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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.


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



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.


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 »

SD-34: Villa Park’s Tom Umberg to Challenge Janet Nguyen

Posted by Chris Nguyen on February 22, 2018

Senator Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove) and former Assemblyman Tom Umberg (D-Villa Park)

Senator Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove) and
former Assemblyman Tom Umberg (D-Villa Park)

Yesterday, former Assemblyman Tom Umberg (D-Villa Park) announced his entry into the race to challenge the re-election bid of Senator Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove) in the 34th District.  Unfortunately for Umberg, in a case of unlucky timing, the news of his entry was completely drowned out by the news that Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) had introduced a resolution to expel Senator Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia/Buena Park) due to allegations of sexual misconduct against Mendoza.

Hillary Clinton defeated Donald Trump by 23% in the 34th Senate District, and Umberg is already trying to make Trump an issue in the State Senate election by declaring in the second sentence of his announcement: “I am running for State Senate because I believe that our community needs a strong fighter in Sacramento who will stand up to President Trump and his Administration on important issues like health care, immigration, energy, the environment, civil rights, education, and consumer issues.”

Congressman Lou Correa led a list of Umberg’s endorsements by various Democratic elected officials.  Correa was Nguyen’s predecessor in the 34th Senate District seat.  There is no word on if former Councilwoman Gerrie Shipske (D-Long Beach) will continue her bid for the seat or drop out in favor of Umberg.

Umberg’s biography is formidable as a former State Assemblyman, former federal prosecutor, retired Army Colonel, and former Deputy Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (under Bill Clinton), and former Co-Chair of the U.S. State Department’s Public Private Partnership for Justice Reform in Afghanistan (under Barack Obama).

Democrats currently hold a 9% registration advantage over Republicans in the two-county 34th Senate District.  When then-Supervisor Nguyen defeated former Assemblyman Jose Solorio for the seat by 16% in 2014, Democrats held a 5% registration advantage over Republicans.  Additionally, midterm elections have historically resulted strengthened voter turnout for the party opposing the President’s party.  In 2014, with Democrat Barack Obama in office, that produced a bump in voter turnout for Republicans.  In 2018, with Republican Donald Trump in office, that should produce a bump in voter turnout for Democrats.

However, Nguyen is a tough and tireless campaigner, and it is often said in political circles: “Nobody outworks Janet Nguyen.”  Umberg is a daunting opponent, but Nguyen has beaten him before (2007 Supervisorial election, though that seat had dead even political registration with 32.1% of voters registered in each party) and has repeatedly beaten formidable opponents election after election, often as the underdog.  There is no doubt that Umberg will provide a tough challenge, but Nguyen’s experience with arduous campaigns will likely give her a close win in November.

Umberg’s long biography also includes a long record.  The Nguyen campaign likely still has its opposition research file from their 2007 battle with Umberg, who has a voting record of three terms in the State Assembly.  Of course, Umberg is surely assembling a new opposition research file from Nguyen’s 7 years on the Board of Supervisors and 4 years in the State Senate.

Umberg has lost 4 of his last 5 campaigns for office over the last quarter of a century: a 1994 bid for State Attorney General when he lost to incumbent Republican Dan Lungren by 14%, a 2002 bid for the Democratic nomination for Insurance Commissioner when he lost to John Garamendi by 10%, a 2006 bid for the Democratic nomination for 34th Senate District when he lost to Correa by 19%, and a 2007 bid for the 1st Supervisorial District when he came in third by 3% in the legendary Nguyen-Nguyen special election in which Councilwoman Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove) defeated School Board Member Trung Nguyen (R-Garden Grove) by the slimmest of margins (Trung Nguyen led by 7 votes after the Registrar’s initial count, Janet Nguyen led by 7 votes after the Registrar’s recount and then by 3 votes after litigation was completed).

Umberg’s sole win in the last 25 years was his 2004 bid for State Assembly, winning by 30% over then-hapless, later controversial Otto Bade.

As of February 5, Umberg was still registered to vote at his home in Villa Park in the district of Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa).

