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OC’s Top Ten 2018 Primary Election Stories

Posted by Chris Nguyen on June 6, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Chris Nguyen on June 5, 2018

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

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

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

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

* Indicates Incumbent Candidate

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

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

* Indicates Incumbent Candidate

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

OC’s Top 10 Races to Watch

Posted by Chris Nguyen on June 5, 2018

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

The Big Three: Congress

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Rest of the Top 10

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

Snoozer in June, Battle in November

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

Near-Snoozers

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

Total Snoozer That Could Have Been Interesting

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

Total Snoozers

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

Virtually Unopposed

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

Unopposed

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

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

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

OC’s Best Ballot Designations, 2018 Primary Edition

Posted by Chris Nguyen on June 2, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OC’s Worst Ballot Designations, 2018 Primary Edition

Posted by Chris Nguyen on June 1, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Dis)Honorable Mentions

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

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

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

Party Affiliations of Everyone Running for Everything on June 5

Posted by Chris Nguyen on May 31, 2018

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

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

Superior Court Judge, Office No. 13

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

Superintendent of Public Instruction

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

County Superintendent of Schools

  • Al Mijares – Republican

County Board of Education, Area 2

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

County Board of Education, Area 5

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

Supervisor, 2nd District

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

Supervisor, 4th District

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

Supervisor, 5th District

  • Lisa Bartlett – Republican

Assessor

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

Auditor-Controller

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

Clerk-Recorder

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

District Attorney-Public Administrator

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

Sheriff-Coroner

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

Treasurer-Tax Collector

  • Shari L. Freidenrich – Republican

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

BOS-4: Fullerton Mayor Chaffee Makes Six Candidates

Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 10, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Chris Nguyen on February 19, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8:13 PM: O’Neill confirmed unanimously.

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

8:27 PM: Various club reports are presented.

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

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

Total Chaos: Harkey & Chavez Running for CD-49; Nelson, Kim, & Huff Running for CD-39; Who’s Running for BOE & AD-76?

Posted by Chris Nguyen on January 11, 2018

The unexpected announcements in a three-day period by Congressmen Ed Royce (R-Fullerton) and Darrell Issa (R-Vista) that they would not be running for re-election in two of the most hotly-contested Congressional seats in the country set off a game of musical chairs that has unleashed total chaos in the Southern California political world, particularly in Orange County and even in Los Angeles and San Diego Counties.

The Fast and the Furious

In a three-day span, two Congressional races, a Board of Equalization race, an Assembly race, and a supervisorial race were turned upside down.  Former and current elected officials have been switching campaigns faster than the speed of street racers living a quarter-mile at a time.

On Monday, Royce announced he would not be running for re-election in the 39th Congressional District.  The next evening, former Assemblywoman Young Kim (R-Fullerton) entered the CD-39 race the with Royce’s endorsement and dropped out of the race to succeed Fourth District Supervisor Shawn Nelson (R-Fullerton).  Less than 3 hours later, Nelson entered the race for CD-39, abandoning plans to wait for an open judicial seat.  Within 20 minutes of Nelson’s entry, former State Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar) entered the CD-39 race.

On Wednesday, Issa announced he would not be running for re-election in the 49th Congressional District.  Two hours later, Board of Equalization Chairwoman Diane Harkey (R-Dana Point) entered the CD-49 race with the endorsements of both Issa and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield), ending her re-election bid for the State Board of Equalization.  Four hours after Harkey’s entry, Assemblyman Rocky Chavez (R-Oceanside) entered the CD-49 race, ending his re-election bid for the 76th Assembly District.  Inexplicably, both the San Diego Union-Tribune and Los Angeles Times reported that Chavez was the first to enter the race despite Harkey announcing first.

The rapid Royce and Issa retirements set off so many rumors that Congressmen Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach) and Ken Calvert (R-Corona) both felt compelled to issue statements yesterday confirming that they were continuing their re-election campaigns.  Calvert said, “I look forward to campaigning in 2018 to represent the 42nd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives…” (full statement here). Rohrabacher said, “I am unequivocally running for re-election and confident that my views reflect the values and the needs of my constituents here in Orange County…” (full statement here).

The Hunger Games

Kim’s entry into the CD-39 race shook up the 4th Supervisorial District race to succeed Nelson, for she was the candidate with the highest name ID and largest warchest.  Harkey’s entry into the CD-49 race has now created a race for BOE that otherwise would have been a near-certain re-election for her.  Similarly, Chavez’s entry into CD-49 race has now created a race for AD-76 that otherwise would have been a probable re-election for him.

In all of this, it cannot be forgotten: CD-39 and CD-49 are both key swing seats that could help determine party control of the United States House of Representatives.  With that in mind, since the Democratic fields for both districts has stayed steady, we’re focusing on the completely-transformed Republican fields for both districts.

A picture (or flow chart) is worth 1,000 words for the first few days of our local version of The Hunger Games.  There can only be one victor in each seat, as various elected officials hope the odds are ever in their favor:

CD-39/CD-49 Flow Chart

49th Congressional District

I promise: no more gratuitous movie references in this blog post.  In the 49th Congressional District race to succeed Issa:

Board of Equalization Chairwoman Diane Harkey (R-Dana Point) represents all of CD-49, as her massive BOE district includes the entirety of Orange, San Diego, Imperial, and Riverside Counties, as well as portions of San Bernardino County.  She won one election to the Dana Point City Council and then three elections to the State Assembly representing portions of South Orange County and North San Diego County.   Harkey raised $600,000 for her BOE campaign.  She raised $259,000 for her 2012 Assembly re-election, $189,000 in 2010, and $299,000 in 2008.

Assemblyman Rocky Chavez represents 63% of CD-49 voters.  Of the 387,000 registered voters in CD-49, Chavez represents the 244,000 who reside in the AD-76 overlap with CD-49.  He won two elections to the Oceanside City Council and then three elections to the State Assembly representing North San Diego County.  In the most recent election in 2016, he made an awkward bid for US Senate, in which he dropped out live on air on KOGO-AM in the opening minutes of a Republican Senate debate.  He had raised $117,000 for his US Senate campaign.  Chavez raised $198,000 for his 2016 Assembly re-election, $256,000 in 2014, and $258,000 in 2012.

There are currently four Democrats running for CD-49, none of whom hold elected office, and three of whom have raised over $500,000 (and the fourth entered after the last campaign finance reporting period).  If no other Republican enters, and none of the Democrats drop out, it is entirely possible a CD-31 2012 scenario could play out, and we could see Harkey vs. Chavez in the November general election.  (CD-31 was a highly competitive swing seat in 2012, but Congressman Gary Miller and State Senate Republican Leader Bob Dutton faced off in the general election because four Democrats split the vote, allowing Miller and Dutton to slip into the top two spots.)

39th Congressional District

Here are excerpts of OC Political’s analysis from Tuesday in relation to Nelson, Huff, and Kim before their entries into the 39th Congressional District race to succeed Royce:

Supervisor Shawn Nelson represents 45% of the voters of the 39th Congressional District.  Of the 367,000 registered voters in CD-39, Nelson represents 166,000 of them, who reside in the 4th Supervisorial District’s overlap with CD-39.  Nelson has deep roots in the district, having grown up in Fullerton, graduated from high school there, and even graduating from law school there.  He’s also a member of countless civic organizations in CD-39.  Nelson won three elections to the Fullerton City Council and two to the Orange County Board of Supervisors (and raised the necessary money to wage those campaigns).  As it happens, he is termed out from the Board in 2018.

Former State Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff represented 71% of CD-39 voters, with 262,000 of the 367,000 CD-39 voters residing in SD-29, which Huff termed out of in 2016.  Huff won three elections to the Diamond Bar City Council, two to the State Assembly, and two to the State Senate.  Diamond Bar is the largest LA County city in CD-39.  Though he lost his bid for the LA County Board of Supervisors, there are less than 200 voters who are in the overlap between CD-39 and that supervisorial district.  As a former Senate Republican Leader, he’s certainly capable of raising funds for this seat.

Former Assemblywoman Young Kim represented 35% of CD-39 voters, with 95,000 of the 367,000 CD-39 voters residing in AD-65.  However, Kim also holds the unique distinction of having worked for Royce for nearly 20 years before her election to the Assembly.  She had been his Director of Community Relations and Asian Affairs.  In 2014, Kim defeated Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva’s re-election bid, but in 2016, Quirk-Silva avenged herself by defeating Kim’s re-election bid.  Kim is certainly familiar with what a swing seat campaign entails, with her sheer number of volunteers and staff.  She raised $2 million in each of her two Assembly campaigns.  Kim is currently in the midst of her bid to replace the termed out Nelson to represent the Fourth District on the Board of Supervisors.  If Kim switched to the Congressional race, it would leave La Habra Mayor Tim Shaw the sole Republican candidate facing off against Democrat Joe Kerr, a former long-time firefighters’ union president, for Supervisor (other Democrats running for the seat would presumably be eliminated by the voters in the June primary).

At the moment, there are six Democrats and two independents (though a seventh Democrat is reportedly looking at the seat).  Five of the Democrats have raised over $100,000 (one has hit $400,000), and four of them have self-funded in amounts ranging from $111,000-$2,000,000.  A CD-31 2012 scenario is tougher here than in CD-49 (though not out of the question) with three Republicans, six or seven Democrats, and two independents.  However, if one of the three Republicans drops out, a CD-31 2012 scenario becomes much more likely with that large Democratic Party field.

Board of Equalization

Lost in the Congressional races has been the fact that the Board of Equalization race is now wide open since Harkey will be running for CD-49 rather than seeking re-election.

Former Councilman John F. Kelly (R-Tustin) had pulled papers to run against Harkey.  He won only 11% of the vote when he ran against her in 2014.  A former long-time tobacco shop owner, Kelly does have an odd boost in name ID now, thanks to White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly.  Former Tobacco Shop Owner Kelly served one term on the Tustin City Council from 1986-1990, having been elected to office at the age of 24 and defeated for re-election at the age of 28.  He also made an ill-fated bid for Congress in 1988 for the seat eventually won by Chris Cox (who was succeeded by John Campbell who was succeeded by Mimi Walters).  No word on if Kelly will continue his campaign, now that Harkey is out.

Sources have stated that Orange County Water District Board Member Denis Bilodeau (R-Orange) is examining whether he will enter the BOE race since Harkey switched to CD-49.  Bilodeau won two elections to the Orange City Council, serving from 2006 to 2014, when he termed out.  He also won five elections to represent Orange, Villa Park, and portions of Tustin on the water board.  Bilodeau is also Shawn Nelson’s Chief of Staff at the Orange County Board of Supervisors.

76th Assembly District

Oceanside Councilman Jerry Kern was running for AD-76 in 2016 until withdrawing when Chavez dropped out of the US Senate race.  Kern is currently running for San Diego County Supervisor in the Fifth District but sources indicate he is preparing to switch back to AD-76 in 2018 since Chavez is now running for CD-49.  Kern had raised $184,000 for AD-76 in 2016 until Chavez’s return forced Kern out of the race.

Strangely, no Democrat has ever run for AD-76 since the implementation of the top two primary.  Chavez has only run against other Republicans for Assembly.

Posted in 39th Congressional District, 49th Congressional District, 4th Supervisorial District, Board of Equalization | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Quirk-Silva Denies Supervisorial Run in Response to Our Story: “Breaking News: Quirk-Silva to Run for Supervisor, Husband for Assembly”

Posted by Chris Nguyen on January 10, 2018

9:46 PM update: Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva denies our story, tweeting: “A lot of discussion about Congressional Seat 39, and 4th District Supervisor Seat, in OC.I am honored to get so many requests to run for Congress or Supervisor. A blog just posted false information that I am s [sic] candidate for Supervisor. I am running for re-election to

Reacting to this denial, two of our sources continue to insist that Quirk-Silva made a number of phone calls to potential donors and potential endorsers today about a Supervisorial run.

10:19 PM update: AD-65 challenger Alexandria Coronado responded to Quirk-Silva’s tweet: “it’s good 2 know u stand by your terrible gas tax vote, and want another 2 years to vote more – I am going to change that! ” and “Assembly, Congress, Supervisor, or any office you run for – the taxpayers will hold you responsible!

Original story below:


Sharon Quirk-Silva

Sharon Quirk-Silva

Multiple sources report to OC Political that Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton) is preparing to launch a bid for Fourth District Supervisor to succeed the termed out Shawn Nelson (R-Fullerton), who announced yesterday that he is running for the 39th Congressional District seat held by Ed Royce (R-Fullerton), who announced his retirement unexpectedly on Monday.  Quirk-Silva is entering the Fourth Supervisorial District race after former Assemblywoman Young Kim (R-Fullerton) left the race yesterday in order to run for Royce’s seat.  Former Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar) also entered the race for Royce’s seat yesterday.

No word yet on whether Quirk-Silva will clear the field of other Democrats running for Fourth District Supervisor: former firefighters’ union president Joe Kerr, La Habra Councilwoman Rose Espinoza, and La Habra School Board Member Cynthia Aguirre.  La Habra Mayor Tim Shaw remains the sole Republican candidate, but rumors abound of other potential Republican candidates.

Fewer (but still multiple) sources also report that Councilman Jesus Silva (D-Fullerton) will run to replace his wife in the 65th Assembly District.  Silva’s council seat expires in 2020, so if he wins the AD-65 swing seat, the Fullerton Council will appoint his replacement, but if he loses the AD-65 race, then he remains on the Council for at least two more years.  Former Orange County Board of Education President Dr. Alexandria Coronado (R-Cypress) is the only Republican running for AD-65.

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