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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: | 3 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 »

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.

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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 »