Here’s an excerpt of an Orange County Register story on accusations of Umberg’s carpetbagging from January 2007:

State Sen. Lou Correa, who beat Umberg in the Senate primary and whose vacated supervisor seat Umberg hopes to win, is among those with reservations.

“Everybody seems to think that they can move into central Orange County and they can run for office,” said Correa, who has not endorsed a candidate. “But there are plenty of qualified individuals living in central Orange County that can run for office.”

Nonetheless, Umberg is the best-known candidate, having twice represented much of the district in the Assembly. He’s won the endorsement of the county Democratic Party and four key labor unions.

And many, including some Umberg opponents, downplay residency as an issue.

“I think it is a nonissue,” said veteran consultant Dave Gilliard, who’s representing Umberg opponent Janet Nguyen. “Central Orange County has a history of carpetbagging. There are many better reasons to oppose Umberg.”

There’s also the ever awkward press coverage of his extramarital affair.

Here’s the full text of Umberg’s press release announcing his candidacy:


Also Announces Endorsements From U.S. Congressman Lou Correa, State Assemblyman Tom Daly, Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido, State Senator Betty Karnette (Ret.), and former Long Beach Mayor Robert Foster

SANTA ANA – U.S. Army Colonel (Ret.) & former Federal Prosecutor and State Assemblyman Tom Umberg announced today that he is running for State Senate to represent California’s 34th Senate District.

“I am running for State Senate because I believe that our community needs a strong fighter in Sacramento who will stand up to President Trump and his Administration on important issues like health care, immigration, energy, the environment, civil rights, education, and consumer issues,” said Umberg who previously represented the cities of Anaheim, Garden Grove, Santa Ana, and Westminster during three terms in the California State Assembly.

Umberg also announced that his candidacy has been endorsed by U.S. Congressman Lou Correa, State Assemblyman Tom Daly, Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido, State Senator Betty Karnette (Ret.), and former Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster.

“When Tom served in the Legislature, he was a leader in cutting through partisan bickering to achieve results,” said former State Senator Betty Karnette of Long Beach who served with Umberg in the California Legislature.  “He had an impact.”

Tom Umberg is a retired U.S. Army Colonel who has served in Korea with the 2nd Infantry Division, with NATO forces in Italy, and as a paratrooper with the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, U.S. Army Special Warfare Center, and XVIIIth Airborne Corp. As a JAG officer, he tried over 50 felony cases in Korea, Italy, and the United States.

He was recalled to active military duty in 2004 as a war crimes prosecutor, and in 2009-10 to lead the U.S. military effort to attack corruption within the Afghan Army and Police, for which he was awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious service in a combat zone.

As a federal criminal prosecutor he had a 100% conviction rate, trying numerous white collar, civil rights, and gang cases.  He successfully tried over 100 cases to verdict or judgment, including complex matters involving health care, real estate, work place harassment, construction defects, and protection of employee pension plans.

Tom Umberg served three terms in the California Legislature representing central Orange County.  While in the State Assembly, he successfully authored and secured legislative passage of 76 new state laws, brought more than $563 million in state and federal grant funds into Orange County, and assisted more than 2,500 individuals with government red tape and state bureaucracy problems.

In 1997, Umberg was selected by President Bill Clinton to serve as Deputy Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).  In this capacity he was responsible for the development and coordination of United States policy to reduce the supply of illegal drugs, including negotiation and coordination with foreign governments to enhance U.S. counter-drug intelligence and interdiction.  In 2011, he was also appointed Co-Chair of the U.S. State Department’s Public Private Partnership for Justice Reform in Afghanistan.

Umberg is a founding partner of Umberg Zipser LLP and previously served as a partner at both Morrison & Foerster and Manatt, Phelps & Phillips.  He is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals and is Chair of the Veterans Treatment Court Committee.

Tom is married to Brigadier General (Ret.) Robin Umberg.  They met while they were on active duty in Korea.  “Tom and I have been proud to serve our country together for over 60 years combined — in the United States and overseas,” said Robin Umberg.


(Cue my usual Nguyen disclaimer: I am not related to Senator Janet Nguyen or former School Board Member Trung Nguyen. The last name Nguyen is held by 36% of Vietnamese people.)

Posted in 34th Senate District | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

SD-29 Recall: Newman Raises $2 Million But Spends $1.5 Million

Posted by Chris Nguyen on February 6, 2018

Senator Josh Newman (D-Fullerton)

Senator Josh Newman

According to campaign finance reports released last week for 2017, Senator Josh Newman (D-Fullerton) raised over $2 million to fight the recall effort against him but spent $1.5 million, leaving him with cash-on-hand of $555,111 along with $26,255 in unpaid bills and a $60,000 loan, bringing his cash-on-hand down to $468,856.  (His five largest expenditures categories were $297,059 on television commercials, $269,671 on campaign consultants, $215,662 on an outside vendor employing precinct walkers, $210,643 on campaign worker salaries, and $72,513 on campaign literature and mailings.)

Another committee, Californians for Better Communities (CBC), run by construction unions, raised $680,000, transferring $250,000 to Newman to get him over $2 million (he raised just under $1.8 million without that transfer) and spent another $213,696, leaving themselves with $215,341 cash-on-hand.

Reform California, the committee founded by former City Councilman Carl De Maio (R-San Diego), raised $827,478 and spent $629,044, with the bulk of it spent on qualifying the recall, primarily on signature gatherers.  They have $213,643 cash-on-hand after accounting for $12,251 in unpaid bills.

Another committee, Californians Against Car and Gas Tax Hikes, run by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, raised $127,903 and spent $127,008, leaving $895 cash-on-hand, or $119 after accounting for unpaid bills of $776.  They spent most of their funds on signature gatherers.

For visual learners:

Committee Contributions Transfers Loans Unpaid
Expenditures Cash on Hand
COH Minus
Unpaid Bills
COH Minus
Unpaid Bills and Loans
Newman $1,786,598 $250,000 $60,000 $26,255 $1,541,487 $555,111 $528,856 $468,856
CBC (pro-Newman) $680,000 ($250,000) $0 $963 $213,696 $216,304 $215,341 $215,341
Reform CA (pro-recall) $827,478 $0 $0 $12,251 $629,044 $225,894 $213,643 $213,643
CACGTH (pro-recall) $127,903 $0 $0 $776 $127,008 $895 $119 $119
Notes: Figures may be off by one dollar due to rounding.


Only three candidates have initiated any paperwork to run as replacement candidates should Newman be recalled. No Democrat has yet jumped in as a backup candidate for their party in case Newman is recalled.  (The 2003 “No on the Recall, Yes on [Cruz] Bustamante” strategy.)

All are holding back on spending, with a combined expenditure total of $9,856 through December 31.  The candidates were presumably waiting for the Governor to set the recall election, which he did not do until January 8.

Former Assemblywoman Ling-Ling Chang (R-Diamond Bar) raised $130,300 and loaned her campaign $80,000.  She spent a negligible $9,756, leaving her with a cash-on-hand total of $200,544, or once you account for her loan, a cash-on-hand total of $120,544.

City Councilman Bruce Whitaker (R-Fullerton) raised $14,489.  He spent a negligible $100, leaving him with a cash-on-hand total of $14,389.

Joshua Ferguson (NPP-Fullerton) has raised and spent no money; he has still yet to file any FPPC paperwork to allow him to raise a penny for Senate.  Additionally, while he pulled papers from the Registrar of Voters on January 10, he has not yet submitted any of that paperwork.

For visual learners:

Candidate Contributions Loans Expenditures Cash on Hand
COH Minus Loans
Ling-Ling Chang (R) $130,300 $80,000 $9,756 $200,544 $120,544
Bruce Whitaker (R) $14,489 $0 $100 $14,389 $14,389
Joshua Ferguson (NPP) $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Notes: Figures may be off by one dollar due to rounding.

Posted in 29th Senate District, Fullerton | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Recall Certified

Posted by Brenda Higgins on January 5, 2018

Secretary of State Alex Padilla today, certified enough signatures such that the recall of Senator Josh Newman may proceed.

Josh Newman was elected in a nail biter of a race against Ling Ling Chang in the 29th State Senate district in November 2016. Josh Newman voted with his party, the Democrat super majority, in pushing forward a new gas and vehicle licensing tax that has prompted voter outrage.

Republican activist Carl DeMaio form San Diego, rallied that anger into a move to recall the Freshman senator from Orange County. The recall of Senator Newman will not make any affirmative change to the gas tax, and that has been a large part of the Newman opposition messaging. People who signed the recall petitions have said that they were not aware it was for the recall of the Senator but believed that the petition they were signing would in fact repeal the gas tax. In spite of some disgruntled signers of those petitions, still, today, according to the California Secretary of State, there are enough valid signatures for it to proceed.
The governor will need to schedule a Special Election to determine 1) if Josh Newman will be recalled and 2) If recalled, whom will replace him. Thus far, Newman has had his campaign in motion for many months to combat the recall and fight for re-election. So far, Fullerton Mayor, Bruce Whitaker and Newman’s former opponent, Ling Ling Chang, are the prominent Republicans poised to challenge him. The election could proceed as early as March, but will likely be consolidated with the primary in June.


Posted in 29th Senate District, Fullerton, La Habra, Orange County, Placentia, State Senate, Yorba Linda | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Breaking News: Enough Signatures Verified to Qualify Recall Election for Senator Josh Newman

Posted by Newsletter Reprint on August 18, 2017

This came over the wire from the California Republican Party just minutes ago announcing enough signatures have been verified by County Registrars of Voters to qualify the recall election of Senator Josh Newman (D-Fullerton):

Statement by California Republican Party Chairman Jim Brulte on the Counties Verifying Enough Signatures to Qualify Recall of State Senator Josh Newman

Sacramento, CA — Today, the counties of LA, Orange and San Bernardino have verified 66,597 signatures from voters who signed the petition to recall State Senator Josh Newman. This is significantly more than the required 63,593 verified signatures from voters within Senate District 29 by mid-October to qualify the recall for a vote.

“Despite every cynical effort by the Democrats to stall this election, the time has come for Senator Newman to stand before the voters in Senate District 29 and answer for his tax-raising antics,” stated California Republican Party Chairman Jim Brulte. “We call upon the Secretary of State to certify the recall so that voters can finally have their say at the ballot box.”

Ever since SD 29 voters filed a petition to recall Senator Newman this Spring, Sacramento Democrats have gone out of their way to undermine and upend the electoral process.

In a cynically corrupt attempt to shield Senator Newman from the impending recall, Democrats in the Legislature scrambled to pass Senate Bill 96—a gut and amend bill that would needlessly extend the state’s recall approval process—denying voters in SD 29 the due process of a speedy election. In response, SD 29 voters joined with the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and sued to stop the implementation of SB 96. In a win for the recall proponents, the courts granted their request earlier this week.

In a move to further bolster Newman’s chances of surviving the recall, Senate Democrats last month filed a motion with the supposedly non-partisan political watchdog, the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), to lift the contribution limits for Newman’s recall campaign. Going against the recommendation of its legal counsel, the FPPC approved the Democrats’ request earlier this week. Newman’s colleagues in the Legislature will now be allowed to raise and contribute large sums of cash to Newman by using their committees to funnel money from special interests. To add insult to injury, it was reported that one of the FPPC commissioners had held several conversations with the Senate Democrats’ attorney prior to the ruling, calling into question the objectivity of the Commissioner.

“Make no mistake about it, the Democratic supermajority and the special interests who benefit from it will continue to fight dirty. They have all the money in the world, the power to change laws at will, and a direct interest in ensuring that Newman keeps his seat,” stated Brulte. “It’s despicable that the Democrat Party is pulling out so many stops to prevent voters from having their say. It’s really no wonder that voters are so cynical these days.”

Once the Secretary of State certifies the sufficiency of the recall petition, the Governor must order an election for SD 29.


Posted in 29th Senate District | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

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:



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

SD 29: Mayor Whitaker Enters Race to Replace Senator Newman

Posted by Chris Nguyen on July 10, 2017

Mayor Bruce Whitaker (R-Fullerton)

Mayor Bruce Whitaker

Cross-posted to OC Daily

First reported by Jon Fleischman at the FlashReport on Saturday night, Fullerton Mayor Bruce Whitaker has become the first candidate to announce his entry into the race to replace Senator Josh Newman if Newman is recalled in the 29th Senate District.

The 29th Senate District recall election has centered on Senator Newman’s vote for the unpopular gas tax (58% of voters in a statewide UC Berkeley poll oppose the gas tax increase, and the percentage is likely higher in SD-29, as that district is more conservative than the state as a whole).  Whitaker is well-versed in recall elections and anti-tax battles, having helped lead a City Council recall and multiple efforts to repeal/defeat taxes, as his campaign biography notes:

Bruce began an intense and prolonged foray into political activism in 1992 when he became incensed at the largest federal tax increase in U.S. history during the George H.W. Bush administration, and the largest state tax increase in California’s history under Governor Pete Wilson. He became active in his own city of Fullerton in 1993 when he led — as a proponent and treasurer — a successful effort to recall a majority of the City Council and repeal unnecessary utility taxes. That accomplishment has saved more than $170 million for residents and businesses of Fullerton to date.

On the heels of the Fullerton recalls, the Orange County bankruptcy erupted in December of 1994. At that time it was the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history. As the chief spokesman of the Committees of Correspondence of Orange County, Bruce debated Sheriff Brad Gates, county CEO William Popejoy, Chapman University president James Doti and others and authored many guest editorials which helped to defeat Measure R, the bankruptcy sales tax.  The defeat of that tax has resulted in more than $2.8 billion in taxpayer savings since 1995.

Bruce Whitaker founded the Fullerton Association of Concerned Taxpayers in 1996. He was president for eight years, following which FACT successfully brought suit against the Gray Davis administration for an unconstitutional $12.7 billion bond offering.

When Governor Davis was recalled from office, the Schwarzenegger administration and the Legislature attempted to pass a $2 billion pension obligation bond which also lacked voter approval. FACT and the Pacific Legal Foundation brought suit and won in both Sacramento Superior Court and the State Court of Appeals. 

Whitaker was first elected to the Fullerton City Council in 2010 and re-elected in 2012 and 2016.  In the citywide at-large vote, Whitaker came in first twice and second once in these three successful bids for council.

Whitaker also has name ID in other parts of SD-29, having been elected to the Republican Central Committee representing the old 72nd Assembly District in 1996 and re-elected in 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2010, before deciding not to run for re-election in 2012.  He was also the top vote-getter four times.  He came in second once, coming just 20 votes shy of first place in the race in which the top six places were elected.

Fleischman wrote:

Whitaker, a constitutional conservative, has been elected three times to the Fullerton City Council. Fullerton is the largest city completely within the boundaries of the 29th State Senate District.

Whitaker told me that, “Residents and taxpayers deserve respect from elected legislators. Senator Newman’s voting record proves that he does not reflect the values of this District.” He added, “Southern California needs strong leadership in Sacramento to protect and secure our rights, such as the right to vote on taxes. My record reflects that I’ve long been a passionate advocate for freedom, property rights, justice and fiscal responsibility.”

I was last with Bruce a few weeks at at a gas station on Harbor Boulevard where a massive effort took place to gather signatures for the recall of Newman. Whitaker appeared on the John and Ken Show, which broadcast their show live from that location.

Read the rest on the FlashReport…

In addition to his name ID from being elected to the City Council and the Central Committee, Whitaker may also have benefit from voters remembering the name of OC GOP Chairman Fred Whitaker, who has also been active in the recall.

Fullerton is the second-largest city in the district, behind only the portion of Anaheim in SD-29, but historically, Fullerton has produced the most voters in primary and special elections (which the SD-29 recall would be), as the SD-29 parts Anaheim has lower-propensity voters (Anaheim is split among three Senate districts, with voter-rich Anaheim Hills sitting in SD-37, represented by Republican Senator John Moorlach of Costa Mesa; the remainder of Anaheim is in SD-34, represented by Republican Senator Janet Nguyen of Garden Grove).

Posted in 29th Senate District, Fullerton | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

CRP: 84,988 Signatures Submitted to Recall State Senator Josh Newman

Posted by Newsletter Reprint on June 30, 2017

This came over the wire from the California Republican Party on Tuesday…

84,988 Signatures Submitted to Recall State Senator Josh Newman

Today, the California Republican Party (CRP) announced that it has collected and submitted 84,988 signatures in the effort to recall State Senator Josh Newman. The campaign needs at least 63,593 signatures from voters within Senate District 29 by mid-October to qualify the recall for a vote.

“Voters in Senate District 29 have made their opposition to Newman’s vote on the gas tax and car tax increases very clear. The speed with which voters signed the petitions is a testament to the anger they feel towards these tax increases and a fear of what liberal Josh Newman might decide to tax next,” stated California Republican Party Chairman Jim Brulte.

In a cynically corrupt attempt to shield Senator Newman from the impending recall, Democrats in the Legislature scrambled to pass Senate Bill 96, a gut and amend bill that would needlessly extend the state’s recall approval process, denying voters in Senate District 29 the due process of a speedy election.

“It is a clear abuse of power for the same legislators who voted for a wildly unpopular gas tax to now change the rules applying to recall elections in order to protect their colleague form the voters of his community,” stated Brulte. “The Democrats’ attempt to quell the movement by retroactively changing the rules is pure political gamesmanship and completely undermines our democratic process.”

In light of the legislative tomfoolery the CRP will continue to circulate recall petitions and turn in signatures to ensure all voters who desire to sign have the ability to do so.


Posted in 29th Senate District, California | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Patricia Bates Becomes 1st CA Senate Republican Leader from South OC

Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 15, 2017

Yesterday afternoon, State Senate Republicans in Sacramento unanimously elected Senator Pat Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) as the new Senate Republican Leader, effective April 12.  Senate Republican Leader Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield) is stepping down as leader since she will term out of the Senate in 2018.

In the caucus statement announcing her election, Bates said, “It is no secret that Republicans face a challenging political environment in California. But Republicans embrace taxpayers who want a more efficient government, parents who want better schools and safer streets, and citizens who want their constitutional freedoms protected. That is a Republican Party that can attract broad support in California, and I will do everything I can as the next leader to spread that message in every part of the state.”

Prior to her election to the Senate in 2014, Bates was an Orange County Supervisor from 2007-2014 (serving as Chair in 2009 and Vice Chair in 2008 and 2013-2014), a State Assemblywoman from 1996-2004, and on the Laguna Niguel City Council from 1989-1998, including serving as the City’s first mayor after leading the city’s incorporation efforts (she would serve four terms as mayor).  A South Orange County resident for 40 years, she worked as a social worker in Los Angeles County before embarking on a political career.  During her tenure in the Legislature, she has served as Vice Chair of the Appropriations Committee in both houses.  She has also been Vice Chair of the Assembly Health Committee and the Senate Business, Professions, and Economic Development Committee.

Bates is the first South Orange County resident to lead a party caucus in the State Legislature.  She is also the first former Orange County Supervisor to serve as a legislative party caucus leader (Bill Campbell was Assembly Republican Leader before he became an Orange County Supervisor.

Serving as the Republican Leader’s chief of staff is not an unfamiliar position for Kevin Bassett, Bates’s chief of staff.  Bassett had been selected for the role in 2010 by new Senate Republican Leader Bob Dutton and continued in that position when Bob Huff became Leader in 2012, departing in December 2014 when he became Bates’s chief of staff.  Bassett had been on the late Senator Dave Cox’s staff for Cox’s entire political career in the Senate, the Assembly, and the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors.  He was Cox’s chief of staff during his entire tenure in the Legislature, including when Cox served as Assembly Republican Leader (2001-2004), and the latter part of his time on the Board of Supervisors.

Fuller is the first woman to head a Senate party caucus while Bates will be the second.  No woman has yet led the Senate Democratic Caucus.  (While Gloria Romero and Ellen Corbett have served as State Senate Majority Leader, from 2005-2008 and 2010-2014, respectively, that position is the second-ranking position in the Democratic Caucus behind the Senate President Pro Tem, who has always been a man.)  Three women have served as Speaker of the State Assembly (Republican-Elected-Speaker-by-Democrats-Until-She-Was-Recalled-by-Orange-County-Voters Doris Allen in 1995, followed by Democrat Karen Bass from 2008-2010 and Democrat Toni Atkins from 2014-2016) and three have served as Assembly Republican Leader (Carol Hallett from 1979-1981, Connie Conway from 2010-2014, and Kristen Olsen from 2014-2016).

Bates is the first Orange County legislator since Senator Bob Huff (Fuller’s predecessor from 2012-2015) to serve as the head of a party caucus in either house of the Legislature and the first Orange County resident to do so since Dick Ackerman was Senate Republican Leader from 2004-2008 (while Huff’s district included Orange County, he is a resident of Los Angeles County).  An Orange County legislator has not served as Assembly Republican Leader since Bill Campbell in 2000-2001 or Speaker of the Assembly since Curt Pringle in 1996.

While multiple Orange County residents have served as Senate Republican Leader, Assembly Republican Leader, and Speaker of the State Assembly in recent times, none has ever served as President Pro Tem of the State Senate.  However, Republican R. B. Carpenter of Los Angeles County represented both LA and Orange Counties when he served as Senate President Pro Tem from 1892-1893.  For Bates to become Senate President Pro Tem, she would need to grow her caucus by 61% or somehow get 30% of the Democratic Caucus to vote for her.

Posted in 36th Senate District, California, State Senate | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Shady, Deceptive Business Practices Dog Senate Candidate Josh Newman

Posted by Chris Nguyen on November 1, 2016

Josh Newman

Senate Candidate Josh Newman

Cross-Posted to OC Daily

To hear 29th State Senate District Candidate Josh Newman tell it, he’s the most misunderstood guy in the world.

A female apparel executive he hounded for dates while working in the San Francisco Mayor’s office apparently misunderstood him.

Tens of thousands of unwilling customers improperly charged on their phone bills with unwanted services by SendMe Inc., his high-tech cellphone ring-tone venture, apparently all misunderstood him.

He says more customers who found their privacy invaded during his tenure as an executive at RealNetworks also apparently misunderstood him.

And San Francisco Mayor Frank Jordan must have misunderstood him when he accused Newman of misappropriating confidential police files and using them in a smear campaign against Jordan.

Is Josh Newman simply misunderstood?

  • A female San Francisco intimate apparel executive didn’t think so, after Newman openly admitted that he forged Mayor Jordan’s signature on the Mayor’s stationery in order to get a date with her while working for Jordan. An associate of the executive circulated the letter without her approval.
  • San Francisco Supervisor (and future Senator) Carole Migden didn’t think so, saying “Josh Newman has left a trail of bloodletting. The phones ring off the hook from allegations from him.”
  • The courts don’t think so. SendMe, Inc. was the defendant in one county-level and six federal lawsuits filed between 2008 and 2014 for so-called “cramming,” a deceptive billing practice of adding charges to customer’s phone bills without their authorization or knowledge. A $63-million settlement resulted. Newman was Senior Vice President of Business Development.
    RealNetworks was the subject of 15 county-level and over 55 federal lawsuits over copyright infringement and interference in customer licensing relationships over DVD movies and songs between 1999 and 2005, resulting in a $20-million settlement. Eventually RealNetworks was forced into involuntary bankruptcy proceedings. Newman was Director of Marketing.
  • Former San Francisco Mayor Frank Jordan didn’t think so, accusing Newman of unethical behavior and possible theft after his resignation.  Jordan referred the matter to the San Francisco District Attorney for further investigation.

The public record suggests that Newman may not be misunderstood at all. Rather, he may have a self-destructive personality that makes him particularly unsuited to hold public office, especially in the California State Senate.

Posted in 29th Senate District | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »