OC Political

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

Posts Tagged ‘Darrell Issa’

OC’s Top 10 Stories From the November 2018 General Election

Posted by Chris Nguyen on November 7, 2018

Here’s a quick look at the top 10 stories of the 2018 general election in Orange County:

  1. OC Congressional Delegation Now Consists of Five Democrats and Two Republicans
    In a political earthquake for Orange County, the 4-3 Republican majority in OC’s Congressional delegation is now a 5-2 Democratic majority.  The three senior members of the delegation are leaving Congress: Dana Rohrabacher (elected 1988), Ed Royce (elected 1992), and Darrell Issa (elected 2000); all three are Republicans and only Royce will be succeeded by a member of his own party.  While Royce and Issa both announced their retirements earlier this year, Rohrabacher has been defeated for re-election by businessman Harley Rouda (D-Laguna Beach).  Royce will be succeeded by former Assemblywoman Young Kim (R-Fullerton) while Issa will be succeeded by Clean Energy Advocate Mike Levin (D-San Juan Capistrano).  While Board of Equalization Member Diane Harkey (R-Dana Point) defeated Levin in Orange County, her undoing was Levin’s strong lead in San Diego County.  The three most senior members of the OC delegation are now Linda Sanchez (elected 2002), Alan Lowenthal (elected 2012), and Mimi Walters (elected 2014).  In a House of Representatives ruled by seniority, the OC delegation is severely lacking in seniority.
  2. Democrats’ Assembly Supermajority Hinges on Whether Matthew Harper Survives
    Orange County’s 5-2 Republican delegation could fall to being a 4-3 Republican delegation if Assemblyman Matthew Harper (R-Huntington Beach) is unable to hold his narrow lead over Small Business Owner Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach).  Harper’s defeat would produce a Democratic supermajority in the State Assembly to go along with the Democratic supermajority in the State Senate (Democrats captured a Republican-held State Senate seat in the Central Valley last night).  Harper leads Petrie-Norris by 672 votes out of 120,164 votes cast, or 0.6%.  Late absentee ballots and provisional ballots have not yet been counted and most certainly could flip the lead.
  3. District Attorney-Elect Todd Spitzer
    For what appears to be the first time in Orange County history, a sitting District Attorney has been defeated for re-election.  20-Year District Attorney Tony Rackauckas (R) has been defeated for re-election by Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer (R).  Spitzer’s election also creates a special election in the Third Supervisorial District.  Spitzer’s victory was so sweeping that he leads in 27 of Orange County’s 34 cities, winning everywhere except Little Saigon and the northern beach cities.
  4. Tim Shaw Leads, But Fourth District Supervisor is Too Close to Call
    La Habra Mayor Tim Shaw (R) leads Fullerton Mayor Doug Chaffee (D) by just 1,610 votes out of 87,404 votes cast.  Chaffee won the Fourth District’s three largest cities, Anaheim, Fullerton, and Buena Park, but Shaw ran up the total in his wins in the three smallest cities, La Habra, Placentia, and Brea, particularly with the landslide in his own city of La Habra.  There are still an enormous number of late absentee ballots and provisional ballots that could still change the result in this seat.
  5. Assemblyman-Elect Tyler Diep
    In the race to succeed Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach), Westminster Councilman Tyler Diep (R) defeated FreeConferenceCall.com CEO Josh Lowenthal (D-Huntington Beach) to retain this Assembly seat for Republicans.  Diep’s concurrent service with Senator Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove) makes California the first state ever with two Vietnamese-Americans serving in the State Legislature at the same time.
  6. Mayor-Elect Harry Sidhu and the New Anaheim Council Majority
    Anaheim voters delivered a new majority on their City Council.  Former Anaheim Councilman Harry Sidhu (R) was elected Mayor of Anaheim last night.  Businessman Trevor O’Neil (R) won the open Council seat in Anaheim Hills.  Former Councilman Jordan Brandman (D) defeated Councilman James Vanderbilt (R) in West Anaheim’s District 2 seat.  Councilman Jose Moreno (D) won re-election in Central Anaheim’s District 3 seat.
  7. Newport Beach Ousts Two Incumbents, Ending Council Majority
    While Councilmembers Diane Dixon (R) and Kevin Muldoon (R) won landslide re-elections, Councilman Scott Peotter (R) was defeated by Businesswoman Joy Brenner (R), and Councilman Duffy Duffield (R) is narrowly losing to Businessman Tim Stoaks (R).  With Peotter’s defeat and Duffield’s probable defeat, Newport Beach’s Council majority comes to an end.
  8. Lake Forest Sweep
    In a sweeping rebuke of incivility, Lake Forest voters elected Neeki Moatazedi (R) decisively over Sonny Morper (R) and elected former Councilman Mark Tettemer (R) to oust Mayor Jim Gardner (R) from office.  Moatazedi and Tettemer join Councilman Scott Voigts (R), who was unopposed for re-election when his opponent failed to qualify for the ballot, and Councilman Dwight Robinson (R) in a new 4-1 supermajority of civility.  Just ten months after the recall of Councilman Drew Hamilton (R) in which former Councilman Adam Nick’s allies won a 3-2 majority on the City Council, the voters have not only reversed the Nick majority but reduced down to 1 seat (which will be up for election in 2020).  A key turning point in the campaign came when Nick’s side sent a mailer so disgusting that multiple TV channels covered it, for it was so sexist that it called Moatazedi a “bikini model” and made up three fictional criminal record numbers with a photo of an inmate falsely implying that it was Moatazedi.  That mailer backfired into not only the media coverage but also campaign money and independent expenditures to oust Nick’s allies from the Council.
  9. Irvine’s New Councilmembers
    For the first time in 14 years, no incumbent Irvine Councilmember sought re-election (though Mayor Don Wagner (R) was re-elected last night).  Planning Commissioner Anthony Kuo (R) is the top vote getter while Businesswoman Farrah Khan (D) and Transportation Commissioner Carrie O’Malley (R) are neck-and-neck for the second Council seat, with Khan ahead by 389 votes, or 0.5%.
  10. Santa Ana Councilwoman-Elect Ceci Iglesias
    For the first time in a decade, Santa Ana citizens voted to elect a Republican to their City Council, with School Board Member Ceci Iglesias winning the Ward 6 seat by a decisive margin.  (The last Republican on the Santa Ana Council, Carlos Bustamante, was re-elected in 2008 to a term ending in 2012.)  Iglesias’s election creates a vacancy on the Santa Ana Unified School District Board, which will be filled by appointment.

Honorable Mention

  • There’s a New Sheriff in Town
    While it was widely expected that Undersheriff Don Barnes (R) would be elected Sheriff of Orange County, it’s always a major news story when there’s a new Sheriff.  Barnes decisively defeated Los Angeles County District Attorney Investigator Duke Nguyen (D) with 57% of the vote.

Upcoming News Story Due to Last Night’s Results

  • Race for Third District Supervisor
    With the election of Supervisor Todd Spitzer as District Attorney of Orange County, an early 2019 special election will take place to fill the remaining two years on Spitzer’s Supervisorial term.  Retiring Anaheim Councilwoman Kris Murray (R) and Businessman Andy Thorburn (D) have already announced for Spitzer’s Supervisorial seat.  Thorburn spent millions in his unsuccessful bid in the primary election for the 39th Congressional District.  Other early rumored candidates include Irvine Mayor Don Wagner (R), former Irvine Mayor Sukhee Kang (D), and Yorba Linda Councilwoman Peggy Huang (R).

(In the interest of full disclosure, Western American, the company that owns OC Political, serves as the political consultants for Sidhu, O’Neil, Voigts, Moatazedi, and Tettemer, as well as doing secondary consultant work for Kuo.  Additionally, this blogger is Spitzer’s alternate on the Central Committee of the Republican Party of Orange County.)

Posted in 39th Congressional District, 45th Congressional District, 48th Congressional District, 49th Congressional District, 4th Supervisorial District, 72nd Assembly District, 74th Assembly District, Anaheim, Irvine, Lake Forest, Newport Beach, Orange County District Attorney's Office, Orange County Sheriff, Santa Ana Unified School District | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

CD-49: Harkey Strong 1st, Dead Heat Between Levin and Jacobs

Posted by Chris Nguyen on June 5, 2018

I’m not listing all 16 candidates, but here are the top five in the 49th Congressional District in the race to succeed Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Vista).

Districtwide Orange San Diego
Diane Harkey (R) 16,471 24.5% 4,869 11,602
Mike Levin (D) 11,189 16.7% 2,933 8,256
Sara Jacobs (D) 10,288 15.3% 1,835 8,453
Doug Applegate (D) 8,956 13.3% 1,196 7,760
Kristin Gaspar (R) 6,311 9.4% 1,056 5,255

Board of Equalization Member Diane Harkey (R-Dana Point) is strong in the returns of the early absentees.  Attorney Mike Levin (D-San Juan Capistrano) and Qualcomm Heiress Sara Jacobs (D-Encinitas) are each running second in their home county and third in the other county.  A Republican-on-Republican general election is unlikely barring a major seachange with poll voters, late absentees, and provisionals.

One item of concern for Republicans: 32,353 early absentee ballots were cast for Republican candidates while 31,705 early absentee ballots were cast for Democratic candidates.

Posted in 49th Congressional District | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

BOE: Mission Viejo Mayor Pro Tem Greg Raths Enters the Race

Posted by Chris Nguyen on February 7, 2018

Mayor Pro Tem Greg Raths (R-Mission Viejo)

Mayor Pro Tem Greg Raths
(R-Mission Viejo)

Mayor Pro Tem Greg Raths (R-Mission Viejo) has entered the race for the State Board of Equalization seat being vacated by BOE Chairwoman Diane Harkey (R-Dana Point), who is not seeking re-election in order to run for the 49th Congressional District seat of retiring Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Vista).  The massive BOE seat includes all of Imperial, Orange, Riverside, and San Diego Counties, with small slivers of San Bernardino County.

Raths join a race that already includes State Senator Joel Anderson (R-Alpine), former Assemblyman Ken Lopez-Maddox (D-Dana Point), former Councilman John F. Kelley (R-Tustin), and Board of Equalization employee David Dodson (D-Dana Point).  Orange County Water District Director and former City Councilman Denis Bilodeau (R-Orange) is exploring his candidacy for the seat.  Orange County Taxpayers Association President and CEO Carolyn Cavecche (R-Orange) ruled out running shortly before Senator Anderson entered the race.  (Here’s OC Political’s coverage of Anderson and Lopez-Maddox entering the BOE race, along with Lopez-Maddox’s unexpected party switch.  Here’s OC Political’s coverage of Bilodeau and Cavecche’s explorations of the BOE race that also discusses Kelley.)

Raths first ran for elected office in 2014 when he ran for the 45th Congressional District after Congressman John Campbell (R-Irvine) announced his retirement.  State Senator Mimi Walters (R-Irvine) won 45% of the vote in the top-two primary, with Drew Leavens (D-Poway) winning 28%, Raths 24%, and Al Salehi (NPP-Buena Park) 3%.  Since he did not make it to the general election for the Congressional seat, Raths was able to run for Mission Viejo City Council, in which the retired Marine Colonel was the top vote-getter in a race that saw two incumbent Councilmembers defeated.

In 2016, first-term Councilman Raths challenged first-term Congresswoman Walters’s re-election bid.  Walters won 41% of the vote in the top-two primary, with Ron Varasteh (D-Irvine) winning 28%, Raths 19%, and Max Gouron (D-Tustin) 12%.

Posted in Board of Equalization, Mission Viejo | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

BOE: Senator Anderson Enters the Race While Lopez-Maddox Enters as a Democrat

Posted by Chris Nguyen on January 23, 2018

Joel Anderson

Senator Joel Anderson (R-Alpine)

State Senator Joel Anderson (R-Alpine) has entered the race for Board of Equalization to succeed Diane Harkey (R-Dana Point), who is running for the 49th Congressional District seat after Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Vista) announced his decision not to seek re-election.  Anderson seeks to be the first San Diego County resident to win the BOE seat since Ernest Dronenburg termed out twenty years ago.

First elected to the Padre Dam Municipal Water District in 2002, Anderson was elected to the State Assembly in 2006 and re-elected in 2008.  He won a 2010 bid for the State Senate and was re-elected in 2014.  Anderson raised $332,000 for Assembly in 2006 and $466,000 for his 2008 re-election.  He raised $779,000 for his initial Senate election in 2010 and $200,000 in his re-election in 2014.

Anderson narrowly won a five-candidate Republican primary for Assembly in 2006, defeating Santee Councilman Jack Dale by just 858 votes.  He won a four-candidate Republican primary for Senate in 2010, defeating Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone by 14%.

Former Assemblyman Ken Lopez-Maddox also entered the race, but oddly did so as a Democrat, a party he only recently joined.  First elected to the Garden Grove City Council in 1996, he was elected to the State Assembly in 1998 and was re-elected in 2000 and 2002 before losing the 2004 Republican primary for State Senate to John Campbell 60%-30% (a third candidate got 9%).  He moved to South County and then won a seat on the Capistrano Unified School District during a 2008 recall election but would be recalled himself in 2010, as the CUSD majority flipped back and forth.  In 2014, he was preparing for a bid for Orange County Public Administrator, but then the Board of Supervisors consolidated the position into the office of Orange County District Attorney-Public Administrator.  Instead, his wife, Monica, then ran for Clerk-Recorder, coming in second in a four-candidate field, winning 18% of the vote to Hugh Nguyen‘s 61%.  One week after his wife’s defeat for Clerk-Recorder, Ken Lopez-Maddox left the Republican Party.  He was registered as No Party Preference from then until becoming a Democrat in recent days.

Posted in Board of Equalization | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

CD-49: San Diego County Supervisor Kristin Gaspar Enters the Race

Posted by Chris Nguyen on January 22, 2018

Kristin Gaspar

San Diego County Supervisor
Kristin Gaspar (R-Encinitas)

Today, San Diego County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Kristin Gaspar (R-Encinitas) filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to run for the 49th Congressional District being vacated by the retiring Darrell Issa (R-Vista).  She is the fifth Republican to enter the race since Issa announced his retirement less than 2 weeks ago.  She joins a Republican field led by State Board of Equalization Chairwoman Diane Harkey (R-Dana Point), Assemblyman Rocky Chavez (R-Oceanside), Councilman Brian Maryott (R-San Juan Capistrano), and attorney Joshua Schoonover (R-San Marcos).  Gaspar’s entry now means there are five Republicans and four Democrats in the race for CD-49, making a traditional Republican vs. Democrat contest in November a near-certainty in CD-49.  Gaspar, Harkey, Chavez, and Maryott live in the 49th Congressional District.  Schoonover lives in the 50th Congressional District.

Gaspar has had a meteoric rise in San Diego County politics, having been first elected to the Encinitas City Council in 2010 at the age of 30.  Instead of seeking a second term on the City Council, she was elected Mayor of Encinitas in 2014.  Instead of seeking a second term as Mayor, she was elected to the San Diego County Board of Supervisors in 2016, defeating incumbent Dave Roberts (D-Solana Beach).  Earlier this month, she became Chairwoman of the Board of Supervisors.

As the Third District Supervisor, Gaspar represents 65,000 (17%) of the 391,000 registered voters in CD-49.  She raised $470,000 in her race for Supervisor in 2016 and loaned herself an additional $40,000.  San Diego County had a rather low campaign contribution limit of $750 during her Supervisorial bid in 2016; it has since been raised to $800.  In her race for Mayor in 2014, she raised $24,000 and loaned herself an additional $5,000.  In her 2010 City Council race, she raised $23,000 and loaned herself an additional $17,000.

While Harkey and Chavez are giving up their re-election bids in order to run for CD-49 since both their seats are up for election in 2018, Gaspar’s Supervisorial seat and Maryott’s Council seat is not up until 2020.  If Gaspar won the Congressional seat, there would be a special election in 2019 to fill her Supervisorial seat.  If Maryott won the Congressional seat, his City Council seat would fall vacant and the Council would either appoint his replacement or hold a special election.  None of the Democrats currently hold elected office.

Posted in 49th Congressional District | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

CD-49: SJC Councilman Brian Maryott Enters Congressional Race 13 Months After First Election to Office

Posted by Chris Nguyen on January 18, 2018

Councilman Brian Maryott

Councilman Brian Maryott (R-San Juan Capistrano)

Just 13 months after his first election to public office, Councilman Brian Maryott (R-San Juan Capistrano) enters the race to succeed Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Vista) in the 49th Congressional District.  He faces off against State Board of Equalization Chairwoman and former Assemblywoman Diane Harkey (R-Dana Point), Assemblyman Rocky Chavez (R-Oceanside), and attorney Joshua Schoonover (R-San Marcos).  Harkey, Chavez, and Maryott live in the 49th Congressional District.  Schoonover lives in the 50th Congressional District.

First elected in November 2016, Maryott represents the 5th Council District.  San Juan Capistrano has 19,000 of CD-49’s 391,000 voters, or 4.9% of all CD-49 voters.  Maryott’s 5th Council District is home to 5,700 voters, or 1.5% of all CD-49 voters.  Maryott raised no money for his 2016 Council race, instead loaning himself $36,000 in order to win 1,992 votes to be elected to the 5th District seat on the San Juan Capistrano City Council.  He told the San Diego Union-Tribune that he would raise money for CD-49 and would also spend $100,000 of his own money for the seat.

While Harkey and Chavez are giving up their re-election bids in order to run for CD-49 since both their seats are up for election in 2018, Maryott’s Council seat is not up until 2020.  If he won the Congressional seat, his City Council seat would fall vacant and the Council would either appoint his replacement or hold a special election.

Here’s an excerpt of OC Political’s live blog when Maryott appeared before the OC GOP Endorsements Committee during his 2016 Council race:

Brian Maryott has three children and plans to live the rest of his life in San Juan Capistrano. He says there is a poisonous atmosphere on the council. He argues the city is attempting to run a water company with inadequate scale. He is worried about the impending city deficit. He is concerned about sober living homes. He expresses concern about traffic and mobility due to poor decisions by the Council. He says he is self-funding and spending a significant sum. He has 25 years of business experience. He worked in the Massachusetts State House for a legislator who chaired Ways and Means until moving to California 22 years ago.

Ronda Mottl graduated from Indiana University and interned for Dan Quayle. Her father was a Congressman. She interned for the RNC. She was Membership Chair of the OCYR. She worked for coupons.com. She noticed how her water bill is double the price it is in Newport Beach. She agrees that the Council atmosphere is like the Hatfields and McCoys. She has business experience. She opposes continued city operation of water. She opposes widening Ortega Highway.

Night asks about Mottl’s father.

Mottl says her father was a conservative Democrat.

Night asks her about switching from Republican to Democrat in 2008 because of the Great Recession and Sarah Palin’s inexperience. Night points to Palin having more experience than Obama.

Mottl argues Obama had more DC experience than Palin.

Night asks how each candidate could get to three votes in light of the divisive council.

Mottl argues that the Council needs to listen to both sides and make a judgement call, not just automatically vote with one faction on the Council. She expresses concern about city litigation.

Maryott points to his experience in the State House in building bridges between elected officials. He notes there are more than two factions on the Council. He thinks it was a bad decision to go to districts with little pushback. He thinks Councilmembers should listen, learn, and collaborate. He says Commissions are inadequately leveraged.

Huang asks Mottl what her solution to traffic is if she will not expand Ortega Highway.

Mottl wants an east-west arterial highway similar to Antonio in Ladera Ranch.

Maryott argues people need to be able to get to their destinations. He supports stretching the 241 to Cow Camp Rd. He argues only 0.8 miles of Ortega Highway needs to be expanded to match the other ends of that stretch of the highway.

Huang asks if the candidates would tax marijuana locally if Prop 64 passes.

Mottl opposes smoking marijuana in public. She opposes marijuana use in general. She supports a local marijuana tax.

Maryott opposes a local marijuana tax.

Huang called this the most interesting set of applications with party switches. She is concerned that neither has been particularly involved with the party in the last decade.

NEUTRALITY RECOMMENDED FOR SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, DISTRICT 5 BY A 5-0-2 VOTE (Lalloway and Young absent).

Posted in 49th Congressional District, San Juan Capistrano | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

BOE: Cavecche & Bilodeau Exploring Candidacies

Posted by Chris Nguyen on January 12, 2018

Carolyn Cavecche & Denis Bilodeau

Carolyn Cavecche and Denis Bilodeau

With Board of Equalization Chairwoman Diane Harkey (R-Dana Point) ending her BOE re-election bid in order to run for the 49th Congressional District seat after Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Vista) announced his decision not to seek re-election, former and current elected officials across Orange, San Diego, Riverside, and Imperial Counties are contemplating whether to launch bids to replace Harkey in the massive BOE district that covers 1/4 of California’s population.

Multiple sources inform OC Political that Orange County Taxpayers Association President and CEO Carolyn Cavecche (R-Orange) is examining whether she will launch a bid for BOE, the nation’s only elected tax board, since Harkey switched to CD-49.  Cavecche previously won a 2001 special election and 2002 regular election to the Orange City Council and then won three elections for Mayor of Orange in 2006, 2008, and 2010, terming out as Mayor in 2012.  Cavecche would bring a formidable ballot designation of “Taxpayer Association President,” “Taxpayer Association CEO,” or “Taxpayer Advocate.”  Harkey used “Taxpayer Advocate/Assemblywoman” as her ballot designation and defeated former Assemblymembers Van Tran and Shirley Horton.  My long-ago former employer, George Runner, won a hotly-contested BOE race in 2010 with a 10% margin of victory, using “Senator/Taxpayer Advocate” as his ballot designation, defeating Acting Equalization Board Member (and former Assemblywoman) Barbara Alby and former Assemblyman Alan Nakanishi.

Sources have also stated that Orange County Water District Board Member Denis Bilodeau (R-Orange) is pursuing a slate mailer strategy for the BOE race since Harkey switched to CD-49.  Bilodeau won two elections to the Orange City Council in 2006 and 2010, terming out of the Council in 2014.  He also won five elections to represent Orange, Villa Park, and portions of Tustin on the water board in 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016.  Bilodeau is also Orange County Supervisor Shawn Nelson’s Chief of Staff.  Bilodeau is reportedly making slate reservations for BOE, following the strategy that put Businessman/Corporate Controller Claude Parrish into the BOE seat in 1998.  Both of his successors, Michelle Steel and Diane Harkey, also used an aggressive slate strategy.

Former Councilman John F. Kelly (R-Tustin) had pulled papers to run against Harkey.  He won only 11% of the vote when he ran against her in 2014.  A former long-time tobacco shop owner, Kelly does have an odd boost in name ID now, thanks to White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly.  Former Tobacco Shop Owner Kelly served one term on the Tustin City Council from 1986-1990, having been elected to office at the age of 24 and defeated for re-election at the age of 28.  He also made an ill-fated bid for Congress in 1988 for the seat eventually won by Chris Cox (who was succeeded by John Campbell who was succeeded by Mimi Walters).  No word on if Kelly will continue his campaign, now that Harkey is out.

The four most recent people to have held this seat and their current positions are:

Harkey and Steel used the combined ballot designation and slates strategy to win the seat. In 2014, Harkey bought up most of the slates and used a ballot designation of “Taxpayer Advocate/Assemblywoman” to defeat former Assemblymembers Van Tran and Shirley Horton after forcing Senator Mark Wyland out of the race.  In 2006, Steel used a ballot designation of “Equalization Boardmember’s Deputy” and bought up most of the slates to defeat Assemblyman Ray Haynes.

With Cavecche holding down the best ballot designation, if Bilodeau does hoover up all the slates, this will be the most closely-contested BOE race since 1998.  Lacking a great ballot designation in 1998, Parrish bought up every possible slate to defeat the formidable ballot designation of “Equalization Boardmember’s Deputy” Craig Wilson.  Parrish beat Wilson by a tiny margin of 0.7%.

Posted in Board of Equalization, Orange, Orange County Water District | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Total Chaos: Harkey & Chavez Running for CD-49; Nelson, Kim, & Huff Running for CD-39; Who’s Running for BOE & AD-76?

Posted by Chris Nguyen on January 11, 2018

The unexpected announcements in a three-day period by Congressmen Ed Royce (R-Fullerton) and Darrell Issa (R-Vista) that they would not be running for re-election in two of the most hotly-contested Congressional seats in the country set off a game of musical chairs that has unleashed total chaos in the Southern California political world, particularly in Orange County and even in Los Angeles and San Diego Counties.

The Fast and the Furious

In a three-day span, two Congressional races, a Board of Equalization race, an Assembly race, and a supervisorial race were turned upside down.  Former and current elected officials have been switching campaigns faster than the speed of street racers living a quarter-mile at a time.

On Monday, Royce announced he would not be running for re-election in the 39th Congressional District.  The next evening, former Assemblywoman Young Kim (R-Fullerton) entered the CD-39 race the with Royce’s endorsement and dropped out of the race to succeed Fourth District Supervisor Shawn Nelson (R-Fullerton).  Less than 3 hours later, Nelson entered the race for CD-39, abandoning plans to wait for an open judicial seat.  Within 20 minutes of Nelson’s entry, former State Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar) entered the CD-39 race.

On Wednesday, Issa announced he would not be running for re-election in the 49th Congressional District.  Two hours later, Board of Equalization Chairwoman Diane Harkey (R-Dana Point) entered the CD-49 race with the endorsements of both Issa and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield), ending her re-election bid for the State Board of Equalization.  Four hours after Harkey’s entry, Assemblyman Rocky Chavez (R-Oceanside) entered the CD-49 race, ending his re-election bid for the 76th Assembly District.  Inexplicably, both the San Diego Union-Tribune and Los Angeles Times reported that Chavez was the first to enter the race despite Harkey announcing first.

The rapid Royce and Issa retirements set off so many rumors that Congressmen Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach) and Ken Calvert (R-Corona) both felt compelled to issue statements yesterday confirming that they were continuing their re-election campaigns.  Calvert said, “I look forward to campaigning in 2018 to represent the 42nd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives…” (full statement here). Rohrabacher said, “I am unequivocally running for re-election and confident that my views reflect the values and the needs of my constituents here in Orange County…” (full statement here).

The Hunger Games

Kim’s entry into the CD-39 race shook up the 4th Supervisorial District race to succeed Nelson, for she was the candidate with the highest name ID and largest warchest.  Harkey’s entry into the CD-49 race has now created a race for BOE that otherwise would have been a near-certain re-election for her.  Similarly, Chavez’s entry into CD-49 race has now created a race for AD-76 that otherwise would have been a probable re-election for him.

In all of this, it cannot be forgotten: CD-39 and CD-49 are both key swing seats that could help determine party control of the United States House of Representatives.  With that in mind, since the Democratic fields for both districts has stayed steady, we’re focusing on the completely-transformed Republican fields for both districts.

A picture (or flow chart) is worth 1,000 words for the first few days of our local version of The Hunger Games.  There can only be one victor in each seat, as various elected officials hope the odds are ever in their favor:

CD-39/CD-49 Flow Chart

49th Congressional District

I promise: no more gratuitous movie references in this blog post.  In the 49th Congressional District race to succeed Issa:

Board of Equalization Chairwoman Diane Harkey (R-Dana Point) represents all of CD-49, as her massive BOE district includes the entirety of Orange, San Diego, Imperial, and Riverside Counties, as well as portions of San Bernardino County.  She won one election to the Dana Point City Council and then three elections to the State Assembly representing portions of South Orange County and North San Diego County.   Harkey raised $600,000 for her BOE campaign.  She raised $259,000 for her 2012 Assembly re-election, $189,000 in 2010, and $299,000 in 2008.

Assemblyman Rocky Chavez represents 63% of CD-49 voters.  Of the 387,000 registered voters in CD-49, Chavez represents the 244,000 who reside in the AD-76 overlap with CD-49.  He won two elections to the Oceanside City Council and then three elections to the State Assembly representing North San Diego County.  In the most recent election in 2016, he made an awkward bid for US Senate, in which he dropped out live on air on KOGO-AM in the opening minutes of a Republican Senate debate.  He had raised $117,000 for his US Senate campaign.  Chavez raised $198,000 for his 2016 Assembly re-election, $256,000 in 2014, and $258,000 in 2012.

There are currently four Democrats running for CD-49, none of whom hold elected office, and three of whom have raised over $500,000 (and the fourth entered after the last campaign finance reporting period).  If no other Republican enters, and none of the Democrats drop out, it is entirely possible a CD-31 2012 scenario could play out, and we could see Harkey vs. Chavez in the November general election.  (CD-31 was a highly competitive swing seat in 2012, but Congressman Gary Miller and State Senate Republican Leader Bob Dutton faced off in the general election because four Democrats split the vote, allowing Miller and Dutton to slip into the top two spots.)

39th Congressional District

Here are excerpts of OC Political’s analysis from Tuesday in relation to Nelson, Huff, and Kim before their entries into the 39th Congressional District race to succeed Royce:

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.

Former State Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff represented 71% of CD-39 voters, with 262,000 of the 367,000 CD-39 voters residing in SD-29, which Huff termed out of in 2016.  Huff won three elections to the Diamond Bar City Council, two to the State Assembly, and two to the State Senate.  Diamond Bar is the largest LA County city in CD-39.  Though he lost his bid for the LA County Board of Supervisors, there are less than 200 voters who are in the overlap between CD-39 and that supervisorial district.  As a former Senate Republican Leader, he’s certainly capable of raising funds for this seat.

Former Assemblywoman Young Kim represented 35% of CD-39 voters, with 95,000 of the 367,000 CD-39 voters residing in AD-65.  However, Kim also holds the unique distinction of having worked for Royce for nearly 20 years before her election to the Assembly.  She had been his Director of Community Relations and Asian Affairs.  In 2014, Kim defeated Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva’s re-election bid, but in 2016, Quirk-Silva avenged herself by defeating Kim’s re-election bid.  Kim is certainly familiar with what a swing seat campaign entails, with her sheer number of volunteers and staff.  She raised $2 million in each of her two Assembly campaigns.  Kim is currently in the midst of her bid to replace the termed out Nelson to represent the Fourth District on the Board of Supervisors.  If Kim switched to the Congressional race, it would leave La Habra Mayor Tim Shaw the sole Republican candidate facing off against Democrat Joe Kerr, a former long-time firefighters’ union president, for Supervisor (other Democrats running for the seat would presumably be eliminated by the voters in the June primary).

At the moment, there are six Democrats and two independents (though a seventh Democrat is reportedly looking at the seat).  Five of the Democrats have raised over $100,000 (one has hit $400,000), and four of them have self-funded in amounts ranging from $111,000-$2,000,000.  A CD-31 2012 scenario is tougher here than in CD-49 (though not out of the question) with three Republicans, six or seven Democrats, and two independents.  However, if one of the three Republicans drops out, a CD-31 2012 scenario becomes much more likely with that large Democratic Party field.

Board of Equalization

Lost in the Congressional races has been the fact that the Board of Equalization race is now wide open since Harkey will be running for CD-49 rather than seeking re-election.

Former Councilman John F. Kelly (R-Tustin) had pulled papers to run against Harkey.  He won only 11% of the vote when he ran against her in 2014.  A former long-time tobacco shop owner, Kelly does have an odd boost in name ID now, thanks to White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly.  Former Tobacco Shop Owner Kelly served one term on the Tustin City Council from 1986-1990, having been elected to office at the age of 24 and defeated for re-election at the age of 28.  He also made an ill-fated bid for Congress in 1988 for the seat eventually won by Chris Cox (who was succeeded by John Campbell who was succeeded by Mimi Walters).  No word on if Kelly will continue his campaign, now that Harkey is out.

Sources have stated that Orange County Water District Board Member Denis Bilodeau (R-Orange) is examining whether he will enter the BOE race since Harkey switched to CD-49.  Bilodeau won two elections to the Orange City Council, serving from 2006 to 2014, when he termed out.  He also won five elections to represent Orange, Villa Park, and portions of Tustin on the water board.  Bilodeau is also Shawn Nelson’s Chief of Staff at the Orange County Board of Supervisors.

76th Assembly District

Oceanside Councilman Jerry Kern was running for AD-76 in 2016 until withdrawing when Chavez dropped out of the US Senate race.  Kern is currently running for San Diego County Supervisor in the Fifth District but sources indicate he is preparing to switch back to AD-76 in 2018 since Chavez is now running for CD-49.  Kern had raised $184,000 for AD-76 in 2016 until Chavez’s return forced Kern out of the race.

Strangely, no Democrat has ever run for AD-76 since the implementation of the top two primary.  Chavez has only run against other Republicans for Assembly.

Posted in 39th Congressional District, 49th Congressional District, 4th Supervisorial District, Board of Equalization | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

OC GOP Endorsements for the June Primary

Posted by Chris Nguyen on January 19, 2016

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After last night’s Central Committee meeting, several readers asked for the list of candidates endorsed by the Republican Party of Orange County for the June Primary Election, so here it is:

At the February Central Committee meeting, it is widely expected that the Republican Party of Orange County will endorse Ed Royce for the 39th Congressional District and Travis Allen for the 72nd Assembly District.

Posted in 1st Supervisorial District, 29th Senate District, 37th Senate District, 39th Congressional District, 3rd Supervisorial District, 45th Congressional District, 48th Congressional District, 49th Congressional District, 65th Assembly District, 73rd Assembly District, 74th Assembly District, Orange County Board of Education | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Live from OC GOP Central Committee: Moorlach vs. Wagner and Other Endorsements

Posted by Chris Nguyen on January 18, 2016

wpid-ocgop-logo-1_400x400.jpgWe 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.

Posted in 1st Supervisorial District, 29th Senate District, 37th Senate District, 3rd Supervisorial District, 45th Congressional District, 48th Congressional District, 49th Congressional District, 65th Assembly District, 73rd Assembly District, 74th Assembly District, Orange County Board of Education, Orange Unified School District | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »