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Live from OC GOP Central Committee: Endorsements for November 2022 Election Round 3

Posted by Chris Nguyen on August 15, 2022

The following candidates who received the recommendation of the Endorsements Committee are up for consideration tonight by the Republican Party of Orange County Central Committee:

  • Carrie Hayashida for Cypress City Council
  • Hon. Bonnie Peat for Cypress City Council
  • John Gabbard for Dana Point City Council, District 1
  • Patrick Harper for Fountain Valley School District.
  • Laurie Merrick for Garden Grove City Council, District 3
  • Dr. Susan Prichard for La Habra City Council
  • Ben Yu for Lake Forest City Council, District 2
  • Hon. Scott Voigts for Lake Forest City Council, District 3
  • Aaron Washington for San Clemente City Council
  • Meghan Willis for Huntington Beach City School District Area 2
  • Autumn McCall DiGiovanni for Huntington Beach City School District, Area 4
  • Julie Norton for Huntington Beach City School District, Area 5
  • Kristen Seaburn for Newport-Mesa Unified School District Trustee, Area 7
  • Angela Williams for Orange Unified School District, Area 1
  • Madison Miner for Orange Unified School District, Area 4
  • Hon. Tim Surridge for Orange Unified School District, Area 5
  • Hon. Rick Ledesma for Orange Unified School District, Area 7
  • Richard Ingle for Placentia-Yorba Linda School District, Area 5
  • Kelly Felton for Tustin Unified School District, Area e
  • Hon. Phil Hawkins for Yorba Linda Water District
  • Hon. Brett Barbre for Yorba Linda Water District
  • Hon. Tom Lindsey for Yorba Linda Water District

These candidates are also eligible for consideration by the Central Committee but received a neutral recommendation from the Endorsements Committee:

  • Simon Moon for Irvine Mayor
  • Namquan Nguyen for Westminster City Council, District 4
  • Steve Slawson for Placentia Yorba Linda School District, Area 4
  • Hon. Brooke Jones for Yorba Linda Water District

This ballot measure position is also recommended by the Endorsements Committee for consideration by the Central Committee:

  • No on Capistrano Unified School District Bond Measure

Previously endorsed candidates are listed here.

The invocation is led by Austin Edsell, the Pledge of Allegiance by Mission Viejo Mayor Wendy Bucknun, and the roll call by OCGOP Chairman Fred Whitaker. Yorba Linda Councilman Gene Hernandez swears in several alternates. The minutes are approved.

Chairman Whitaker speaks about the events and meetings of the past month. He urges Central Committee members to recruit friends to walk precincts and phone bank. He announced a special meeting for endorsements on August 29; it will be on Zoom so as not to spend extra money on hotel meeting room rental.

Whitaker explains the situation in Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District, Trustee Area 4. OC GOP told Steve Slawson’s team on July 18 they could wait until August, but OC GOP didn’t realize that Todd Frazier on the July 18 Endorsements Commitee agenda was for the same seat.

Whitaker also explains that the Endorsements Committee recommended Brett Barbre, incumbent Tom Lindsey, and incumbent Phil Hawkins for Yorba Linda Water District under the mistaken impression that incumbent Brooke Jones was retiring. Jones contacted OCGOP after Endorsements Committee met but before Central Committee, so all the candidates for YLWD were until the August Central Committee to allow all four to be reviewed together.

Whitaker introduces the first guest speaker, Chris Gonzales, candidate for the 46th Congressional District.

Gonzales speaks about his personal background, including his service in the United States Army and his legal career. He had considered running for the 47th Congressional District but supported Scott Baugh. He considered running for Mayor of Irvine, but he realized his passion was for federal issues. He decided to run in the 46th Congressional District, where his office is, because he feels the people of that District are the most in need, with crime, homelessness, and poverty. He speaks of his public service career of 30 years. He also speaks of volunteering for Bruce Herschensohn for US Senate in 1992 and compares his own race to Herschensohn’s. He also noted his unsuccessful run for Mayor of Irvine in 2010.

Whitaker introduces the second guest speaker, Eddy Marmolejo, California Chairman of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly.

Marmolejo speaks of his group’s mission and how it supplies volunteers for precinct walking and phone banking. He speaks of the importance of conservative values for Hispanics. He speaks of affordability and financial security for Hispanics. He notes the their group is working with the Republican Party at every level: RNC, CAGOP, and OCGOP. He speaks of the importance of communication and doing so in Spanish (literature where one side is in English and the other side is in Spanish). He comments about discussing key issues over carne asada, and cites the economy, education, and health care as the top three issues.

Chairman Whitaker and Mayor Rhonda Shader recognize the Volunteer of the Month, Kerry Zhang.

Zhang is a high school intern for the Scott Baugh for Congress campaign, where he is a top volunteer, even spending his 16th birthday volunteering with the campaign. Zhang spoke of the camaraderie of the campaign and the importance of volunteerism.

At 7:47 PM, Whitaker announces the beginning of the candidate forum in Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District, Trustee Area 4. He noted there would be a three minute opening statement for each candidate.

At 7:49 PM, Todd Frazier noted PYLUSD removing CRT from schools. He said COVID-19 revealed a lot about what was going on in school. His daughter quit sports because she felt it was too dangerous to wear a mask while engaging in athletics. He blasts DEI. He says they are taking the school district back from leftists. He opposes frivolous spending on teaching kids to play via DEI. He is a CPA.

At 7:52 PM, Steve Slawson has been running for a year and a half. He says this is like a small town campaign. He put his team together in March. He has a $30,000 budget and has increased it to $50,000. He has walked 1,200 houses already. He notes the incumbent, Karin Freeman, has to go. His children have been in the district for a combined 25 years. He even has the support of Freeman’s son. He volunteered in the school for 9 years. He saw a lot of things he didn’t like with Zoom school. He was on three PYLUSD committees. He was the sole Republican on those committees and fought for conservative values. He has also secured 13 slate mailers.

At 7:55, Whitaker asks for questions.

Jennifer Beall asks their top two priorities if elected.

At 7:56, Slawson says he would fire the lawyers and replace them. He would find a superintendent with CEO experience and who would follow the direction of the Board.

At 7:57, Frazier says he wants to block medical clinics on campus. He wants to retool PYLUSD administration.

At 7:58, Cynthia Thacker asks for the party registration of the Trustee Area 4.

Frazier says it’s 48% Republican and 27% Democrat and laments voter turnout.

Slawson notes the number of voters who turn out.

At 7:59 PM, Gene Hernandez asks if the candidates will step aside if the other candidate gets the endorsement.

Slawson says it is too late for that. And it should have been in March.

Frazier says he would have done so before candidate filing closed on August 12 because it is no longer possible to do so.

Brett Barbre asks about top endorsements.

Frazier notes OCGOP, CRA, OCBE, PYLUSD Trustees Shawn Youngblood and Leandra Blades, and Yorba Linda Councilman Gene Hernandez.

Slawson notes Don Wagner, Scott Voigts, Steve Vargas, and Dylan Callaway.

At 8:02, Kristin Manna asked about campaign finance.

Slawson has $23,000 cash on hand and is adding another $20,000.

Frazier has a $20,000 budget and has received donated printing for signs, banners, and T-shirts.

At 8:03, Ray Gennawey asks about cash on hand.

Frazier says $2,000.

At 8:04 PM, Chairman Whitaker says the candidate forum for PYLUSD has concluded, and a vote will take place later. He introduces the Yorba Linda Water District candidate forum.

Brett Barbre has lived in Yorba Linda since 1969, been active in the party since 1985, and was elected to the water district in 1998. He speaks of establishing the district website, the importance of groundwater, the challenges of the 2008 fire, and fire hardening of various water infrastructure. He speaks of labor issues coming up. He notes Phil Hawkins and Tom Lindsey are his running mates.

Phil Hawkins has been on the YLWD Board since 2010. His first job was for Assemblyman Wayne Grisham in 1988. His father was elected to the Assembly in 1994. Hawkins was on the LA Central Committee from 1996-2000, when he moved to Orange County. He’s lived in Yorba Linda since 2001. After the 2008 fire, he joined a YLWD citizens advisory committee. He was appointed to a vacancy on the YLWD Board in February 2010. He won elections in 2010, 2014, and 2018. Because he came in with the fire, fire hardening is one of his priorities. He is endorsed by his co-worker Tim Shaw and Congresswoman Young Kim.

Brooke Jones says he is a lifelong Republican and is in good standing. He ran in 2016 and 2018, and was the top vote-getter both times. He says Barbre gave the false information that Jones was not running and notes he finished candidate filing before Barbre. He noted prior boards raised fees by 148%. He noted he was the only Board Member to oppose a fee increase proposed by Barbre. He represents YLWD on the OC Sanitation District and the Independent Special Districts of Orange County.

Tom Lindsey was appointed to YLWD in 2021. He was a two-time Mayor of Yorba Linda. He has helped elect other Republicans to office. He calls for taxpayer protecting and state government shielding governance at YLWD. He’s voted to challenge State mandates. He’s been endorsed by OCGOP in every campaign he’s run in, including a recall election that took place just weeks before the general election. He states he feels a greater urgency to defend conservative values. He notes his 12-year-old granddaughter was asked by her pediatrician due to state law about whether she would date a boy or a girl, and she didn’t even understand.

At 8:18, Ben Yu asks if any of them will suspend their campaign if they don’t get the endorsement.

All four say they will not.

At 8:19, Kermit Marsh asks each candidate stood on the Yorba Linda recall.

Hawkins supported Craig Young and Tom Lindsey.

Jones says he was not involved.

Lindsey was a target of the recall and obviously opposed.

Barbre opposed the recall. He notes that the old recall proponents endorsed Jones for YLWD.

At 8:21 PM, Chairman Fred Whitaker asks Endorsements Committee Chair Jeff Barke to deliver the report of the Committee.

Barke thanks Whitaker and apologizes for the committee’s errors. He thanks committee members Gretchen Cox, Erik Weigand, Gene Hernandez, Ray Gennawey, Alberta Christy, and Austin Lumbard. He thanks OCGOP staff. He highlights a few specific applications.

In Newport Mesa Unified School District, Trustee Area 7, Kristen Seaburn was recommended but Barke has just learned of another Republican who intends to apply for the endorsement.

Namquan Nguyen has withdrawn his application from Westminster Council District 4.

He says Simon Moon is a wonderful person but there are multiple Republicans running and has little political experience as he is running to be Mayor of a major OC city.

He brings up Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District Trustee Area 4. He says there were items that the Endorsements Committee learned about Slawson but did not specify what the items were.

The consent calendar of affirmative recommendations, less Newport Mesa Unified School District Trustee Area 7 (Kristen Seaburn), is approved by voice vote.

A motion and second for Seaburn is made and approved by voice vote.

Whitaker asks if there is a motion on Simon Moon for Irvine Mayor.

There is a motion and a second for Moon.

Baron Night speaks in favor of Moon. He says Moon has asked for the endorsement and probably won’t win. He feels endorsing is a way to get Moon involved in the party. He says Moon seems to be a good person. He says Moon can build up name ID for future elections. He points to an unnamed candidate for whom this worked.

Chairman Whitaker says this is a difficult position. He notes how party resources have to be used and if the effort has a shot at winning and whether it will help or detract other races. He notes this is the first time in 20 years that the number of Republicans running matches the number of seats available, and the vote will not be split. He says there are multiple Republicans running for Mayor but none of them have the experience to run a successful campaign to unseat the Democratic Mayor. These Mayoral candidates may draw money away from the Council candidates.

The vote for endorsing Moon fails 12-25. NO ENDORSEMENT FOR MAYOR OF IRVINE.

The motion to unendorse Frazier failed 7-34. FRAZIER RETAINS ENDORSEMENT IN PYLUSD AREA 4.

Chairman Whitaker notes that the Brooke Jones endorsement request has been rendered moot since Barbre, Lindsey, and Hawkins were already endorsed for YLWD.

There are various Executive Committee reports and club reports.

The meeting adjourns at 9:06 in memory of Sharon Rogers, Joy Neugebauer, and Gwen Dyrud.

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Live from OC GOP Central Committee: Endorsements for November 2022 Election Round 2

Posted by Chris Nguyen on July 25, 2022

It’s been some time since we’ve done a live blog, so it’s probably time to start up again. It should be noted the phone reception in Costa Mesa has been much more challenging than back when the meetings were held in Irvine.

The following candidates who received the recommendation of the Endorsements Committee are up for consideration tonight by the Republican Party of Orange County Central Committee:

  • Max Duncan for Aliso Viejo City Council
  • Hon. Don Caskey for Laguna Hills City Council
  • Hon. Erica Pezold for Laguna Hills City Council
  • Josh Sweeney for Laguna Hills City Council
  • Hon. Dave Wheeler for Laguna Hills City Council
  • Stephanie Winstead for Laguna Niguel City Council
  • Robert Ruesch for Mission Viejo City Council, District 1
  • Hon. Brian Goodell for Mission Viejo City Council, District 2
  • Hon. Ed Sachs for Mission Viejo City Council, District 3
  • Hon. Trish Kelley for Mission Viejo City Council, District 4
  • Hon. Wendy Bucknum for Mission Viejo City Council, District 5
  • Joe Stapleton for Newport Beach City Council, District 1
  • Robyn Grant for Newport Beach City Council, District 4
  • Lauren Kleiman for Newport Beach City Council, District 6
  • Hon. Anne Figueroa for Rancho Santa Margarita City Council
  • Hon. Brad McGirr for Rancho Santa Margarita City Council
  • Hon. Steve Knoblock for San Clemente City Council
  • Ray Schnell for Tustin City Council, District 3
  • Kira Davis for Capistrano Unified School District, Trustee Area 2
  • Jim Glantz for Capistrano Unified School District, Trustee Area 4
  • Hon. Michelle Barto for Newport-Mesa Unified School District, Trustee Area 5
  • Barbara George for Newport-Mesa United School District, Trustee Area 4
  • Todd Frazier for Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District, Trustee Area 4
  • Hon. Greg Kunath for Saddleback Valley Unified School District, Trustee Area 1

These candidates are also eligible for consideration by the Central Committee but received a neutral recommendation from the Endorsements Committee:

  • Hon. Matt Rahn for State Assembly, 71st District
  • Kathryn Sanchez for State Assembly, 71st District
  • Jeff von Waldburg for Laguna Niguel City Council
  • Jess Battaglia for Yorba Linda City Council
  • Janice Lim for Yorba Linda City Council

One candidate is also eligible for consideration by the Central Committee but received a negative recommendation from the Endorsements Committee:

  • Tom Miller for Newport Beach City Council, District 1

The Central Committee already approved official endorsements from the Republican Party of Orange County for the following candidates:

  • Hon. Eric Ching for Congress, 38th District
  • Hon. Young Kim for Congress, 40th District
  • Hon. Michelle Steel for Congress, 45th District
  • Christopher Gonzales for Congress, 46th District
  • Hon. Scott Baugh for Congress, 47th District
  • Hon. Brian Maryott for Congress, 49th District
  • Hon. Kelly Seyarto for State Senate, 32nd District
  • Hon. Rhonda Shader for State Senate, 34th District
  • Hon. Janet Nguyen for State Senate, 36th District
  • Matt Gunderson for State Senate, 38th District
  • Hon. Phillip Chen for State Assembly, 59th District
  • Hon. Soo Yoo for State Assembly, 67th District
  • Mike Tardif for State Assembly, 68th District
  • Hon. Diane Dixon for State Assembly, 72nd District
  • Hon. Steven Choi for State Assembly, 73rd District
  • Hon. Laurie Davies for State Assembly, 74th District
  • Hon. Pat Bates for Orange County Board of Supervisors, 5th District
  • Hon. Peggy Huang for Superior Court Judge, Office No. 30
  • Tara Lea Ricksen for Aliso Viejo City Council
  • Hon. Michael Gates for Huntington Beach City Attorney
  • Hon. Tony Strickland for Huntington Beach City Council
  • Casey McKeon for Huntington Beach City Council
  • Gracey Van Der Mark for Huntington Beach City Council
  • Pat Burns for Huntington Beach City Council
  • Hon. Anthony Kuo for Irvine City Council
  • John Park for Irvine City Council
  • Guadalupe Lara for La Habra City Council
  • Ray Gennawey for Laguna Niguel City Council
  • Erik Weigand for Newport Beach City Council, District 3
  • Hon. Mark Murphy for Mayor of Orange
  • Hon. Kathy Tavoularis for Orange City Council, District 3            
  • Hon. Chip Monaco for Orange City Council, District 4
  • John Gyllenhammer for Orange City Council, District 6       
  • Hon. Austin Lumbard for Mayor of Tustin
  • Hon. Carlos Rodriguez for Yorba Linda City Council

The meeting commences with an invocation from Pano Frousiakis and the Pledge of Allegiance led by Ryan May.

After the roll call, the ex officio members are sworn in since this is the first Central Committee meeting since the certification of the primary election in late June.

OCGOP Chairman Fred Whitaker gives an update on the OCGOP’s efforts on targeted races. He also notes that Tom Miller contacted him moments ago to withdraw his endorsement request for Newport Beach City Council, District 1.

At 7:21, Whitaker asks Endorsements Committee Chairman Jeff Barke to deliver the committee’s report.

Barke notes that the Yorba Linda Water District endorsement requests have been deferred to August by mutual agreement of the candidates to allow all to be considered.

Barke notes new endorsements from the Mayor Carlos Rodriguez and two school board members for Jess Battaglia for Yorba Linda City Council.

In the 71st Assembly District campaign, Barke asks Endorsements Committee Member Erik Weigand to share new information. He says there is an endorsement application question about contributions to Democrats in the past ten years. Weigand notes there are eight donations from Matt Rahn to Democrat Barack Obama in 2012, ranging from May to October. He also gave more recently to Donald Trump, Ken Calvert, and Jeff Stone. Weigand expresses concern that Rahn was not forthcoming about the 2012 donations. Barke says that Rahn implied Pastor Tim Thompson (whoever that is) endorsed him, but Thompson called Barke to tell him he is supporting Kathryn Sanchez for this seat.

Whitaker notes that the Yorba Linda Council race is divided between Janice Lim and Jess Battaglia.

At 7:32 PM, Jennifer Beall moves and Laurie Davies seconds the consent calendar.

Anthony Kuo asks for confirmation that incumbents Ed Sachs and Greg Raths are running in the same seat and that Sachs is recommended. Whitaker confirms. Kuo expresses support.

No one pulls anyone from the consent calendar of people with positive recommendations from the Endorsements Committee. At 7:35, the vote is unanimous.

First of the contested races is the 71st Assembly District between Matt Rahn and Kathryn Sanchez.

Councilman Matt Rahn became a Republican 10 years ago. Darrell Issa, Ken Calvert, Assembly Republican Leader James Gallagher, Phil Chen, Steven Choi, Don Wagner, Diane Dixon, and half the Assembly Republican Caucus have endorsed him. He has supported conservative Republicans and even supported Trump before other Republicans did. He says living in California and seeing Democratic governance made him a Republican. He fought against cannabis dispensaries and sanctuary cities. He is pro life and supports gun rights and school choice.

Kate Sanchez states she is a lifelong Republican. She blasts California’s gas prices, taxes, and inflation. She says she has the ability to lead and has experience from the California Policy Center, working on school choice. She was interim Executive Director of the California Women’s Leadership Association. She was a Congressional staffer and worked on solutions for immigration. She notes the district has unique needs, where she has lived and worked for 30 years. She notes endorsements from Laurie Davies, Melissa Melendez, Harmeet Dhillon, the entire Rancho Santa Margarita Council, and members of the Mission Viejo Council. She states she is the only lifelong Republican in the race and is a proven conservative.

At 7:45, Benjamin Yu asks to delay the endorsement to August, but Whitaker notes there is no motion on the floor yet.

At 7:46, Jon Fleischman asks Rahn why he didn’t disclose his contributions to Barack Obama in 2012 and endorsement of Kamala Harris in 2016. He also asks about donations to a tax measure.

Rahn states it was his job in Washington, DC to make the contributions as an advocate for firefighters. He disputes that he endorsed Harris. He says the Riverside County GOP vetted this and still endorsed him. Rahn says that the State took away City funding, and every city in southwest Riverside County placed a tax increase measure on the ballot.

At 7:49, Baron Night asks that Rahn became a Republican ten years ago. He says the Registrar’s record was that he became a Republican in 2014.

Rahn states he was a Decline to State. In Washington, DC, and Sacramento, he saw how broke the values of government leaders were. He moved to California from Nevada. He became a Republican because conservative Republican leaders mentored him on conservative values.

At 7:52, Jennifer Beall asks Sanchez if she has ever endorsed or received an endorsement from a Democrat.

Sanchez says she has never endorsed a Democrat nor given money to one.

At 7:53, Beall asks Sanchez if she will ever vote for a tax increase.

Sanchez says no.

Beall asks about creating Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DEI) committees like in Temecula.

Sanchez says no.

Rahn is unsure what the comment about Democrats supporting him is. He says when Temecula passed the sales tax increase, it was for public safety and cost the average taxpayer $100-$200. However, he then refinanced CFDs to lower individual taxpayer burden by $200-$1,400. He says the DEI Commission was established to avoid a CVRA lawsuit. The Commission dealt with Council districting, senior programs, and teenager programs.

At 7:57, Zack McCready asked if Sanchez reviewed a hit piece on Rahn that was distributed to the Central Committee.

She says she was not aware of the piece.

At 7:59, Ray Gennawey asks for which OC Republicans have endorsed each.

Rahn states he is endorsed by Darrell Issa, Mimi Walters, Steven Choi, Vince Fong, Phil Chen, Don Wagner, Diane Dixon, Ed Sachs, Greg Raths, OC Professional Firefighters, and Association of OC Deputy Sheriffs. There is murmuring from the Committee, as Fong has never represented OC.

Sanchez says the entire Rancho Santa Margarita Council, Mission Viejo Councilmembers Wendy Bucknum and Trish Kelley, and Assemblywoman Laurie Davies.

Will O’Neill asks if Rahn would vote for either a tax increase or to put a tax increase on the ballot.

Rahn states he would not, and there is no circumstance in which he would in the Assembly.

At 8:02, Kermit Marsh asks who are the five largest entities endorsing each candidate.

Sanchez cites the California Young Republican Federation, Grow Elect, CRA, Reform California, CWLA

Rahn notes OC Professional Firefighters, Association of OC Deputy Sheriffs, the Riverside Firefighters and Deputies, California District Attorneys Association, Realtors Associations statewide and in both counties, and California Charter Schools Association.

At 8:05, Benjamin Yu blames the Redistricting Commission for this convoluted district. He asks if the candidates applied for the Riverside County Republican Party endorsement.

Sanchez says she got the majority of the votes but not the 2/3 supermajority to get the endorsement. The vote will be taken up again.

Rahn says he was only a few votes short of the 2/3 supermajority at Riverside County Republican Party Central Committee. The minutes of the meeting were lost. He urges the Central Committee to stand with the neutral recommendation of the Endorsements Committee.

At 8:08, Amy Phan West asks about mask mandates and vaccine passports. She asks if they will fight those.

Sanchez says she is 100% anti-mandate.

Rahn says he did exactly that as a Councilmember. Temecula stayed open and worked with Sheriff Chad Bianco to refuse to enforce the mandates. He says they lost only 1 restaurant in 2020 and then gained 2 in 2021. He says his record is 100% anti-mandate.

At 8:11, Zach McCready motions for an endorsement of Matt Rahn.

Rahn requests for a neutral endorsement in the 71st District.

At 8:13, Baron Night moves and Jennifer Beall seconds to endorse Kate Sanchez.

Chairman Whitaker asks for speakers for and against the endorsement.

At 8:16, Tim Whitacre speaks in favor of the motion for endorsing Sanchez. He says the committee relies on relationships. He says the Secretary of the Riverside County Republican Party, Desare Ferraro, can verify that the majority of that committee voted for Sanchez though not 2/3. He says relationships are important and deferring to those who know the candidates best. He notes after vetting by the Endorsements Committee, the committee had issues with Rahn but no issues with Sanchez. He urges votes for Sanchez with endorsements of people the committee trusts.

At 8:19, Zach McCready says he was contacted by both candidates over the weekend. In 2024, he will enthusiastically support the re-election of whoever wins in 2022. He notes the Endorsements Committee recommended a neutral endorsement. He says this should be left to the voters. He notes there are people like Darrell Issa who know both and endorsed Rahn. He notes there are others who know both and endorsed Sanchez.

At 8:22, Jennifer Beall notes redistricting and it is the safest Republican seat in the State. It is not a purple seat – it is a R+10 seat. She says Rahn is backed by many unions, who are already represented in Sacramento. She says conservatives need representation in Sacramento. She says Laurie Davies needs another conservative in Sacramento. She says Rahn raised taxes in Temecula and gave $2,300 to the tax increase.

At 8:25, Steve Moss admits he is a political neophyte and spoke with both candidates. He says it is important that they call him back and give information. He notes this is not a purple district, but is a red district. He blasts the hit piece against Rahn. He calls on both candidates to repudiate the hit. He urges everyone to support the Endorsements Committee’s neutral recommendation.

At 8:26, Whitaker calls the roll.


At 8:31, the committee moves on to Yorba Linda City Council: Jess Battaglia and Janice Lim are vying for the last endorsement (Incumbent Carlos Rodriguez has already been endorsed for the other Yorba Linda City Council seat.)

Anthony Kuo moves and Wendy Bucknum seconds endorsing Janice Lim.

At 8:33, Kuo noted the Endorsements Committee often tells candidates to volunteer for the party and get on City Commissions. Kuo describes her extensive volunteerism and her City Commission service. She worked on legislation with Congressman Ed Royce and Senator Bob Huff. He notes she goes above and beyond with her time and money to support Republicans.

At 8:35, Tim Shaw reads a statement from Yorba Linda Councilman Gene Hernandez. Hernandez notes that 3 Councilmembers have endorsed Battaglia. He states Battaglia has fought for school choice and is active in the community. He is a man of faith. Hernandez says Battaglia will be a team player and uphold conservative values.

At 8:36, Yorba Linda Councilwoman Tara Campbell met Lim 10 years ago working on school choice legislation with Bob Huff. Huff, Ed Royce, Young Kim, and Phil Chen have endorsed Lim. Campbell notes Yorba Linda Councilwoman Peggy Huang is the person vacating this seat and is the former Vice Chair of this party and plans to vote for Lim to succeed her. (Editor’s Note: Huang has not formally endorsed in this seat due to her candidacy for a judicial seat against Black Lives Matter Activist/former Public Defender Michele Bell) Campbell noted the extensive work to improve Yorba Linda through her commission seat. She notes Lim also chaired the city’s largest volunteer program and is engaged in the issues and helped Yorba Linda fight RHNA numbers for the past two years. She notes Lim has served the party for 15 years.

At 8:40, Leandra Blades endorses Jess Battaglia. She says he is honest, kind, and a servant-leader. She says she is shocked that Lim claims the endorsement of Shawn Youngblood. She claims Lim falsely claimed the endorsement of a church. She says it is untrue that Lim brought Blades into the party. She says Battaglia has spoken out at school board meetings against mask and vaccine mandates.

At 8:42, Sara Catalan says there is written confirmation from Youngblood that he endorsed Lim. Catalan says that Lim did not claim the endorsement of the church, but one of the church’s leaders, and the Battaglia team knows it because they tried to get the church leader to pull her endorsement. Catalan notes that a first appearance before the Central Committee should not be simply to ask for an endorsement. Catalan notes that Lim has volunteered at the party for 15 years.

At 8:46, Greg Gianelli reads another statement from Gene Hernandez noting the endorsements of 3 Councilmembers for Battaglia.

At 8:49, Will O’Neill asks if it is true that both candidates stated they will drop out if they do not get the OC GOP endorsement.

Barke states they did.

At 8:51, Benjamin Yu asks if it would be possible to delay the vote to August.

Several people murmur that they wouldn’t be able to drop out.

At 8:52, John Moorlach makes a substitute motion to endorse no one.

Whitaker asks for speakers on the motion.

At 8:53, Moorlach says the endorsement process is unique and will hurt people who are part of the party. He says he has friends backing both candidates.

At 8:54, Jon Fleischman says it would be great to have 2 candidates for 2 seats, but there are 3 candidates. He is a Yorba Linda resident, and there may be other Republicans running. He says Democrats are good at winnowing the field, and it is refreshing that the candidates are willing to drop out if the OC GOP makes an endorsement.

At 8:55, Whitaker holds a vote on the substitute motion of no endorsement.


At 9:00, Whitaker holds a roll call vote on the previous motion to endorse Janice Lim for Yorba Linda City Council.


At 9:05 PM, the meeting adjourns in memory of former Senator Bob Dutton, who was serving as San Bernardino County Assessor/Clerk-Recorder.

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OC’s Close Contests: 97.4% of Ballots Counted, Diedre Nguyen Surpasses Diep, Contreras Gains, Dunlap Passes Shawver, Measure N Fails

Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 12, 2020

Just 2.6% of OC ballots remain to be counted

After counting 56,601 ballots yesterday, the Orange County Registrar of Voters reports 20,048 ballots remain while 763,026 have been counted, which means 97.4% of OC’s 783,074 ballots have already been counted (OC voter turnout in the 2020 primary appears to have settled at 47.9%).

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

Because Central Committee races are exhausting to analyze and write about (and presumably exhausting to read about), only races where a new person has captured sixth place (since the top six are elected in each district) are covered below.  So instead of Republican Central Committee for five districts and Democratic Central Committee for seven districts, only one Central Committee race is below: 65th District for the Republican Central Committee.

72nd Assembly District

In the 72nd Assembly District race for the second slot to reach the top two against former Senator Janet Nguyen (R-Fountain Valley), Councilwoman Diedre Nguyen (D-Garden Grove) overtook incumbent Tyler Diep (R-Westminster), and she now leads him 208 votes (0.20%).

The all-Republican general election race in AD-72 between Janet Nguyen and Diep now becomes an all-Nguyen general election race in AD-72 between Janet Nguyen and Diedre Nguyen.  Diep now has the indignity of joining AD-73’s Assemblyman Bill Brough (R-Dana Point) as the only incumbent legislators in the state to lose their re-election bids in the primary.

Before Diedre Nguyen finally surpassed Diep in the latest count, Diep had seen his lead over Diedre Nguyen continually shrink, having previously been 17 votes (0.02%), 291 votes (0.29%), 309 votes (0.31%), 1,050 votes (1.19%), 1,286 votes (1.54%), and 1,975 votes (2.56%).

Candidate Name Total Votes Percentage
37,070 34.14%
27,432 25.27%
27,224 25.07%
16,847 15.52%


1st Supervisorial District

In the 1st Supervisorial District race for the second slot to reach the runoff against incumbent Andrew Do (R-Westminster), Councilman Sergio Contreras (D-Westminster) continued growing his lead over Mayor Miguel Pulido (D-Santa Ana), which has now reached 1,674 votes (1.84%).

While there has been one post-Election Night count with Pulido gaining, Contreras has gained in most of those daily counts. In the prior counts, Contreras’s leads over Pulido were 1,386 votes (1.70%), 1,293 votes (1.63%), 1,207 votes (1.59%), 865 votes (1.22%), 968 votes (1.47%), and 514 votes (0.82%).

Candidate Name Total Votes Percentage
38,762 42.51%
20,249 22.21%
18,575 20.37%
13,597 14.91%


Tustin Unified School District Measure N

Tustin Unified School District’s Measure N continued to steadily inch up ever so slightly to 53.40% (1.6% short of 55%), but it is virtually impossible for it to reach the 55% required to pass a local school bond.  In the prior two counts, it was 53.15% (1.85% short of 55%) and 53.01% (1.99% short of 55%).

So far, 22,541 voters have cast votes on Measure N.  Assuming the 97.4% of ballots counted is uniform across the County (which certainly isn’t the case, but it’s the only number available and is better than no estimate, and doesn’t account for undervotes or overvotes), that would leave only 602 ballots for Measure N.  Even getting 100% of those ballots would leave Measure N at 54.61% in favor of the bond.  Even Vladimir Putin refuses to take 100% of the vote in his elections.

The voters of Tustin Unified School District School Facilities Improvement District 2020-1 comprise just 2.88% of Orange County’s registered voters.  For Measure N to pass, it needs 100% of an additional 804 ballots (4.01% of uncounted OC ballots), 72.10% of an additional 2,000 ballots (9.98% of OC’s uncounted ballots), and 64.05% of an additional 4,000 ballots (a whopping 19.95% of OC’s uncounted ballots).

In the preposterous scenario of all 20,048 uncounted ballots in Orange County being in the Tustin Unified School District School Facilities Improvement District 2020-1, Measure N would still need 56.8% of those ballots to reach the required 55% to pass.

With the failure of Measure N, that means all nine school bonds in Orange County from the 2020 primary election have been defeated.  Although the vast majority of school bonds are typically approved in any given election, Orange County was no outlier this year, as a majority of the local school bonds in California were defeated by the voters in the 2020 primary election.  Indeed, even Proposition 13 on the 2020 primary election ballot was defeated, the first statewide school bond to be defeated in 26 years (and 1994 was the year of the Republican Revolution), with the Yes on 13 campaign tweeting, “Based on current vote totals, it appears Proposition 13 will fall short of the required 50% threshold.”  (While local school bonds require a 55% vote to pass, statewide school bonds require only a simple majority of 50%.)

Bond Vote Total Votes Percentage
12,036 53.40%
10,505 46.60%


Republican Central Committee, 65th District

In the race for the sixth and final slot on the Republican Central Committee for the 65th District, Businessman Nick Dunlap (R-Fullerton) overtook Mayor David Shawver (R-Stanton) in the most recent count and is now ahead of the incumbent Central Committee member by 54 votes (0.05%).

In the first post-election night count (i.e. Wednesday, March 4), Shawver led Dunlap by 355 votes (0.45%).  Shawver’s lead continued to shrink with subsequent counts until Dunlap surpassed him in the latest count.

However, when the directly-elected members of the Central Committee are seated in January 2021, the 65th District will have two vacancies because Cynthia Thacker (R-Buena Park) and James Waters (R-Anaheim) will be seated as ex officio members of the Central Committee next month (April 2020), as Thacker is the Republican nominee for Assembly against incumbent Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton) and Waters is the Republican nominee for Congress against incumbent Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana).  Considering how active a member of Central Committee Shawver has been, it is expected that Shawver will be appointed to fill one of the vacancies in January.

Candidate Name Total Votes Percentage
15,015 13.59%
14,151 12.81%
11,521 10.43%
11,519 10.43%
11,061 10.01%
10,954 9.91%
10,900 9.86%
10,655 9.64%
10,000 9.05%
4,718 4.27%


(Cue my usual Nguyen disclaimer: The two 72nd Assembly District candidates, former Senator Janet Nguyen and Garden Grove Councilwoman Diedre Nguyen, are not related to each other, and neither of them are related to me. The last name Nguyen is held by 36% of Vietnamese people.)

Posted in 1st Supervisorial District, 72nd Assembly District, Republican Central Committee, Tustin Unified School District | Leave a Comment »

OC’s Close Contests: 43.6% Turnout, 82.1% of Ballots Counted, Nguyen and Pulido Gain, Foley Falls

Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 7, 2020

The OC vote count continues, but we are spared Florida’s 2000 chad problem

After counting 45,647 ballots yesterday (and with more ballots arriving from the Post Office for the last time, as that was the deadline for ballots to arrive), the Orange County Registrar of Voters reports 127,867 ballots remain while 584,025 have been counted, which means 82.1% of OC’s 711,892 ballots have already been counted (we now know OC voter turnout in the 2020 primary is 43.6%).

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

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

37th Senate District

In the 37th Senate District race for the second slot to reach the top two against Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa), UCI Law Professor Dave Min (D-Irvine) grew his lead over Mayor Katrina Foley (D-Costa Mesa) by 1,357 votes, which brings his lead to 3,804 votes (1.97%), and SD-37 may well lose its “close contest” designation in the next count or two.  He previously led by 2,447 votes (1.37%), and before that, he led by 2,333 votes (1.36%).

72nd Assembly District

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

Diep gained 1,310 votes in the latest count, but Diedre Nguyen gained 1,546 votes, narrowing Diep’s lead to 1,050 (1.19%). In the previous count, Diep had gained 1,177 votes while Diedre Nguyen gained 1,866 votes, which brought Diep’s lead down to 1,286 votes (1.54%).  Prior to that, Diep had 20,382 votes (26.40%) while Diedre Nguyen had 18,407 votes (23.84%), giving Diep a lead of 1,975 votes (2.56%).

While the Diep camp can’t be happy about their continual decline versus Diedre Nguyen, they are probably relieved the decline has slowed.  A decline of 109 votes after the two added 2,856 votes is certainly better for them than the 686-vote decline after the two added 3,043 votes.
Candidate Name Total Votes Percentage
30,753 34.72%
22,869 25.82%
21,819 24.63%
13,135 14.83%
In the 1st Supervisorial District race for the second slot to reach the runoff against incumbent Andrew Do (R-Westminster), Councilman Sergio Contreras (D-Westminster) saw his lead over Mayor Miguel Pulido (D-Santa Ana) shrink by 103 votes, so Contreras now leads Pulido by 865 votes (1.22%).  Previously, Contreras led Pulido by 968 votes (1.47%).  In the count before that, Contreras led Pulido by 514 votes (0.82%).
Candidate Name Total Votes Percentage
31,601 44.56%
14,797 20.87%
13,932 19.65%
10,585 14.93%

Republican Central Committee, 69th District

In the race for the sixth and final seat from the 69th District on the Republican Central Committee, Gisela Contreras (R-Santa Ana) and Councilwoman Ceci Iglesias (R-Santa Ana) flip-flopped again between fifth and sixth place slot, with Jon Paul White (R-Santa Ana) remaining in seventh place.  Iglesias leads White by 487 votes (1.51%) while Contreras leads White by 479 votes (1.49%).  Previously, Iglesias led White by 432 votes (1.44%) while Contreras led White by 443 votes (1.47%).  Prior to that count, Iglesias led White by 426 votes (1.46%) while Contreras led White by 421 votes (1.44%).
Candidate Name Total Votes Percentage
4,687 14.55%
4,100 12.73%
4,097 12.72%
3,945 12.25%
3,625 11.25%
3,617 11.23%
3,138 9.74%
2,748 8.53%
2,258 7.01%

Posted in 1st Supervisorial District, 37th Senate District, 72nd Assembly District, Republican Central Committee | Leave a Comment »

OC’s Close Contests

Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 5, 2020

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

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

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

37th Senate District

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

1st Supervisorial District

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

Republican Central Committee, 65th District

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

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

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

Republican Central Committee, 68th District

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

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

Republican Central Committee, 69th District

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

Republican Central Committee, 72nd District

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

Republican Central Committee, 74th District

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

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

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

Democratic Central Committee, 55th District

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

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

Democratic Central Committee, 65th District

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

Democratic Central Committee, 68th District

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

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

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

Democratic Central Committee, 69th District

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

Democratic Central Committee, 72nd District

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

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

Democratic Central Committee, 73rd District

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

Democratic Central Committee, 74th District

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

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

Other Notes

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

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

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

OC’s Worst Ballot Designations, 2020 Primary Edition

Posted by Chris Nguyen on February 28, 2020

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

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

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

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

OC’s Ten Worst Ballot Designations

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

(Dis)Honorable Mention

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

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

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

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

Posted by Chris Nguyen on September 16, 2019

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

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

Two new alternate members are sworn in.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Officer reports are delivered.

Two alternates are sworn in before Executive Session.

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

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

Resolution on Assemblyman Bill Brough

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

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

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

Posted by Chris Nguyen on August 19, 2019

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

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

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

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

The roll is taken, and elected officials are introduced.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Whitaker asks about health care reform.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Huang cites various pork barrel projects that should be cut.

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

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

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

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

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

All say yes.

Whitaker asks what endorsement each candidate is proudest of.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Whitaker asks who the campaign consultants are.

Gennawey has hired Chip Englander and Michael Antonoupoulos.

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

Raths has a pro bono campaign consultant, Paul Jensen.

Sedgwick has hired John Thomas.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Whitaker asks about student loans and college affordability.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

After over an hour, the forum is complete.

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

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

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

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

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

Various officer and club reports are delivered.

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

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

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

Live from OC GOP Central Committee

Posted by Chris Nguyen on January 21, 2019

We are live from OC GOP Central Committee, where the agenda includes the election of officers for 2019-2020, speeches from candidates for California Republican Party Chairman, and the endorsement request submitted by Don Wagner for the special election for the Third District vacancy on the Orange County Board of Supervisors. It is standing room only in a rather large room.

The Central Committee voted to fill a pair of vacancies on the Central Committee with Hon. Alberta Christy (69th District, succeeding Hon. Brett Franklin) and Hon. Jim Cuneen (72nd District, succeeding Hon. Tyler Diep, who had to give up his directly-elected Central Committee seat, as the Republican nominee for the 72nd Assembly District has an ex officio Central Committee seat, and he cannot hold two Central Committee seats). They are sworn in, as are several new alternate members.

The roll is called, and the elected officials present are introduced.

OC GOP Chairman Fred Whitaker gives opening remarks reflecting upon the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Whitaker discusses the 2018 election, noting that more Republicans turned out to vote than Democrats did, in excess of registration margins. He notes polling indicates more Republicans voted for Democrats than vice-versa in 2018. He urges consolidating early behind candidates to deal with this, noting the Democrats have cleared the Third District Supervisor’s race for Loretta Sanchez and argues that the same should be done by Republicans for Don Wagner. He urges focusing on local issues, de-nationalizing the election, making sure OC volunteers focus on OC rather than calling into other states. He notes Democrats spent $60 million on OC Congressional races while Republicans spent $16 million. He notes $44 million was donated by OC Republicans and only $4 million came back to OC. He discusses how the Republican ballot harvesting pilot program was unsuccessful because Republicans simply do not hand over their ballots the way Democrats and No Party Preference voters do. He notes the Central Committee will vote on a political plan in closed session at the end of the meeting. He notes everyone on the Central Committee is a volunteer. He notes many people are here, yet only few signed up on the volunteer sheets at the entrance.

Central Committee Member Dean Grose calls on the entire Executive Committee to resign (despite the terms expiring today). He urges the elections be delayed to February and voted on one by one. (No one addresses Grose’s controversial past though most are aware.)

Whitaker notes elections for officers have been held every two years in January. He notes the terms expire today.

Former OC GOP Chairman Scott Baugh speaks about 27 Republican Governors, 64 legislative chambers, and other Republican successes. He notes the party controlling the White House typically loses seats in midterm elections, noting 39 Congressional seats lost is typical and that the GOP lost 40 in 2018. He also notes Democrats lost more state legislative seats in 2010 under President Barack Obama than Republicans did in 2018. He expresses concern about local Republicans voting for Democrats. He warns of the threat of Democrats gaining a second seat on the Board of Supervisors. He urges fighting back.

Baugh then makes a motion to nominate candidates for OC GOP Candidates for 2019-2020, seconded by Hon. John Moorlach and Hon. Gene Hernandez:

  • Hon. Fred Whitaker for Chairman
  • Hon. Peggy Huang for 1st Vice Chair
  • TJ Fuentes for 2nd Vice Chair
  • Erik Weigand for Treasurer
  • Steven Nguyen for Secretary
  • Hon. Laurie Davies for Assistant Treasurer
  • Tim Whitacre for Sergeant-at-Arms

Baron Night moves and Hon. Dean Grose seconds for remarks from each of the candidates.

Hon. Anthony Kuo moves and Hon. Brett Barbre seconds to table the motion. The tabling passes easily by voice vote.

The officer nominees are re-elected by voice vote.

Whitaker proposes Hon. Kermit Marsh to the appointed position of Parliamentarian, with at-large Executive Committee appointments going to Jon Fleischman, Mike McClellan, and Hon. Mike Munzing. The committee confirms the appointments by acclamation.

Hon. Mari Barke gives brief remarks on behalf of the California Policy Center.

Whitaker notes the presence of various candidates for Californa Republican Party (CRP) positions by name.

Whitaker then introduces the candidates for CRP Chair.

Steve Frank says he wants to revive the CRP. He says it is a great day in America with Trump as President and 660 days to get him re-elected. He notes 1.7 million Republicans have switched to Decline to State. He says the CRP has not spent a dime on voter registration. He says he does more radio shows in a week than entire CRP Board. He expresses outrage about legislative seats that did not have Republican candidates because of Prop 14. He accuses Travis Allen of supporting Prop 14 and accuses Jessica Patterson of getting 400 proxies to kill Frank’s symbolic resolution opposing Prop 14. He wants to use churches to harvest ballots. He blasts vote fraud. He says over a million people were fraudulently registered to vote in LA County. He says Democrats blocked the seating of a Republican Congressional candidate from North Carolina due to Republican ballot harvesting. He says Republicans should have sought the same with the seven California Democrats who won swing seats. He then gives out his phone number.

Whitaker notes that there is no endorsement vote tonight, but candidates for CRP Chair can go through the endorsement application process.

Jessica Patterson started volunteering for the Republican Party at a local headquarters in Hacienda Heights. She interned for Assemblyman Bob Pacheco and the CRP during the 2003 gubernatorial recall election. She notes most counties do not have County Executive Directors and infrastructure the way Orange County does. She notes her work with the CRP’s program for expanding County Executive Directors. She oversaw the Central Valley for CRP during the Schwarzenegger campaign. She is endorsed by 14 of 20 Republican Assemblymembers, 7 of 10 Republican State Senators, and 6 of 7 California Republican Members of Congress. She says she will not speak ill of other Republicans because she says the real enemies are the Democrats. She notes the endorsements of Darrell Issa, Ed Royce, Mimi Walters, Pat Bates, Ling Ling Chang, Phil Chen, and Don Barnes.

Hon. Travis Allen shouts into the crowd and receives supportive shouts in return. He blasts the Republican establishment for its failures of the past 20 years. He asks the crowd if they want to be light versions of Democrats, to which the crowd shouts against. He notes the conservative leadership that once ran California. He wants to grow the CRP with 100,000 small donors in addition to major donors and pay for voter registration. He wants grassroots street captains and precinct captains to lead Republican voter registration efforts on their streets and precincts. He notes those captains will also serve as a ballot harvesting army during the campaign. He calls Frank a great conservative but questions his plan to create internal committees. He calls Patterson a great Republican and blasts her being paid by Charles Munger and Kevin McCarthy and that she ran the ineffective Trailblazers program. He says she ran proxy drills to control the results of CRP convention votes. He wants to end proxy voting at CRP conventions. Allen has 13 County Party Chairs endorsing him and numerous delegates. He notes he has 500,000 Facebook followers, more than any Californa Republican. He speaks of bringing donors and grassroots together.

Baron Night asks Patterson for specific plans, arguing she is much vaguer than Frank and Allen.

Patterson wants to work on messaging and wants to empower the grassroots. She says she has the support of the donor community who will help fund these activities.

John W. Briscoe asks about whether Patterson will change the proxy rules.

Patterson says each proxy is an active Republican who has given money or time to help Republican groups and candidates. She notes the story of a deployed soldier who successfully got his vote counted because of proxy voting.

Frank supports Allen’s proposal to get rid of proxies but argues Allen missed the deadline to change the bylaws. Frank says he understands the process.

Allen says Munger and McCarthy have gamed the proxy system. He says Patterson was their point person on proxy harvesting.

Hon. John Moorlach asks about Frank’s experience.

Frank chaired Youth for Nixon. He speaks of helping candidates for Congress, State, County, City, and other local offices.

A red-haired woman asks who is going to combat Democrat ballot harvesting and their access to DMV data.

Allen warns of consultants’ political plans that enrich themselves. He calls for grassroots efforts, pointing to his street and precinct captains. He wants to litigate ballot harvesting.

Frank calls for church ballot harvesting. He describes his 15-page plan for the CRP.

Patterson wants to empower County parties and retool messaging. She says growing the party requires year-round outreach to people who are not normally engaged with the party. She blasts grassroots precinct efforts being replaced by paid precinct efforts.

Whitaker thanks the candidates.

Eva, the November Volunteer of the Month, is recognized for her efforts in the 65th Assembly District during the 2018 election. Alexandria Coronado speaks of Eva immigrating legally from a Communist nation. Coronado lists numerous things Eva tirelessly did. Eva gives remarks of thanks, speaks about her immigration, and explains her belief in Republican ideals driving why she worked so hard as an election volunteer. Eva receives certificates from the offices of various elected officials.

Kristin, the December Volunteer of the Month, is recognized for her efforts volunteering on campaigns and at the Registrar of Voters after the election. She gives her remarks of thanks and receives certificates from the offices of various elected officials.

Katie Pringle is nominated and elected as the County Party’s delegate for the vacant 69th Assembly District at the CRP.

Whitaker brings the endorsement for Third District Supervisor.

Hon. Gene Hernandez moves and Mary Young seconds endorsing Don Wagner for Third District Supervisor.

Hon. Deborah Pauly objects.

Hernandez speaks of Wagner’s conservative leadership on union issues, education, and fiscal issues. He speaks of Wagner’s conservative record on the College Board, in the State Assembly, and as Mayor.

Pauly argues that Republicans voted for Democrats for reasons of honor and integrity. She argues Whitaker has a narrow definition of stakeholders. She says endorsing her opponent is a mistake. She claims he is bought and paid for by developers. She says filing has not closed yet, and no one has qualified for the race. She expresses concern about the potential Irvine mayoral vacancy.

By a voice vote, Wagner is endorsed in a landslide.

After his endorsement, Wagner speaks of his 14% victory for Mayor. Wagner shows a posting from Loretta Sanchez. He warns that this election is the first campaign of November 2020. He notes the Mayors of every city in the district are endorsing him, except for Irvine (because he is the Mayor of Irvine) and Anaheim (where Kris Murray is from), but notes he does have the endorsement of the Mayor Pro Tem of Irvine and that Anaheim is only 11% of the Third District.

Various club announcements are made.

The committee adjourns to closed session at approximately 8:50 PM.

Posted in 3rd Supervisorial District, Republican Central Committee | 3 Comments »

Ballot Harvesting

Posted by Brenda Higgins on December 3, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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