OC Political

A right-of-center blog covering local, statewide, and national politics

Posts Tagged ‘Andrew Sarega’

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 »

Breaking News: Brea Councilman Steve Vargas Enters CD-39 Race

Posted by Chris Nguyen on January 31, 2018

Steve Vargas

Councilman Steve Vargas (R-Brea)

Councilman Steve Vargas (R-Brea) is entering the race for the 39th Congressional District to succeed the retiring Ed Royce (R-Fullerton), becoming the seventh Republican (and fifth current or former elected official) candidate for the seat.  He faces off against Orange County Supervisor Shawn Nelson (R-Fullerton), former Assemblywoman Young Kim (R-Fullerton), former Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar), Councilman Andrew Sarega (R-La Mirada), retired U.S. Navy Commander Mark Gaouette (R-Chino Hills), and perennial candidate John Cullum (R-Placentia).   There are also seven Democrats in the CD-39 race.

With seven candidates from each party, CD-39 is virtually assured a traditional Republican vs. Democrat match-up in November, though candidates can still choose to enter or withdraw until March 14 for CD-39.  (Filing for most Federal, State, and County offices ends March 9, but for those in which a sitting incumbent is neither seeking re-election nor termed out, filing ends March 14. At this point, for seats that cover portions of Orange County, the March 14 deadline appears to apply to CD-39, CD-49, State Treasurer, Board of Equalization, and County Board of Education Trustee Area 5.)

Six of the seven Republicans live in the 39th District.  The sole exception is Sarega, whose entire city of La Mirada is in the 38th District, which is represented by Congresswoman Linda Sanchez (D-Whittier).

As a Brea Councilman, Vargas represents 24,000 of CD-49’s 368,000 voters, or 6.5% of all CD-49 voters.  Currently a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserve, Vargas was first elected to the Brea City Council in 1998.  He was defeated for re-election in 2002.  He subsequently lost bids to the return to the Council in 2006, 2010, and 2012.  In 2014, Brea voters finally returned Vargas to the City Council for a second term.  Vargas’s Council seat is up for election in November, so if he made the top two in the CD-39 race, voters would fill his Council seat in the regular election, but if he failed to make the top two, he could choose to run for re-election to the City Council.

While the City of Brea is small, it has punched above its weight before.  There was a pair of Brea school board members who served together in 1992-1994 when one was finishing up her last two years on the school board while the other was starting his first two years on the school board.  One went on to serve six years on the City Council (1994-2000) while the other went on to serve six years on the Board of Supervisors (1996-2002).  Both went on to serve three terms as Republican members of the State Assembly: Lynn Daucher and Todd Spitzer.

Vargas worked on Spitzer’s Supervisorial staff from 1998-2000.  Vargas lost his 2010 election bid to the City Council by 461 votes to Brett Murdock (D-Brea).  Vargas would return the favor by being one of the three candidates who unseated Mayor Murdock from the Council in 2014.  Murdock is now running for District Attorney against Spitzer and incumbent Tony Rackauckas, whom Vargas has endorsed.

Posted in 39th Congressional District, Brea | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Breaking News: Shawn Nelson to Take on Young Kim for CD-39 Republican Mantle

Posted by Chris Nguyen on January 9, 2018

Cross-posted to OC Daily…

Shawn Nelson

Shawn Nelson

Less than 36 hours after Congressman Ed Royce (R-Fullerton) unexpectedly announced his retirement after 13 terms in Congress, there are now two major Republican candidates to succeed him in the 39th Congressional District: former Assemblywoman Young Kim (R-Fullerton) who announced her bid early tonight and Supervisor Shawn Nelson (R-Fullerton) who announced his bid late tonight to City News Service.

As OC Political noted this morning in our analysis of potential candidates for CD-39:

Supervisor Shawn Nelson represents 45% of the voters of the 39th Congressional District.  Of the 367,000 registered voters in CD-39, Nelson represents 166,000 of them, who reside in the 4th Supervisorial District’s overlap with CD-39.  Nelson has deep roots in the district, having grown up in Fullerton, graduated from high school there, and even graduating from law school there.  He’s also a member of countless civic organizations in CD-39.  Nelson won three elections to the Fullerton City Council and two to the Orange County Board of Supervisors (and raised the necessary money to wage those campaigns).  As it happens, he is termed out from the Board in 2018.

Conventional wisdom would have Republicans coalesce behind one candidate.  However, with the top-two primary, having both Kim and Nelson could work (assuming that obscure La Mirada Councilman Andrew Sarega pulls out and perennial candidate John Cullum does not jump in; I would note La Mirada is not in CD-39).

In CD-31 in 2012, with four Democrats and two Republicans running, the top-two primary allowed Congressman Gary Miller and State Senator Bob Dutton to advance to an all-Republican run-off in a tough swing seat.  In CD-39 in 2018, there are currently six Democrats running.

Posted in 39th Congressional District | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »