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OC’s Top Ten 2018 Primary Election Stories

Posted by Chris Nguyen on June 6, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OC’s Top 10 Races to Watch

Posted by Chris Nguyen on June 5, 2018

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

The Big Three: Congress

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Rest of the Top 10

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

Snoozer in June, Battle in November

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

Near-Snoozers

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

Total Snoozer That Could Have Been Interesting

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

Total Snoozers

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

Virtually Unopposed

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

Unopposed

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

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

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

OC’s Worst Ballot Designations, 2018 Primary Edition

Posted by Chris Nguyen on June 1, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Dis)Honorable Mentions

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

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

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

Let’s Set the Record Straight …

Posted by Greg Woodard on March 26, 2018

Walter Myers recently posted a story on this site titled “Personal Thoughts on Scott Baugh’s Run for the 48th Congressional District.” In the article, Myers makes many inaccurate statements, and in my opinion, inaccurate comments or implications about myself and Scott Baugh. I am the person appointed to the 71st Assembly District Central Committee in 2011 who Myers said “had not been involved in or served in the party in the slightest.” To set the record straight, he are the actual facts:

  1. I was appointed in January 2011 to replace Jack Anderson, not John Williams as Myers states. John Williams was not on the Central Committee in 2011 as he had finished 10th in the 2010 June election. That means that Myers could not have been Williams’ alternate in 2011 since he was not on the Committee. Jack Anderson was from Mission Viejo and he moved out of California following his June 2010 Central Committee election, opening a spot of the Committee. Scott Voigts, a friend and fellow conservative, approached me and asked me if I was interested in seeking appointment in Anderson’s place. Voigts knew of my conservative roots, and I was from Mission Viejo (as Anderson was). Voigts believed Mission Viejo needed representation on the Central Committee because of the size of the city in the district. With Voigts’ help, I launched a mini-campaign where I went to the sitting Committee members and made my pitch for why I should be appointed (the sitting members were to vote to appoint Anderson’s replacement). Apparently, I made a better argument as I won on a close vote over Myers. I also ran for election in 2012 and won a seat to remain on the Central Committee, finishing 6th out of 22 candidates (Myers finished 17th out of 18 candidates in his race that year).
  2. I was involved a bit more in the party than Myers states. At the time of my appointment, I was involved in the Republican party on several fronts. I was active in the CRA. I helped defeat a ballot-box initiative in Mission Viejo that would have severely restricted landowners’ ability to develop their land. I attended several fundraisers for local and state candidates. I was active in local influential political groups like Family Action PAC and Atlas PAC. I was also involved in the campaign for a Mission Viejo City Council candidate. While I do not care how Myers styles my political experience, I think most would agree that this qualifies as more than not being involved “in the party in the slightest.”
  3. Contrary to Myers’ implication, Scott Baugh had nothing to do with my appointment. I did not even meet Baugh until after I was appointed. As I said, I took the time and effort to explain to the sitting Committee members why I felt like I should earn their vote. I did enough to warrant the appointment over Myers.

Those are the facts, that cannot be changed or modified, no matter how hard Myers tries. These are my opinions on the rest of Myers’ post:

  1. Myers’ intimation that Baugh is racist is sad and unsupported, based on my experience. I was on the Committee when the Lincoln Club and OCGOP teamed up for an outreach to registered Democrat Latinos in Santa Ana. Baugh consistently lauded the program and made sure to recognize all of us who walked precincts at the Committee meetings. Over the years, I came to know Baugh better. He consistently offered me support and advice, and without his leadership, the party would never be in the place it is now. His fundraising and support for true conservative candidates cannot be challenged. I am glad that the party continues under the excellent leadership of Fred Whitaker, and I hope that outreach to all voters, regardless of color, gender, etc. will continue to be one of the party’s primary efforts going forward.
  2. Myers’ ad hominem attacks on Jon Fleischman and Marcia Gilchrist are irrelevant and odd. Fleischman has been one of the most staunch conservatives we have in the party and Gilchrist was always pleasant during the time I served with her on the Committee. Myers’ singling out of these two smacks of pettiness and has no place in his post, or anywhere else for that matter.
  3. Myers is better than his race-baiting post. Following my appointment, I met Myers a few times at Family Action PAC meetings, and other meetings. I found him to be a pleasure to talk to, and dedicated to bringing more minorities into the conservative fold. That makes his remarks on race all the more disappointing. According to Myers, he should have garnered the Committee appointment over me simply because he is black and I am white, not based on our conservative credentials. This is not a conservative view as we believe people should be judged based on their merits, not the color of their skin. His passive-aggressive attack on Baugh is equally troubling. Myers takes pains to state he is not branding Baugh a racist, but the implication in his post is clear. Again, that is not the way conservatives should act. True conservatives care about smaller government, lower taxes, national defense, the rights of unborn babies, etc. Race is not an issue because true conservatives are color-blind. I have seen nothing from Baugh to indicate that he is anything but a true conservative.

I did not win re-election to the Committee in 2016 and I am grateful for my 6 years’ served where I had the opportunity to help the party and make a lot of great friends along the way (many of the same singled out by Myers and I agree, they are outstanding people). It is sad that Myers has apparently been nursing these wounds so many years later. I just wish he had chosen to address them with Baugh personally, rather than use his bully-pulpit on here to make unfounded, and false accusations.

I have done considerable research to make sure my facts are accurate. However, I am far from infallible, so if I have made any mistakes, I welcome the opportunity to address them.

Posted in 73rd Assembly District, Mission Viejo, Republican Central Committee | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

AD-73: Mayor Sachs Completes Filing to Challenge Assemblyman Brough

Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 10, 2018

Mayor Ed Sachs (R-Mission Viejo)

Mayor Ed Sachs
(R-Mission Viejo)

After pulling papers on Tuesday, Mayor Ed Sachs (R-Mission Viejo) has completed filing to challenge the re-election bid of Assemblyman Bill Brough (R-Dana Point) in the 73rd District.  The only other candidate to complete filing for AD-73 was Business Services Director Scott Rhinehart (D-Mission Viejo).

On the one hand, Mission Viejo is the largest of the 8 cities in AD-73.  Despite that, on the other hand, Mission Viejo has only 1/5 of AD-73’s voters.

In 2014, Assembly Republican Nominee Brough had endorsed Sachs’ bid for City Council.  In 2016, Councilman Sachs had endorsed Assemblyman Brough’s bid for re-election.

As of the last campaign finance reporting period, Brough had over $200,000 cash-on-hand for his re-election bid.  Currently Chairman of the Orange County Fire Authority, Sachs has not yet opened a campaign account for his 2018 Council re-election bid nor for his bid for AD-73 against Brough.

However, Sachs is a retired corporate executive who largely self-funded his own $25,000 campaign for City Council in 2014.  Specifically, he is the former President of the Pioneer Electronics USA, the American division of the massive Japanese multinational conglomerate.  Unfortunately, the Form 700’s ranges are quite broad, so Sachs’s Form 700 reports an enormous range for his possible stock holdings, somewhere between $114,000-$1.12 million.

With two Republicans and one Democrat running, this race will largely resolve itself in the primary election, with Democrat Rhinehart advancing to the general election with one of the Republicans, either Assemblyman Brough or Mayor Sachs.

AD-73 is literally the safest Republican Assembly seat in the entire state, with Republicans holding a 17% registration advantage over Democrats.

Posted in 73rd Assembly District, Orange County Fire Authority | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Live from OC GOP Central Committee: Endorsements for CD-49, SD-29, and AD-65

Posted by Chris Nguyen on February 26, 2018

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

The Coronado endorsement for the 65th Assembly District is expected to be fairly quick since Coronado is the sole Republican challenging incumbent Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton).

Harkey’s endorsement request for CD-49 and Chang’s endorsement request for SD-29 will be hotly contested, as Assemblyman Rocky Chavez (R-Oceanside) and Supervisor Kristin Gaspar (R-Encinitas) are both running for CD-49 while Councilman Bruce Whitaker (R-Fullerton) is also running for SD-29. Harkey and Chang are on the agenda because a majority of the members of Central Committee signed their petitions to have their endorsement requests heard. In order to actually be endorsed requires a 2/3 vote of the Central Committee.

Gaspar had emailed Central Committee members asking to meet with them individually earlier this month. Michael Schwartz, a San Diego County Second Amendment advocate, had distributed flyers at last week’s Central Committee meeting assailing Gaspar’s record on guns and her campaign contributions. Gaspar responded today with an email arguing the OC GOP should not endorse one Republican over another, noting her success in unseating a sitting Democrat from the Board of Supervisors in a district Hillary Clinton won by 20%, and stating that she is “pro Second Amendment, pro life and as a lifelong Republican I do not contribute to Democrat candidates” along with a link to the opensecrets.org entry for donations by Gaspar, which shows numerous donations to the Republican Party of San Diego County and one each to Congresswoman Mimi Walters and State Senator Bill Morrow. Schwartz responded to Gaspar’s email with an email arguing that the Supervisor Gaspar defeated “had looming employee, sexual harassment, and campaign finance issues” and was easily beatable, that she voted to support a gun ban while she was on the City Council, and listed one contribution to Pedro Nava, six contributions from her company to Democrats at the State and local levels, and her husband’s numerous contributions.

(For those of you subscribed to our posts via email, please visit our web site and hit refresh on this post for updates throughout the meeting. Our software only sends emails for the initial posting.)

7:00 PM: Chairman Fred Whitaker calls the meeting to order and gives the invocation.

7:01 PM: Colin Edwards leads the Pledge of Allegiance.

7:02 PM: Roll call is taken, with 50 people present, far beyond quorum requirements.

7:07 PM: Yorba Linda Mayor Gene Hernandez swears in three new alternates as well as Newport Beach Councilman Will O’Neill, who was appointed to the Central Committee last meeting to fill a vacancy.

65TH ASSEMBLY DISTRICT

7:09 PM: Baron Night moves and Municipal Water District of Orange County Board Member Brett Barbre seconds endorsing Alexandria Coronado.

7:10 PM: There is no debate, and ALEXANDRIA CORONADO IS ENDORSED UNANIMOUSLY FOR THE 65TH ASSEMBLY DISTRICT.

49TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

7:11 PM: Next up is the endorsement request of Diane Harkey for the 49th Congressional District.

7:12 PM: Each CD-49 candidate is given 3 minutes to speak. Gaspar is not present because she is preparing for her State of the County address tomorrow, according to her campaign manager, Bill Christiansen. Chavez did not send a representative.

Board of Equalization Chairwoman Diane Harkey speaks first, thanks to the alphabet (and the absence of Chavez and Gaspar). Harkey notes how well the Central Committee knows her. She states she is the only candidate who represents all of CD-49, as she is their Board of Equalization member. She notes she is the first Republican Board of Equalization Chair in 15 years. She speaks of regulatory reform and legislative changes she pursued from the Board of Equalization. She speaks of her electoral history with Dana Point City Council, State Assembly, and State Board of Equalization. She says Congressman Darrell Issa called her and asked her to run before he announced his plans to retire. She initially told him she did not want to run. However, after further consideration, she felt the seat was too important to not seek it. She spoke of her efforts to help other Republican candidates.

San Juan Capistrano Mayor Pro Tem Brian Maryott says he will seek the endorsement if the endorsement is still available after tonight. He notes that he recently retired from the financial services industry. He states he took a day to decide to run for Congress after Issa announced his retirement. He wants to make the biggest impact possible in public service. He wants his three children (14, 10, and 3 years old) to live in a free country with the ability to succeed and prosper. He was also a legislative staffer for three years.

Mike Schmitt is a doctor. He says he is “a statesman, not a politician.” He says he is the only candidate who has worked directly with Congress. He speaks of funding three trips to Iraq while ISIS reigned there. He says he is a patron of conservative groups that lobby Congress. He says he is the only candidate with full-time work in health care and says he is the most educated person in the race. He says health care and national security are the key themes of his campaign. He says he is the best candidate of either party. He says the voters should choose who is the candidate. He says he is “a streetfighter.”

Joshua Schoonover is a patent attorney from Carlsbad. He says he believes the other candidates are unable to earn the Republican vote. He says he is “young, new, and different.” He says “the same old, same old” is too much of a risk. He wants to debate the other candidates. He wants an informed decision. He says the OC GOP should have a candidate forum/debate jointly with the San Diego County GOP.

7:25 PM: Former Assemblyman Chris Norby asks if the candidates will “respect state’s rights” on marijuana.

Harkey says, “the train has left the station” on marijuana legalization. She says she has experience with marijuana regulations from the Board of Equalization. She wants to ensure law enforcement has adequate resources.

Schoonover says he wants marijuana removed from DEA enforcement and handed to ATF regulation instead. He believes in individual freedom.

Maryott opposes marijuana legalization. He does support allowing medical labs to extract the medicinal elements of marijuana.

Schmitt opposes marijuana legalization.

7:29 PM: Kermit Marsh asks the candidates about funds raised excluding loans, campaign manager names, and five most significant endorsements.

Schmitt says he has not raised much but will raise $400,000-$600,000. He says his campaign advisor is Larry Gilbert but is looking for a full-time manager. He has no endorsements. (February 27 Editor’s Note: Gilbert contacted OC Political to state: “Michael Schmitt, one of the candidates running for the 49th CD, misspoke…” Gilbert stated he is not participating in the Schmitt campaign or any other campaign. He stated he met with Schmitt in a fashion similar to how he has met with various candidates over the years to learn more about them and their campaigns.)

Maryott has Rick Frank running his race. He has just begun fundraising. He says endorsements will not win the race.

Schoonover has raised $250,000. His campaign manager is Fred Zestak, who has no campaign experience. He names five businesspeople as his top endorsers.

Harkey has raised $125,000, has another $100,000 coming, and expects to hit $500,000. She also has $100,000 in her BOE account. Her leading endorsers are Congressman Darrell Issa, Congresswoman Mimi Walters, Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, Supervisor Michelle Steel, Supervisor Andrew Do, numerous city councilmembers, and the California Association of Taxpayer Advocates. Bryan Shroyer is her campaign manager, and Dave Gilliard is her consultant.

7:34 PM: Anthony Kuo asks how each has helped improve Republican voter registration.

Harkey speaks of a litany of registration efforts she has engaged in that she said faster than this blogger could type.

Schoonover points to his 500 signatures-in-lieu of filing fee. He calls for social centrism.

Maryott says he has championed conservative causes as a councilman. He doesn’t want the party to move toward youth and minorities. He wants them to move toward the party.

Schmitt says he has rabid grassroots people. He says he sponsored a booth in Dana Point. He is planning church registration drives. He says he is “the faith candidate.”

7:38 PM: Yours truly asks the candidates if they live in the 49th Congressional District.

Harkey, Maryott, and Schmitt do. Schoonover does not.

7:39 PM: Former Orange County Board of Education President Robert Hammond asks if the candidates have supported the OC GOP’s Flag Day fundraiser.

Harkey says she has provided financial support to Flag Day in OC and to Lincoln-Reagan Day events in other counties.

The other three have not done so. Schmitt points to his spending in Iraq.

7:40 PM: Nick Wilson asks if the candidates other than Harkey submitted endorsement requests.

Schoonover got 17 signatures, falling short of 21 needed to go to the endorsements committee.

Maryott and Schmitt are seeking signatures.

7:41 PM: Baron Night moves and Dean Grose seconds endorsing Harkey.

7:42 PM: Nick Wilson speaks against endorsing. He notes Issa was already endorsed and “abandoned us.” He wants to leave the field open and likes the idea of organizing a candidate forum.

7:43 PM: Rancho Santa Margarita Councilman Tony Beall says this is an important seat nationally and that Harkey has the experience to win campaigns, having been elected to City Council, the State Assembly, and the Board of Equalization, where she is California’s highest-ranking Republican.

7:44 PM: The voice vote is nearly unanimous to ENDORSE DIANE HARKEY FOR THE 49TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT.

Harkey jumps up and down and expresses her thanks to the committee.

29TH SENATE DISTRICT

7:47 PM: Former Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang speaks of running for SD-29 two years ago and giving up her safe Assembly seat to do so. She precinct walked in the rain and spent $100,000 out of pocket. She noted 80% voter turnout was incredible. She said John & Ken said on the air that she should run. She says people called her with polling data saying she would win. Since 2005, she had never lost a race until 2016. She says she is already endorsed by the LA County GOP, San Bernardino County GOP, the Lincoln Club, and various elected officials. She spoke of fighting tax increases in the Assembly.

7:50 PM: Fullerton Councilman Bruce Whitaker notes 8 terms on the Central Committee, including being on the Executive Committee. He notes the majority of the district is in Orange County. He speaks of knowing the territory well after having worked at the Board of Supervisors and as a district director in the Assembly. He notes Chang lost her own city of Diamond Bar against novice Josh Newman. Whitaker says he will be a champion of low taxes, limited government, and freedom. He says new immigrants will be drawn to that message. He notes surveys show 58% of Californians oppose the gas tax increase. He notes OCBC commended Newman for voting for the tax. He says Newman cost the district more in taxes than he brought back in spending on local projects.

7:54 PM: Dean Grose asks if the candidates supported Trump.

Chang says she was critical of Trump but hated Clinton more. She says Newman sent deceptive ads calling her a Clinton supporter to Republicans and a leader in Trump’s party to Democrats. She did not vote for Trump.

Whitaker called it a “no-brainer” and “proudly voted” for Trump.

7:56 PM: Kermit Marsh asks how much each candidate has raised excluding loans, who is their campaign manager, and who their top endorsements are.

Chang raised millions in 2016 but has $200,000 for this race and will raise more. Jim Nygren is her consultant. Her top endorsements are the LA County GOP, the San Bernardino County GOP, the Lincoln Club, Congressman Ed Royce, and Board of Equalization Chairwoman Diane Harkey.

Whitaker says the CRP already preferred Chang at the outset. He says Jim Friedman is aiding his campaign. He notes endorsements from the North Orange County Conservative Coalition, Placentia Councilman Craig Green, and Pastor Jim Domen.

7:59 PM: Newport Beach Councilman Scott Peotter asks about their stance on gun control in light of the mass shooting in Florida.

Whitaker opposes further gun control and blasts the media for blaming inanimate objects. He calls for dealing with mental illness and not letting the mentally ill get guns.

Chang is an NRA member who regularly goes shooting. She says the California Democratic Party attacked her as a “tool of the NRA.”

8:00 PM: Former Assemblyman Chris Norby asks about the candidates’ positions on asset seizure.

Whitaker opposes taking property without due process and opposes asset seizure.

Chang worked with Howard Ahmanson on legislation. She opposes asset seizure in general.

8:01 PM: Sara Catalan asks of ballot integrity and recount efforts in 2016 along with efforts to help pass the recall.

Chang says she donated money and sent people to deal with provisional ballots. She has built coalitions to support the recall. She has brought volunteers from four ethnic groups together. She speaks of recruiting volunteers.

Whitaker praises Carl DeMaio and John & Ken. He circulated petitions for the recall and announced his candidacy first. He notes he has time constraints as a sitting Councilman.

8:04 PM: Lee Lowery asks the candidates about abortion.

Whitaker says, “It’s a child, not a choice.” He supports the “rights of the unborn.” He supports the approach of discussing calmly rather than yelling.

Chang says she is pro-life. She suggests using 4-D technology to show people unborn children.

8:06 PM: Scott Carpenter asks if they would vote for resolutions supporting Roe v. Wade or Planned Parenthood.

Chang says she has.

Whitaker expresses concern about the high moral ground and “situational ethics.” He says he would oppose such a resolution.

8:08 PM: Newport Beach Councilman Scott Peotter moves and Dean Grose seconds for no endorsement.

8:09 PM: Former Assemblyman Chris Norby says it should not be “Hello, Newman!” but “Goodbye, Newman!” He says either candidate would beat Newman. He says the district is 72% in Orange County. He speaks of Whitaker having been Mayor of Fullerton, the largest city in the district. He says Whitaker worked for him at the County and the State. He says it doesn’t matter which candidate wins since the recall question needs to pass.

8:11 PM: Anthony Kuo is sworn in as Erik Weigand’s alternate.

8:12 PM: Sara Catalan speaks of working for Congressman Ed Royce and then-Senator Jim Brulte. She says there is near-complete overlap between CD-39 and SD-29. She says Royce strongly supports Chang. She says they don’t want to leave the door open for a Democrat to win. She says many people were helping at the Registrar but says she didn’t see Whitaker there (without saying his name).

8:14 PM: Newport Beach Councilman Scott Peotter says he is familiar with recalls, eliciting laughter from Central Committee members who remember that Peotter recently beat back a recall effort against him. He says every candidate will bring supporters who will vote for the recall. He says endorsing would discourage other candidates’ supporters. He notes the Andrew Hamilton recall in Lake Forest passed because so many replacement candidates brought out supporters who voted for the recall.

8:16 PM: Supervisor Andrew Do says Chang has consistently supported the party and gave up her safe Assembly seat to run for Senate. Do met her Chief of Staff at the Registrar when she sent him to the 2016 ballot counting, and Do has since hired that Chief of Staff. Do speaks of having the resources to win a swing seat.

8:18 PM: Paula Prizio is pro-life but not a one-issue candidate. She is Mark Bucher’s alternate and Bucher opposes Chang, citing her voting for a resolution praising Planned Parenthood.

8:19 PM: Chairman Fred Whitaker says he agrees on the issues 100% with Bruce Whitaker. He says an 80% friend is not a 20% enemy. He wants to support the conservative who can best win. He says there must be a unified effort. He says the California Republican Party resources to support the recall need a unified front with Chang. He says Bruce Whitaker cannot be the CRP-endorsed candidate since two other counties have already endorsed Chang.

8:22 PM: Anthony Kuo attempts a substitute motion, but Parliamentarian Kermit Marsh says it is too late.

8:23 PM: The voice vote is unclear, so there is a standing vote.

The vote is 14 for the motion for no endorsement and 36 against.

8:25 PM: Municipal Water District of Orange County Board Member Brett Barbre moves and Jennifer Beall seconds to endorse Chang.

The motion passes by voice vote to ENDORSE LING-LING CHANG FOR THE 29TH SENATE DISTRICT.

8:26 PM: Meeting adjourned.

Posted in 29th Senate District, 49th Congressional District, 65th Assembly District, Republican Central Committee | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

AD-72 Fundraising: Diep $455K, Lowenthal $313K, Haskin $13K

Posted by Chris Nguyen on February 1, 2018

72nd Assembly District Candidates: Tyler Diep (R-Westminster), Greg Haskin (R-Fountain Valley), Josh Lowenthal (D-Huntington Beach)

72nd Assembly District Candidates:
Tyler Diep (R-Westminster), Greg Haskin (R-Fountain Valley), and Josh Lowenthal (D-Huntington Beach)

With Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach) leaving the Legislature to run for Governor, Democrats are making a play for the 72nd Assembly District seat that Allen is vacating.  Campaign finance reports for all candidates were released yesterday for the period ending December 31, 2017.  Josh Lowenthal (D-Huntington Beach), son of Congressman Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) and former Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal (D-Long Beach), raised $313,247 in three months since entering the race in October.

Vice Mayor Tyler Diep (R-Westminster) has ample resources to battle Lowenthal and defend the seat for Republicans, as Diep brought in $455,140 in spendable dollars for this Assembly account in five months since entering the race in July, raising $206,223 and transferring $248,917 from his City Council account.  However, one of Diep’s challenges will be determining how much to expend to battle Pepsi Government Affairs Senior Director Greg Haskin (R-Fountain Valley), which would drain precious campaign dollars that Diep could otherwise save for his campaign to keep the seat in Republican hands against the Lowenthal bid to seize the seat for Democrats.

A former Executive Director of the Orange County Republican Party and District Director to former Congressman Chris Cox (R-Newport Beach), Haskin raised $12,770 in two months since entering the race in mid-November.  Haskin also loaned his campaign $100,000.  OC Political has long separated $100,000 loans from contributions and transfers, with this five-year-old article giving our most comprehensive explanation of why candidates use $100,000 loans to inflate campaign finance figures, and OC Political has even been quoted by the San Gabriel Valley Tribune regarding these loans.

Diep spent $18,848 with a $350 bill to be paid, leaving him with $435,942 cash-on-hand.  Lowenthal spent $41,204 with two bills to be paid totaling $6,900, leaving him with $265,143 cash-on-hand.  Haskin spent $12,324 with a $100,000 loan, leaving him with $446 cash-on-hand.  If we credit his loan to his cash-on-hand, Haskin’s $100,446 would still be less than half of Lowenthal’s cash-on-hand and less than a quarter of Diep’s cash-on-hand.  If we don’t credit the loan, Diep has 977 times Haskin’s cash-on-hand while Lowenthal has 594 times Haskin’s cash-on-hand.

Lowenthal, the ex-brother-in-law of former Councilwoman Suja Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) and the brother of Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Daniel Lowenthal, is the President of FreeConferenceCall.com.  FreeConferenceCall.com is a prolific service: I myself was on a conference call yesterday that used a FreeConferenceCall.com number and am scheduled to be on a conference call today also using a FreeConferenceCall.com.  These two conference calls were both set up by other people, both calls only have Republican participants, and the two calls have completely different participants other than me.

There is a 36% overlap between CD-47 and AD-72, with 85,000 of AD-72’s 239,000 voters living in the overlapping area.  With Congressman Alan Lowenthal on the ballot at the same time as Josh Lowenthal’s Assembly candidacy, expect an unprecedented amount of re-election mail and other expenditures for Congressman Lowenthal in an effort to boost his son’s name ID.  Congressman Lowenthal has already given the maximum contribution to his son’s campaign under law, and the Congressman’s campaign has also given the maximum contribution to his son’s campaign.  By spending a significant amount of his Congressional campaign money in the overlap with the Assembly District, Congressman Lowenthal has the ability to use an unclosable loophole to help his son (you can’t ban the man from running for re-election to block him from helping his son since they have the same last name).

Not to be forgotten is Republicans hold only a 4.5% registration advantage over Democrats in AD-72.  Diep’s cross-over ability in attracting votes from Vietnamese Democrats would help buffer that small registration advantage.  In addition to his name ID from the Westminster City Council, Diep is also a prolific presence on Vietnamese language television as an on-air television personality.

Diep has built his own name ID as a City Councilman and through his work on Vietnamese language television.  Lowenthal has built-in name ID, courtesy of his father, the sitting Congressman running for re-election.  Haskin will need to spend significant sums of money to build his own name ID in the face of his two better-known opponents.

Of Haskin’s $12,770, he only raised 9% from his district: a single $1,200 contribution from his wife.  In fact, including his wife’s contribution, he only raised 22% from Orange County ($2,850) donors.  More starkly, 60% of Haskin’s fundraising ($7,600) has actually come from out-of-state donors.  While OC Political rarely notes the geographical origins on contributions, when a candidate only has 12 donors, it makes it rather easy to do a geographic analysis.

A closer look at Lowenthal’s campaign contributions reveals this frightening fact for Republicans: Lowenthal hasn’t raised any union money yet.

For visual learners:

Candidate Contributions Transfers Loans Unpaid
Bills
Expenditures Cash on Hand
(COH)
COH Minus
Unpaid Bills
COH Minus
Unpaid Bills and Loans
Tyler Diep (R) $206,223 $248,917 $0 $350 $18,848 $436,292 $435,942 $435,942
Josh Lowenthal (D) $313,247 $0 $0 $6,900 $41,204 $272,043 $265,143 $265,143
Greg Haskin (R) $12,770 $0 $100,000 $0 $12,324 $100,446 $100,446 $446
Notes: Figures may be off by one dollar due to rounding.

 

Posted in 72nd Assembly District, Westminster | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Fountain Valley’s McCurdy Becomes 4th OC Councilman to Resign in 4 Months

Posted by Chris Nguyen on January 15, 2018

Mark McCurdy, Josh Wilson, Steve Hwangbo, Jerry Slusiewicz

Recently resigned City Councilmen Mark McCurdy (R-Fountain Valley), Josh Wilson (R-Los Alamitos), Steve Hwangbo (R-La Palma), and Jerry Slusiewicz (R-Laguna Niguel)

In a continuing exodus of Orange County’s City Councilmen, Mark McCurdy (R-Fountain Valley) resigned this afternoon, becoming OC’s fourth City Councilman to resign in as many months.  Josh Wilson (R-Los Alamitos) announced his resignation on October 30, Steve Hwangbo (R-La Palma) resigned on November 30, and Jerry Slusiewicz (R-Laguna Niguel) announced his resignation on December 7.

Running a few months ahead of this group of resignations, Bert Hack (D-Laguna Woods) resigned on May 23 after suffering a stroke, and the Laguna Woods City Council appointed Joe Rainey (R-Laguna Woods) to fill the remainder of his term, which expires in November.  Hack had served on the City Council since the founding of Laguna Woods in 1999.   Additionally, voters recalled Andrew Hamilton (R-Lake Forest) on January 2 and elected Tom Cagley (R-Lake Forest) to fill the remainder of his term, which expires in November.  Hamilton had been first elected to the Lake Forest City Council in 2014.

Today: Mark McCurdy of Fountain Valley

In an email released by the City, McCurdy cited a new job outside of the area, writing:

“At this time, I find it necessary to secure employment outside the area, and having no other option, to effective immediately, step down from my position serving on the City Council. It has been an honor to serve the citizens of Fountain Valley and, for that I will always be grateful.”

Just six weeks ago, McCurdy had been passed over for Mayor by his Council colleagues despite the Fountain Valley City Council’s long tradition of seniority dictating that it was McCurdy’s turn to be Mayor; he had similarly been passed over for Mayor Pro Tem the year before.   McCurdy had previously served as Mayor Pro Tem in 2012 and Mayor in 2013.  First elected to the Fountain Valley City Council in 2010, McCurdy had been the top vote-getter in 2014 (which broke his tie in seniority with Councilman Michael Vo, who became Mayor six weeks ago).

The Fountain Valley City Council will decide whether to appoint a replacement Councilmember or hold a special election to fill the remainder of McCurdy’s term, which expires in November.

October 2017: Josh Wilson of Los Alamitos

In October, Wilson resigned from the Los Alamitos City Council citing a new job as a credit union executive in Montana.  Wilson had been first elected to the Council just 11 months earlier when he had been the top vote-getter, surpassing two incumbents and unseating Councilman Dean Grose.  In a statement released by the City, Wilson said:

“Reaching the decision to leave Los Alamitos was difficult. I am sincerely appreciative of the community’s support and I am proud of my service to the city. I have the utmost confidence that Los Alamitos will continue to thrive under the leadership of the City Council and the dedication of the city staff.”

The Los Alamitos City Council appointed Mark Chirco (NPP-Los Alamitos) in December to replace Wilson.  Chirco will serve until the November election, when voters will elect a replacement to serve the remainder of Wilson’s term, which expires in 2020.

November 2017: Steve Hwangbo of La Palma

First elected in 2010, Hwangbo was the top vote-getter in his 2014 re-election to the La Palma City Council.  A rumored Republican candidate for the 65th Assembly District to challenge Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton), Mayor Pro Tem Hwangbo instead resigned from the City Council in November exactly one year to the day before term limits would have ended his Council service.  Hwangbo cited “personal reasons” according to a City press release.  He had been Mayor in 2013 and had been widely expected to become Mayor in 2018.  In an email to the Orange County Register, Hwango wrote:

“It was truly an honor and privilege to represent and serve fellow La Palma citizens for last seven years.”

The La Palma City Council appointed Kathy Flachmeier (NPP-La Palma) two weeks ago to replace Hwangbo.  She will be sworn into office tomorrow and will serve the remainder of Hwangbo’s term, which expires in November.

December 2017: Jerry Slusiewicz of Laguna Niguel

First elected to the Council in 2012, Slusiewicz had just been re-elected in 2016.  This year, Mayor Slusiewicz had challenged the legitimacy of a $410,000 contract overrun while he himself was accused of abusing his power as Mayor of Laguna Niguel to intimidate City staff and residents.  Consequently, the City Council threatened to remove Slusiewicz as Mayor.  Instead, he stepped down as Mayor in August but planned to remain on the Council.  However, in December, Slusiewicz resigned from the Laguna Niguel City Council after a bizarre incident in which his office window was damaged by an unknown object, possibly a bullet.  In a statement released by the City, Slusiewicz said:

“Serving the citizens of Laguna Niguel has always been a tremendous privilege and I am grateful to the taxpayers who twice elected me as their advocate. Yet my greatest commitment has always has been to my family and my highest honor serving as a husband and a father. Their safety is my top priority, and this has shaken us to the core. Considering the events of the last 48 hours, we have decided as a family that it would be unwise for me to remain on the City Council.”

Two weeks after Slusiewicz’s resignation, the Laguna Niguel City Council appointed former Mayor and current Orange County Board of Education Trustee Linda Lindholm (R-Laguna Niguel) to fill Slusiewicz’s seat until the November election, when voters will elect a replacement to serve the remainder of Slusiewicz’s term, which expires in 2020.  Planning to retire from public office by the end of 2018, Lindholm has already stated she will not be a candidate for either the Council seat or her Board of Education seat.

Posted in 65th Assembly District, Fountain Valley, La Palma, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Los Alamitos | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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

Posted by Chris Nguyen on January 10, 2018

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

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

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

Original story below:


Sharon Quirk-Silva

Sharon Quirk-Silva

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

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

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

Posted in 39th Congressional District, 4th Supervisorial District, 65th Assembly District | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Breaking News: Eight Republicans Cross Aisle to Vote for Cap-and-Trade, Quirk-Silva Crosses Aisle to Vote Against Cap-and-Trade

Posted by Chris Nguyen on July 17, 2017

California State CapitolTonight, the State Legislature passed AB 398, the legislation extending cap-and-trade, passed the Senate 28-12 and the Assembly 55-22. The bill required 27 votes in the Senate and 54 votes in the Assembly.

Governor Jerry Brown will definitely sign the bill, considering his active efforts to lobby for cap-and-trade, his rare testimony in the Senate Environmental Quality Committee in favor of cap-and-trade, and his ebullient press conference tonight celebrating cap-and-trade’s passage.

All 27 Senate Democrats voted for cap-and-trade. 48 out of 54 Assembly Democrats voted for it. Eight Republicans in the Legislature voted for cap-and-trade: one Senator and seven Assemblymembers.

Most of the Orange County legislative delegation voted along party lines, with Republicans voting against cap-and-trade and Democrats voting for it.  The sole exception was Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton) who crossed the aisle to join the Republicans in voting against cap-and-trade.

Here are the eight Republicans who joined with most of the Democrats to vote for cap-and-trade:

Senate

Assembly

Posted in 65th Assembly District, California, State Assembly, State Senate | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »