We are live from the OC GOP Central Committee meeting tonight where a number of endorsements for Federal, State, and County offices are being considered in the June Primary, as well as the Orange Unified School District special election in March. The hottest contest of the evening is widely expected to be the dueling endorsement requests from Senator John Moorlach and his challenger for the 37th Senate District, Assemblyman Don Wagner.
Already endorsed in December were:
- Assemblywoman Ling-Ling Chang for 29th Senate District
- Assemblywoman Young Kim for Re-Election, 65th Assembly District
- Supervisor Andrew Do for Re-Election, 1st Supervisorial District
Being considered tonight are:
- Congressman Darrell Issa for Re-Election, 49th Congressional District
- Congressman Dana Rohrabacher for Re-Election, 48th Congressional District
- Congresswoman Mimi Walters for Re-Election, 45th Congressional District
- Senator John Moorlach for Re-Election, 37th Senate District
- Assemblyman Don Wagner for 37th Senate District
- Assemblyman Bill Brough for Re-Election, 73rd Assembly District
- Assemblyman Matthew Harper for Re-Election, 74th Assembly District
- Supervisor Todd Spitzer for Re-Election, 3rd Supervisorial District
- Trustee Robert Hammond for Re-Election, Orange County Board of Education, Trustee Area 1
- Trustee Ken Williams for Re-Election, Orange County Board of Education, Trustee Area 3
- Gregory Salas, Orange Unified School District, Trustee Area 1
7:05 PM: Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance
7:07 PM: OC GOP Chairman Fred Whitaker begins taking the roll
7:10 PM: Two new alternates are sworn in
7:14 PM: Current and former elected officials present introducing themselves are Bill Brough, Diane Harkey, Pat Bates, Matt Harper, David Shawver, Scott Peotter, John Moorlach, Robert Hammond, Tony Beall, Mike Munzing, Eric Woolery, Shari Freidenrich, Steven Choi, Mike Posey, Craig Young, Andrew Hamilton, Dwight Robinson, Peggy Huang, Hugh Nguyen, Shawn Nelson, Gene Hernandez, Brett Barbre, Tim Shaw, Deborah Pauly, Todd Spitzer, Mark McCurdy, Michael Gates, Andrew Do, Steve Nagel, Jim Cunneen, Cecilia Iglesias, Scott Voigts, Steve Tye, Erik Peterson, Ken Williams, Harry Sidhu, Jeff Lalloway, and Fred Whitaker.
7:20 PM: Chairman Whitaker presents Senator Pat Bates with the OC GOP’s Legislator of the Year award.
7:23 PM: Bates speaks about her husband, women in elected office, and bringing women into the Republican Party.
7:26 PM: County Auditor-Controller Eric Woolery gives the Taxpayer Watchdog Award to Bates.
7:27 PM: Chairman Whitaker gives one of the two Local Elected Officials of the Year awards to Santa Ana Unified School District Trustee Cecilia Iglesias.
7:30 PM: Assemblyman Don Wagner’s office presents an Assembly certificate to Iglesias.
7:31 PM: Iglesias thanks Thomas Gordon, Robert Hammond, and the Central Committee. She says Santa Ana is slowly but surely returning to its conservative values and hopes to elect more Santa Ana Republicans in 2016.
7:32 PM: Wagner returns to the room and re-presents the certificate.
7:33 PM: Chairman Whitaker presents the other Local Elected Official of the Year award to Lake Forest Councilman Dwight Robinson.
7:35 PM: Robinson speaks about his family. He speaks of freedom and liberty. He speaks of good governance and making his community a better place to live for his children. He points to Steven Choi and Irvine as an example. He points to the leadership of his Lake Forest colleague Scott Voigts. He points to Supervisor Shawn Nelson and speaks about the AQMD Board, job retention, and economic growth.
7:39 PM: Assemblyman Wagner presents an Assembly certificate to Robinson.
7:40 PM: Don Gilchrist and Kathy Tavoularis present “The Donald” (the OC GOP’s Legislative Staffer of the Year award) to Jennifer Beall, District Director for Assemblyman Bill Brough.
7:43 PM: Beall thanks Gilchrist and speaks of Brough’s efforts to elect more Republicans to local office. She thanks Sharon Campbell of Brough’s staff. She thanks Chairman Whitaker and speaks of getting volunteers into the field in targeted seats.
7:47 PM: OC GOP Secretary Peggy Huang presents the Volunteer of the Month award to UCI College Republicans President Rob Petrosyan.
7:49 PM: Petrosyan speaks about the importance of Republican activism.
7:50 PM: Senator John Moorlach presents a Senate certificate to Petrosyan. Supervisor Todd Spitzer presents a County certificate to Petrosyan. Ben Rejniak of Congresswoman Mimi Walters’s office presents a Congressional certificate to Petrosyan.
7:53 PM: Huang inaudibly presents the Emily Sanford Volunteer of the Year Award to a member of the Republican Women Federated.
7:59 PM: Whitaker thanks all the award recipients and speaks of the 2016 presidential election. He speaks of the 2015 activities of the OC GOP, including the election of Andrew Do to the Board of Supervisors, fundraising successes, and the early endorsements of Do for re-election, Assemblywoman Ling-Ling Chang for the 29th Senate District, and Assemblyman Young Kim for re-election. He speaks of the importance of focusing on targeted seats, not intraparty fights in safe seats. He points to Tom Steyer fielding liberal Democrats in primary elections to challenge incumbent moderate Democrats statewide. He asks for respectful discourse and reminds those present that Republicans are on the same team, and the Democrats are the opponents. He states no incumbent Republicans being considered for endorsement tonight have done anything to merit removal from office. He urges endorsing the incumbents and focusing resources on the targeted seats.
He states SD-37 will be considered in a candidates’ forum since there are two applicants for one seat.
8:07 PM: Senator John Moorlach speaks of being a Central Committee member in 1993 and being encouraged to challenge Bob Citron for Treasurer by then-OC GOP Chairman Tom Fuentes and Assemblyman Mickey Conroy. He speaks of reducing the County’s unfunded pension liability while on the Board of Supervisors. He speaks of being Vice Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
8:09 PM: Assemblyman Don Wagner states that SD-37 is in no danger of going to the Democrats. Wagner points to Moorlach’s vote on SB 141, in which Moorlach was one of only two Republicans to vote for it. Wagner says it allows governments to sell land acquired via eminent domain. Wagner points to Moorlach’s vote on SJR 13 where Moorlach joined with Democrats to vote for a resolution that took a position on a Supreme Court case on redistricting that was contrary to the Republican position. Wagner noted that he has repeatedly endorsed Republicans in tough races while Moorlach is often absent. Wagner spoke of Moorlach being the sole Senate Republican to not endorse Republican Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian’s bid to capture the seat held by retiring Congresswoman Lois Capps (D). Wagner contributed financial resources to help elect Janet Nguyen to the State Senate while Moorlach did not endorse her.
8:14 PM: Brett Barbre asks the candidates if they have taken union contributions.
8:15 PM: Wagner says he has not taken any for this Senate campaign but has taken public safety union money in the past that he has given to other Republican candidates.
8:16 PM: Moorlach says that he has taken none and has never benefited from union independent expenditures.
8:17 PM: Dennis White asks Moorlach to respond to the allegations raised by Wagner.
8:18 PM: Moorlach disputes Wagner’s allegation on SJR 13 and says he voted against it. He does not have a response for SB 141. [Editor’s Note: the vote record for SJR 13 shows Moorlach joined a unanimous 36-0 vote in favor of SJR 13 in the Senate while Wagner was one of 11 votes against SJR 13 when it passed the Assembly 57-11.]
8:19 PM: Wagner stands by his statements.
8:19 PM: Scott Voigts asks Wagner why he has been so generous with helping other Republicans.
Wagner states he wants to grow the ranks of Republican elected officials.
8:20 PM: Andy Whallon asks how they voted SB 443 on civil asset forfeiture reform.
8:22 PM: After much discussion, both declare they voted in favor of SB 443. [Editor’s Note: the vote record for SB 443 shows Wagner voted against SB 443 when it was defeated 44-24 in the Assembly while Moorlach voted in favor of SB 443 joining a 38-1 vote to pass it in the Senate.]
8:23 PM: Wagner apologizes for putting the Central Committee in an awkward position but says the Central Committee is there to make difficult decisions to help grow the Republican Party.
8:24 PM: Moorlach states he has never run against a Republican incumbent. He points to his voting record and emphasizes his votes on fiscal issues.
8:25 PM: Scott Baugh motions and Brett Franklin seconds the endorsement of John Moorlach.
8:26 PM: Scott Voigts offers a substitute motion for neutrality in the 37th Senate District. Mary Young seconds the motion.
8:27 PM: Allan Bartlett attempts to table the motion of Don Wagner’s endorsement, but he is rejected because he proposes tabling a non-existent motion.
8:27 PM: Baugh moves to table Voigts’s substitute motion. This motion to table the substitute motion is approve by voice vote.
8:28 PM: Baugh, Assemblyman Matt Harper, and Supervisor Shawn Nelson wish to speak in favor of the motion to endorse Moorlach. Voigts and Young wish to speak against. Since there must be an equal number of speakers and no third speaker against the motion stepped forward, so Nelson will not speak.
8:30 PM: Baugh speaks of Moorlach’s great character, his votes against the totalitarianism of civil asset forfeiture, and how it is easy to cherry-pick individual votes out of thousands cast each year by legislators. Baugh says while Moorlach is not warm and cuddly, he is a principled conservative.
8:31 PM: Voigts stated he broke his back in 1994 falling off a freeway overpass, after which he became involved with the Christian Coalition. Vogts met his-now boss and me tor, Wagner, in 1995 and helped engineer the Republican takeover of the South Orange County Community College District Board with Tom Fuentes. He speaks of numerous precincts where Wagner has walked for other Republicans and numerous campaigns where Wagner donated money to help elect more Republicans. Voigts says both are great men, so the party should stay neutral on this race.
8:34 PM: TJ Fuentes asks speakers not to invoke the memory of his father during debate.
8:34 PM: Assemblyman Matt Harper praises Wagner’s voting record and leadership in the Assembly. However, Harper points out the voters clearly elected Moorlach less than a year ago. He says Moorlach has been a great conservative leader in the Senate. Harper notes he signed the first page of the recall declaration of intent against Doris Allen, so he has no problem opposing bad Republican incumbents. He says SD-37 is nowhere near the Doris Allen situation.
8:38 PM: Mary Young states that Wagner has repeatedly given money to Republican Women Federated and other Republican volunteer events while Moorlach has given none.
8:39 PM: Voting begins on the endorsement of John Moorlach for re-election to the 37th Senate District.
8:40 PM: There are 48 votes for Moorlach and 7 against.
MOORLACH ENDORSED FOR RE-ELECTION 48-7.
8:41 PM: Whitaker notes the party has not dual-endorsed in the past. Wagner offers to withdraw his application.
8:41 PM: With only one dissenting vote, the endorsements for all other people being considered for Federal and State office is passed.
8:41 PM: With only one abstaining vote, the endorsements for all other people being considered for County and school offices is passed.
8:51 PM: After various announcements, Chairman Whitaker adjourns the meeting.