, needs to be happening now.

 

Posted in 34th Senate District, 39th Congressional District, 45th Congressional District, 48th Congressional District, 49th Congressional District, 4th Supervisorial District, 74th Assembly District, California, Orange County, Republican Central Committee, U.S. Politics | Tagged: | 4 Comments »

OC’s Top 10 Stories From the November 2018 General Election

Posted by Chris Nguyen on November 7, 2018

Here’s a quick look at the top 10 stories of the 2018 general election in Orange County:

  1. OC Congressional Delegation Now Consists of Five Democrats and Two Republicans
    In a political earthquake for Orange County, the 4-3 Republican majority in OC’s Congressional delegation is now a 5-2 Democratic majority.  The three senior members of the delegation are leaving Congress: Dana Rohrabacher (elected 1988), Ed Royce (elected 1992), and Darrell Issa (elected 2000); all three are Republicans and only Royce will be succeeded by a member of his own party.  While Royce and Issa both announced their retirements earlier this year, Rohrabacher has been defeated for re-election by businessman Harley Rouda (D-Laguna Beach).  Royce will be succeeded by former Assemblywoman Young Kim (R-Fullerton) while Issa will be succeeded by Clean Energy Advocate Mike Levin (D-San Juan Capistrano).  While Board of Equalization Member Diane Harkey (R-Dana Point) defeated Levin in Orange County, her undoing was Levin’s strong lead in San Diego County.  The three most senior members of the OC delegation are now Linda Sanchez (elected 2002), Alan Lowenthal (elected 2012), and Mimi Walters (elected 2014).  In a House of Representatives ruled by seniority, the OC delegation is severely lacking in seniority.
  2. Democrats’ Assembly Supermajority Hinges on Whether Matthew Harper Survives
    Orange County’s 5-2 Republican delegation could fall to being a 4-3 Republican delegation if Assemblyman Matthew Harper (R-Huntington Beach) is unable to hold his narrow lead over Small Business Owner Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach).  Harper’s defeat would produce a Democratic supermajority in the State Assembly to go along with the Democratic supermajority in the State Senate (Democrats captured a Republican-held State Senate seat in the Central Valley last night).  Harper leads Petrie-Norris by 672 votes out of 120,164 votes cast, or 0.6%.  Late absentee ballots and provisional ballots have not yet been counted and most certainly could flip the lead.
  3. District Attorney-Elect Todd Spitzer
    For what appears to be the first time in Orange County history, a sitting District Attorney has been defeated for re-election.  20-Year District Attorney Tony Rackauckas (R) has been defeated for re-election by Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer (R).  Spitzer’s election also creates a special election in the Third Supervisorial District.  Spitzer’s victory was so sweeping that he leads in 27 of Orange County’s 34 cities, winning everywhere except Little Saigon and the northern beach cities.
  4. Tim Shaw Leads, But Fourth District Supervisor is Too Close to Call
    La Habra Mayor Tim Shaw (R) leads Fullerton Mayor Doug Chaffee (D) by just 1,610 votes out of 87,404 votes cast.  Chaffee won the Fourth District’s three largest cities, Anaheim, Fullerton, and Buena Park, but Shaw ran up the total in his wins in the three smallest cities, La Habra, Placentia, and Brea, particularly with the landslide in his own city of La Habra.  There are still an enormous number of late absentee ballots and provisional ballots that could still change the result in this seat.
  5. Assemblyman-Elect Tyler Diep
    In the race to succeed Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach), Westminster Councilman Tyler Diep (R) defeated FreeConferenceCall.com CEO Josh Lowenthal (D-Huntington Beach) to retain this Assembly seat for Republicans.  Diep’s concurrent service with Senator Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove) makes California the first state ever with two Vietnamese-Americans serving in the State Legislature at the same time.
  6. Mayor-Elect Harry Sidhu and the New Anaheim Council Majority
    Anaheim voters delivered a new majority on their City Council.  Former Anaheim Councilman Harry Sidhu (R) was elected Mayor of Anaheim last night.  Businessman Trevor O’Neil (R) won the open Council seat in Anaheim Hills.  Former Councilman Jordan Brandman (D) defeated Councilman James Vanderbilt (R) in West Anaheim’s District 2 seat.  Councilman Jose Moreno (D) won re-election in Central Anaheim’s District 3 seat.
  7. Newport Beach Ousts Two Incumbents, Ending Council Majority
    While Councilmembers Diane Dixon (R) and Kevin Muldoon (R) won landslide re-elections, Councilman Scott Peotter (R) was defeated by Businesswoman Joy Brenner (R), and Councilman Duffy Duffield (R) is narrowly losing to Businessman Tim Stoaks (R).  With Peotter’s defeat and Duffield’s probable defeat, Newport Beach’s Council majority comes to an end.
  8. Lake Forest Sweep
    In a sweeping rebuke of incivility, Lake Forest voters elected Neeki Moatazedi (R) decisively over Sonny Morper (R) and elected former Councilman Mark Tettemer (R) to oust Mayor Jim Gardner (R) from office.  Moatazedi and Tettemer join Councilman Scott Voigts (R), who was unopposed for re-election when his opponent failed to qualify for the ballot, and Councilman Dwight Robinson (R) in a new 4-1 supermajority of civility.  Just ten months after the recall of Councilman Drew Hamilton (R) in which former Councilman Adam Nick’s allies won a 3-2 majority on the City Council, the voters have not only reversed the Nick majority but reduced down to 1 seat (which will be up for election in 2020).  A key turning point in the campaign came when Nick’s side sent a mailer so disgusting that multiple TV channels covered it, for it was so sexist that it called Moatazedi a “bikini model” and made up three fictional criminal record numbers with a photo of an inmate falsely implying that it was Moatazedi.  That mailer backfired into not only the media coverage but also campaign money and independent expenditures to oust Nick’s allies from the Council.
  9. Irvine’s New Councilmembers
    For the first time in 14 years, no incumbent Irvine Councilmember sought re-election (though Mayor Don Wagner (R) was re-elected last night).  Planning Commissioner Anthony Kuo (R) is the top vote getter while Businesswoman Farrah Khan (D) and Transportation Commissioner Carrie O’Malley (R) are neck-and-neck for the second Council seat, with Khan ahead by 389 votes, or 0.5%.
  10. Santa Ana Councilwoman-Elect Ceci Iglesias
    For the first time in a decade, Santa Ana citizens voted to elect a Republican to their City Council, with School Board Member Ceci Iglesias winning the Ward 6 seat by a decisive margin.  (The last Republican on the Santa Ana Council, Carlos Bustamante, was re-elected in 2008 to a term ending in 2012.)  Iglesias’s election creates a vacancy on the Santa Ana Unified School District Board, which will be filled by appointment.

Honorable Mention

  • There’s a New Sheriff in Town
    While it was widely expected that Undersheriff Don Barnes (R) would be elected Sheriff of Orange County, it’s always a major news story when there’s a new Sheriff.  Barnes decisively defeated Los Angeles County District Attorney Investigator Duke Nguyen (D) with 57% of the vote.

Upcoming News Story Due to Last Night’s Results

  • Race for Third District Supervisor
    With the election of Supervisor Todd Spitzer as District Attorney of Orange County, an early 2019 special election will take place to fill the remaining two years on Spitzer’s Supervisorial term.  Retiring Anaheim Councilwoman Kris Murray (R) and Businessman Andy Thorburn (D) have already announced for Spitzer’s Supervisorial seat.  Thorburn spent millions in his unsuccessful bid in the primary election for the 39th Congressional District.  Other early rumored candidates include Irvine Mayor Don Wagner (R), former Irvine Mayor Sukhee Kang (D), and Yorba Linda Councilwoman Peggy Huang (R).

(In the interest of full disclosure, Western American, the company that owns OC Political, serves as the political consultants for Sidhu, O’Neil, Voigts, Moatazedi, and Tettemer, as well as doing secondary consultant work for Kuo.  Additionally, this blogger is Spitzer’s alternate on the Central Committee of the Republican Party of Orange County.)

Posted in 39th Congressional District, 45th Congressional District, 48th Congressional District, 49th Congressional District, 4th Supervisorial District, 72nd Assembly District, 74th Assembly District, Anaheim, Irvine, Lake Forest, Newport Beach, Orange County District Attorney's Office, Orange County Sheriff, Santa Ana Unified School District | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Voter Recommendations – Poll Voter Edition Including Judge Elections!

Posted by Craig P Alexander on November 3, 2018

This coming Tuesday, November 6, 2018 is Election Day.  While a great many people have already voted by absentee ballot (now known as Mail In Ballot), there is still a strong contingent of people who go to the polling places and vote in person on Election Day.  If you have not voted yet this post is for you.

As I stated in my earlier post on October 1, 2018, there is a stark contrast between what Republican candidates wish to do in Congress and what Democratic candidates wish to do.  Here is a link to that post: What’s at Stake For Orange County Voters This November 6th?

Voting for Democrats is a vote for bigger, larger and more in your face government.  Voting for Republicans is a vote for liberty, personal choice, the current economic boom, less government and less taxation.  In my opinion not voting at all is a vote for Democrats. A few days ago Kathy Tavoularis penned an excellent article (that Chris Nguyen cross-posted here at O.C. Political) entitled:  Are You Willing to Let Your Orange County Vote Be Bought by New York, Boston, and San Francisco?

Kathy’s article is 100% correct, insightful and clearly lays out that a vote for any of the Democratic candidates is really a vote for Nancy Pelosi, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and what they stand for –  not a vote against Donald Trump.  If you are on the fence about voting for one of these Democratic candidates (or staying home and not voting), and especially if you are either a Republican or a conservative Independent / Libertarian voter, I highly recommend you read Kathy’s article before you step into the voting booth.

For those who would like to see my recommendations for voters, here is the latest version of my Craig’s Voter Recommendations (which I sometimes call “Craig’s Pics“): Craig’s Pics Nov 2018 Updated 10-31-18

Once you go to that link – you can print them out and take them with you to the polling station (and give your friends copies too).  This final version has recommendations for the judicial races (I get lots of questions about Judge races).

I also recommend you go to Robyn Nordell’s web site www.robynnordell.com. Robyn also publishes a lot of recommendations for races I do not cover / give an opinion on.  Here is Robyn’s Orange County page: Robyn’s Picks for the OC.

Craig Alexander is an attorney, a former elected member of the Orange County Republican Party Central Committee and a former officer in the California Republican Assembly.  His practice is located in Dana Point and his law practice areas include Office/Commercial Leasing, HOA law, Insurance law, Civil Litigation and the California Public Records Act.

 

 

Posted in 38th Congressional District, 39th Congressional District, 45th Congressional District, 46th Congressional District, 47th Congressional District, 48th Congressional District, 49th Congressional District, Dana Point, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Are You Willing to Let Your Orange County Vote Be Bought by New York, Boston, and San Francisco?

Posted by Chris Nguyen on October 31, 2018

Cross posted to OC Daily:

Kathy Tavoularis

Kathy Tavoularis

OC Political presents an op-ed from former Republican Party of Orange County Executive Director Kathy Tavoularis, who directed and implemented the 2004 get-out-the-vote effort in Orange County, producing the highest vote margin of victory for George W. Bush of any county in the United States:

Bill Watterson said, “Selling out is usually a matter of buying in. Sell out, and you’re really buying into someone else’s system of values, rules and rewards.”

The question is: Can you really buy the third-most populous county in California, the sixth-most populous in the United States, and a county more populous than twenty-one U.S. states?

Orange County, for decades known as “America’s Most Republican County,” has seen an unprecedented amount of Democrat dollars spent to flip four traditionally Republican Congressional seats in order to take control of the House of Representatives. To be clear, the list of money to date includes, but is not limited to:

  • Over $10 million from the House Minority Leader, San Francisco liberal icon Nancy Pelosi
  • $5 million from liberal San Francisco environmentalist billionaire Tom Steyer
  • Nearly $10 million from the Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee
  • Over $5 million from former New York Mayor and Democrat Presidential hopeful Mike Bloomberg’s PAC

That is roughly $30 million from outside Orange County that is being spent to buy your vote – whether you are a Republican or a Democrat. Democrats can’t win in Orange County without Republican votes. The numbers aren’t there. So Orange County Republicans voters are being targeted with outside money with San Francisco, Boston and New York values to tell you your values are wrong, that the way you live is wrong, that government is best when it runs your life. So vote Democrat.

Do they not understand the history of Orange County? They do not because they are not from here. Since 1888 when we separated from Los Angeles County, Orange County, a.k.a. “the OC,” has prided itself on being a separate, unique destination. One where you can live comfortably, raise your children and send them to good, safe schools, drive to work and enjoy your weekend on the beach or at an amusement park.

Now, Tom Steyer, Nancy Pelosi, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren want Orange County all to themselves and they are promoting four Democrat Socialists to take over four Congressional districts. You have never heard of these candidates before because they have no history of service in Orange County. But with all that money being spent on them by Tom, Nancy, Bernie and Elizabeth they might soon control you and represent “their” values on your behalf in Congress.

The Democrats’ talking point, especially to Republicans, is: “Hey, it’s great you like Trump, but he needs a check and balance. Give the Democrats the House, and we will make sure he doesn’t do anything crazy.” But don’t be fooled:

  • In Congressional District 39, a vote for Democrat Gil Cisneros is not a vote against Republican Young Kim or Donald Trump – but a vote FOR San Francisco Liberal Senator Kamala Harris.
  • In Congressional District 45, a vote for Democrat Katie Porter is not a vote against Republican Congresswoman Mimi Walters or Donald Trump – but a vote FOR Massachusetts Socialist Democrat Senator Elizabeth Warren, a mentor of Katie Porter. In fact, Ms. Porter’s campaign Treasurer is Alexander Warren, Senator Warren’s son. And Porter named her daughter after the Massachusetts Senator.
  • In Congressional District 48, a vote for Harley Rouda is not a vote against Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher or Donald Trump – but a vote FOR San Francisco Liberal Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and her quest to be Speaker.
  • In Congressional District 49, a vote for Mike Levin is not a vote against Diane Harkey or Donald Trump – but a vote FOR Vermont Socialist Democrat Senator Bernie Sanders.

So, I ask, can your vote, values and way of life be bought on November 6?

Posted in 39th Congressional District, 45th Congressional District, 48th Congressional District, 49th Congressional District | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »