OC Political

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

Posts Tagged ‘Janet Nguyen’

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 »

An Open Letter to Walter Myers on Scott Baugh’s Run for the 48th Congressional District

Posted by Mark Bucher on March 23, 2018

Walter,

I read your post about feeling slighted by Scott Baugh as Chairman of the Orange County Republican Central Committee when you were not chosen as the replacement for Jack Anderson (not John Williams), who resigned from the Committee because he was moving. You and I recall these events very differently. I remember well that you were upset, but Chairman Baugh had little involvement in that event. And it was not, as you claim, driven by race, racial insensitivity, or anything else about you personally.

When a Central Committee member resigns, the by-laws of the Central Committee require the remaining five members of that district (in this case, Jon Fleischman, Marcia Gilchrist, Tony Beall, Todd Spitzer and me) to select and recommend a replacement. After Mr. Anderson notified us that he was resigning, a fellow Central Committee member recruited Greg Woodard to replace Mr. Anderson and lobbied for him to be appointed.

The decision regarding whom to recommend was‬ not made in a vacuum – these were tumultuous times‬ on the Central Committee. As treasurer, I had been falsely accused of committing financial crimes involving the Party’s books by Francis Akhavi and others who were supported by her. (We now know why she was convinced I was cooking the books – Akhavi recently went to prison for stealing and keeping separate books. That irony is rich.) At the time, Jon Fleischman and I, and others in our assembly district caucus, wanted to make sure the replacement was somebody we knew and was not part of Akhavi’s scheme. We knew Mr. Woodard well, and simply did not know for sure where you stood. It is as simple as that. I do not recall then Chairman Baugh playing any substantial part in the decision. In fact, Mr. Woodard will confirm for you that he never even met Chairman Baugh until after he was sworn in as a new member. Nonetheless, Chairman Baugh followed the by-laws and put our recommendation to a vote of the entire Central Committee for approval.

Walter, if there is anyone you should be upset about for not being appointed to the Central Committee, it is Jon Fleishman and me, or even the entire Central Committee who voted for Mr. Woodard instead of you. But it is simply wrong for you to claim these circumstances constitute ethnic insensitively by Chairman Baugh.

With respect to your other claims that Chairman Baugh had no interest in minority outreach or is ethnically insensitive, nothing could be further from the truth. On many occasions Chairman Baugh championed ethnic outreach, including recruitment of candidates reflecting the great ethnic diversity of Orange County. He has been a fierce supporter of then Supervisor and now Senator Janet Nguyen, and stood up to powerful elements within the party to do so. He recruited and was an early supporter of Assemblywoman Young Kim, helped elect Michelle Steel and held her first fundraiser at his home when she was running for Supervisor, and led the Central Committee to an early endorsement of Andrew Do that helped lead to his election. In Santa Ana, Chairman Baugh was a leading advocate for Cecilia Iglesias for the School Board and he personally recruited Maribel Marroquin for the Central Committee in 69th Assembly District. He was also a leading proponent with the Lincoln Club for outreach to Santa Ana with Teresa Hernandez by walking precincts in an off election year to hear the concerns of the residents of Santa Ana, and even led the charge to have two Central Committee members removed who circulated racist materials.

I could go on and on recounting other efforts undertaken by Chairman Baugh, but I think the point is clear – Chairman Baugh was not responsible for you not being on the Central Committee, and has been a champion to be praised and emulated with respect to outreach to minority and ethnic communities.

Walter, you and I are friends, and I sincerely hope you are not offended by what I am saying. I just know for certain that the claims you are making against Scott Baugh are not true, and I felt it is important to set the record straight.

Mark Bucher

Elected Orange County Republican Central Committee Member
Former Treasurer, Orange County Republican Central Committee

Posted in 48th Congressional District, Republican Central Committee | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 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:

RETIRED U.S. ARMY COLONEL & FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR TOM UMBERG ANNOUNCES CANDIDACY FOR STATE SENATE

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: Mayor Whitaker Enters Race to Replace Senator Newman

Posted by Chris Nguyen on July 10, 2017

Mayor Bruce Whitaker (R-Fullerton)

Mayor Bruce Whitaker
(R-Fullerton)

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 »

Are Unions Using Phat Bui as a Decoy for Michele Martinez?

Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 9, 2016

Andrew Do, Michele Martinez, Steve Rocco, and Phat Bui

Supervisor Andrew Do (R-Westminster), Councilwoman Michele Martinez (D-Santa Ana), Steve Rocco (NPP-Santa Ana), and Councilman Phat Bui (R-Garden Grove)

Since I broke the story Friday of Garden Grove Councilman Phat Bui (R) pulling papers for First District Supervisor, I’ve had many people ask why Bui is joining convicted ketchup thief Steve Rocco (NPP) and Santa Ana Councilwoman Michele Martinez (D) in challenging the re-election bid of Supervisor Andrew Do (R).

I have heard lots of different rumors as to why Bui is running, considering he is a Councilman just 15 months into his first term. The most logical conclusion is that labor unions have either put Bui up to this or have tricked Bui into running in order to split the Vietnamese-American vote, the Republican vote, and the Garden Grove vote to force a run-off election between Do and Martinez.

Democrats have been plagued by low voter turnout throughout the presidential primaries and caucuses between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders while Republican voter turnout has been at record levels in nearly every state.

Democrats and labor unions hope forcing Do into a run-off against Martinez will utilize the high presidential general election turnout of Democrats and Latinos to allow Martinez to pull off an upset.  While it is unlikely Martinez would win, this scenario is still the best hope she has of victory.

Bui’s City Council election web site showed only eight endorsements: Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, a labor union, two non-Orange County elected officials, and four private citizens.  With Rackauckas endorsing Do, that only leaves labor in Bui’s corner.

Labor knows they need Martinez in the run-off, and Bui’s entry helps that effort.

It is still possible for Do to break 50% and avert a run-off.  Do likely would have been able to easily do so in a Do-Martinez-Rocco field.  With Bui in the race, Martinez’s supporters can hope Bui can siphon off enough votes to keep Do under 50%.

Bui was probably either promised lots of support that won’t materialize (in which case he was tricked into running) or else told to be a spoiler with the promise of support for something else in the future.

Things tend to go poorly for Vietnamese American elected officials who try to unseat other Vietnamese American elected officials.  For example, eight years ago, Garden Grove Councilwoman Dina Nguyen challenged Supervisor Janet Nguyen’s re-election to this same seat.  Janet Nguyen is now a Senator while Dina Nguyen is now on a water board.

Shunned by the Republican Party and abandoned by labor is not a great spot for any Republican elected official.  This candidacy for Supervisor could lead to being in a no-man’s land, which is not a great place for a newly-elected Councilman.

(Cue my usual Nguyen disclaimer: I am not related to the State Senator Janet Nguyen or Water Board Director Dina Nguyen.  The last name Nguyen is held by 36% of Vietnamese people.)

Posted in 1st Supervisorial District | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

1st District Chaos: Garden Grove Councilman Phat Bui Pulls Papers to Challenge Andrew Do

Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 4, 2016

Andrew Do, Michele Martinez, Steve Rocco, and Phat Bui

Supervisor Andrew Do (R-Westminster), Councilwoman Michele Martinez (D-Santa Ana), Steve Rocco (NPP-Santa Ana), and Councilman Phat Bui (R-Garden Grove)

Garden Grove Councilman Phat Bui (R) has joined convicted ketchup thief Steve Rocco (NPP) in pulling papers to challenge the re-election bid of Supervisor Andrew Do (R).  Additionally, Santa Ana Councilwoman Michele Martinez (D) and the enigmatic Robert Bao Nguyen have also pulled papers to challenge Do’s re-election bid in the First Supervisorial District, which consists of Santa Ana, Garden Grove, Westminster, Midway City, and northern Fountain Valley.

Bui’s entry into the race had been rumored for days, with Bui himself reportedly seeking support for his race in Sacramento on Wednesday despite the Republican Party’s official endorsement of Do’s re-election.

Bui, who was just elected to the Garden Grove City Council just sixteen months ago with labor union support, is the third member of his council to make a bid for higher office in the last fourteen months, joining Mayor Bao Nguyen (D), who is currently running for the 46th Congressional District but trails former Senator Lou Correa (D) badly in polling, and Councilman Chris Phan (R), who made an ill-fated bid for First District Supervisor against Do and Correa, coming in a distant third.

Bui’s home had displayed signs supporting both Correa and Phan in the 2015 special election for Supervisor that Do had won.

By splitting the Vietnamese-American vote, the Republican vote, and the Garden Grove vote, Republican Bui’s entry into the race substantially increases the risk of forcing a Do-Martinez run-off, which many Democrats hope and many Republicans fear will pull resources away from the re-election bid of Assemblywoman Young Kim (R) against former Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D) and the Senate bid of Assemblywoman Ling-Ling Chang (R) against former Irvine Mayor Sukhee Kang (D).

There’s no perfectly analogous race, but these are the four closest I’m aware of:

  • In 2014, there was a five-way race for Auditor-Controller, featuring Orange Treasurer/CPA Eric Woolery (R), Property Tax Director Frank Davies (R), Accountant Mike Dalati (D), Assistant Human Resources Director John Willard (NPP), and Audit Advisor Jim Benuzzi (D).  Woolery won 57%, Davies 17%, Dalati 11%, Willard 7%, and Benuzzi 7%.  Despite not being the incumbent, Woolery managed to avoid a run-off in a five-way race.
  • In 2014, Clerk-Recorder Hugh Nguyen (R) was challenged for re-election by Businesswoman Monica Maddox (R), Capistrano Unified School District Trustee Gary Pritchard (D), and convicted ketchup thief Steve Rocco (NPP).  Nguyen avoided a run-off by winning 61% of the vote to Maddox’s 18%, Pritchard’s 12%, and Rocco’s 8%.
  • In 2010, Public Administrator John Williams (R) was challenged by Superior Court Clerk Colleen Callahan, convicted ketchup thief Steve Rocco (DTS), and Deputy Public Guardian Kevin Vann (D).  Williams avoided a run-off by winning 58% of the vote to Callahan’s 24%, Rocco’s 11%, and Vann’s 7%.
  • In 1998, Supervisor Jim Silva (R) was challenged for re-election by Huntington Beach Councilman Dave Sullivan (R), former Costa Mesa Councilwoman Sandy Genis (R), and a mysterious Ralph Silva.  Jim Silva won 45%, Sullivan 26%, Genis 17%, and Ralph Silva 11%.  In the run-off, Silva defeated Sullivan 56%-44%.

It appears the current Garden Grove Councilmembers are dreaming of replicating the success of their predecessors: in 2012, Phan won the seat that was once held by Do and once held by former State Assemblyman Ken Maddox (R); State Senator Janet Nguyen (R) also previously sat on the Garden Grove City Council (her former seat is now held by Councilman Steve Jones, also a Republican).

Cue my usual Nguyen disclaimer: I am not related to the mysterious Robert Bao Nguyen, Garden Grove Mayor Bao Nguyen, Clerk-Recorder Hugh Nguyen, or State Senator Janet Nguyen.  The last name Nguyen is held by 36% of Vietnamese people.)

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County Board of Ed President Robert Hammond to Kick Off Re-Election Thursday

Posted by Chris Nguyen on January 26, 2016

Orange County Board of Education President Robert M. Hammond is kicking off his re-election on Thursday at 6:00 PM at the Bluewater Grill in Tustin.

Hammond may well be the first person ever whose endorsements include both former Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante (D) and current State Senator John Moorlach (R).  Moorlach’s challenger for re-election to the Senate, Assemblyman Don Wagner (R), has also endorsed Hammond.

Besides Lieutenant Governor Bustamante, Hammond’s endorsements also include the majority of Orange County’s State Senate delegation, State Assembly delegation, Board of Supervisors, and Countywide officeholders.

hammondkickoff

(In the interest of full disclosure, the consulting firm that owns OC Political ran Hammond’s successful 2012 bid for County Board of Education and is running his 2016 re-election bid.)

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A Closer Look at SD-37: Newport-Mesa Delivered Nearly All of Moorlach’s Margin of Victory Over Wagner

Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 23, 2015

The Registrar of Voters certified the 37th Senate District Special Election on Friday night, John Moorlach took the oath of office yesterday afternoon, and he will be on the Senate Floor at his desk for the first time at 2:00 PM today while Don Wagner will be back on the Assembly Floor at 12:00 PM today.

We’ve all seen the official results districtwide, with Moorlach avoiding a runoff by 199 votes:

STATE SENATOR 37th District, Short Term
Completed Precincts: 248 of 248
Vote Count Percentage
JOHN M. W. MOORLACH (REP) 38,125 50.3%
DONALD P. WAGNER (REP) 33,411 44.0%
NAZ NAMAZI (REP) 2,621 3.5%
Louise Stewardson (W) 1,696 2.2%

 

Besides both being conservative Republican legislators from Orange County, there’s something else Moorlach and Wagner have in common: their most recent constituents like them.  In the 37th Senate District special election, Moorlach won the 2nd Supervisorial District while Wagner won the 68th Assembly District.  Turnout in the 2nd Supervisorial District was 16.8% while turnout in the 68th Assembly District was 15.0%.

Winner by City in the 37th Senate District Special Election

Winner by city or unincorporated area in the 37th Senate District Special Election.  (Note: the sizes of their heads have nothing to do with their vote margin in that community, it’s just the geographic size of the community that did it.  Laguna Woods and Laguna Beach are very oddly-shaped cities.)

The 68th, the 2nd, and Neutral Territory

In the 68th Assembly District (Anaheim Hills, Lake Forest, Orange, Tustin, Villa Park, and the northeastern 1/3 of Irvine), Wagner defeated Moorlach by almost the identical percentage (5.3%) that Moorlach beat Wagner overall in the 37th Senate District (6.3%).  (For those who care to an incredible level of detail, the charts are near the bottom of this post.)

In the 2nd Supervisorial District (Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, and Newport Beach), Moorlach beat Wagner by a whopping 20.6%.

In the neutral territory outside the 68th and the 2nd (Laguna Beach, Laguna Woods, and the southwestern 2/3 of Irvine), Wagner defeated Moorlach by a large 18.5% margin.  (To add insult to injury for Naz Namazi, write-in candidate Louise Stewardson beat her in these areas.)  In a testament to how fed up voters were with negative campaigning, it was in these areas where Stewardson and Namazi did the best, getting a combined 8.9% here as opposed to 5.4% in the 2nd and 4.5% in the 68th since there was no “favorite son” candidate in these areas.

Moorlach’s Newport Beach-Costa Mesa Landslide

Moorlach’s margin of victory in his hometown of Costa Mesa was a whopping 25.4% (1,712 votes) and in Newport Beach, it was an even larger 27.9% (2,996 votes).

Costa Mesa and Newport Beach combined to give Moorlach 4,708 more votes than Wagner.  Districtwide, Moorlach defeated Wagner by 4,714 votes.  In other words, without Costa Mesa and Newport Beach, Moorlach would have been ahead of Wagner by just 6 votes, and obviously, there would have been a run-off.

Moorlach also held on to the other 2nd District city, Huntington Beach, by a margin of 7.3% (599 votes).

Moorlach Won Portions of the 68th While Holding All of the 2nd

There were three critical areas where Moorlach broke into Wagner’s home turf: Anaheim Hills, Villa Park, and Silverado.  Had Wagner been able to stop the Moorlach incursion into those three areas of the 68th Assembly District, there would have been a run-off.

The Anaheim Hills votes are interesting in that Moorlach beat Wagner by 76 votes in Anaheim Hills overall, but Wagner beat Moorlach by 7 votes in the 39th Congressional District.  The only portions of the 39th Congressional District that overlap with SD-37 are in Anaheim Hills.  Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait endorsed Moorlach and did a robocall for him.  Congressman Ed Royce endorsed Wagner, did a robocall for him, and was listed on Wagner’s mail as an endorser.

It appears Tait managed to push Anaheim Hills out of the 68th District’s generally pro-Wagner voting pattern, but Royce was able to push his Congressional District back into Wagner’s column.  This war of endorsements from popular elected officials and of campaign mail probably explains why Anaheim Hills was the closest city in the entire district.  (We can rule out most precinct walking operations since the “Hills” name is very, very apt compared to the rest of the relatively flat SD-37.)

Moorlach was endorsed in Villa Park by Mayor Rick Barnett, Councilman Bill Nelson, Councilman Robert Collacott, and former Councilwoman Deborah Pauly.  Wagner was endorsed in Villa Park by Councilman Greg Mills and Councilwoman Diana Fascinelli.  Pauly ran Moorlach’s ground operations, which caused Villa Park to buck the trend of the 68th District backing Wagner.

I have no explanation for Silverado.

Moorlach Won the Liberal Pockets of SD-37

In spite of all the union independent expenditures against Moorlach and/or for Wagner, Moorlach actually won the liberal City of Laguna Beach and the flag-banning precincts of UC Irvine.

Tables Galore

STATE SENATOR 37th District, Short Term
68th Assembly District Precincts
Vote Count Percentage
DONALD P. WAGNER (REP) 17,213 50.4%
JOHN M. W. MOORLACH (REP) 15,418 45.1%
NAZ NAMAZI (REP) 1,192 3.5%
Louise Stewardson (W) 360 1.0%

 

STATE SENATOR 37th District, Short Term
2nd Supervisorial District Precincts
Vote Count Percentage
JOHN M. W. MOORLACH (REP) 15,633 57.6%
DONALD P. WAGNER (REP) 10,030 37.0%
NAZ NAMAZI (REP) 815 3.0%
Louise Stewardson (W) 651 2.4%

 

STATE SENATOR 37th District, Short Term
Excluding 68th Assembly District and 2nd Supervisorial District Precincts
Vote Count Percentage
DONALD P. WAGNER (REP) 7,963 54.8%
JOHN M. W. MOORLACH (REP) 5,279 36.3%
Louise Stewardson (W) 685 4.7%
NAZ NAMAZI (REP) 614 4.2%

 

STATE SENATOR 37th District, Short Term
Costa Mesa Precincts
Vote Count Percentage
JOHN M. W. MOORLACH (REP) 3,979 59.1%
DONALD P. WAGNER (REP) 2,267 33.7%
NAZ NAMAZI (REP) 254 3.8%
Louise Stewardson (W) 234 3.5%

 

STATE SENATOR 37th District, Short Term
Newport Beach Precincts
Vote Count Percentage
JOHN M. W. MOORLACH (REP) 6,651 61.9%
DONALD P. WAGNER (REP) 3,655 34.0%
NAZ NAMAZI (REP) 263 2.4%
Louise Stewardson (W) 177 1.7%

 

STATE SENATOR 37th District, Short Term
Excluding Costa Mesa and Newport Beach Precincts
Vote Count Percentage
JOHN M. W. MOORLACH (REP) 27,495 47.1%
DONALD P. WAGNER (REP) 27,489 47.1%
NAZ NAMAZI (REP) 2,104 3.6%
Louise Stewardson (W) 1,285 2.2%

 

STATE SENATOR 37th District, Short Term
Huntington Beach Precincts
Vote Count Percentage
JOHN M. W. MOORLACH (REP) 4,188 50.6%
DONALD P. WAGNER (REP) 3,589 43.3%
NAZ NAMAZI (REP) 264 3.2%
Louise Stewardson (W) 240 2.9%

 

STATE SENATOR 37th District, Short Term
Anaheim Hills Precincts
Vote Count Percentage
JOHN M. W. MOORLACH (REP) 2,579 48.4%
DONALD P. WAGNER (REP) 2,503 46.9%
NAZ NAMAZI (REP) 205 3.8%
Louise Stewardson (W) 46 0.9%

 

STATE SENATOR 37th District, Short Term
Villa Park Precincts
Vote Count Percentage
JOHN M. W. MOORLACH (REP) 651 60.8%
DONALD P. WAGNER (REP) 396 37.0%
NAZ NAMAZI (REP) 23 2.2%
Louise Stewardson (W) 0 0.0%

 

STATE SENATOR 37th District, Short Term
Silverado Precincts
Vote Count Percentage
JOHN M. W. MOORLACH (REP) 35 58.3%
DONALD P. WAGNER (REP) 21 35.0%
NAZ NAMAZI (REP) 3 5.0%
Louise Stewardson (W) 1 1.7%

 

Random Trivia Not Worth a Separate Post

For anybody wondering, Moorlach will be seated in the front row on the Senate Floor and will be seatmates with Cathleen Galgiani (D-Stockton).  Moorlach will be one of only two Republicans with a Democrat as a seatmate: the other bipartisan pair of seatmates are Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres) and Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo).  Moorlach will be diagonally seated from his old colleague of eight years on the Board of Supervisors, Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove), whose seatmate is their eight-year colleague on the Board of Supervisors, Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel).

Moorlach Seat in the Senate

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Senator-Elect Moorlach’s Lead Shrinks by Insignificant 25 Votes – There Will Be No Run-Off

Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 19, 2015

Senator-Elect John M. W. Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa)

Senator-Elect John M. W. Moorlach
(R-Costa Mesa)

The Registrar of Voters has counted nearly all non-SB 29 ballots.  450 absentee ballots that arrived in the mail on Election Day have been counted, leaving only 100 left.  3,860 absentee ballots dropped off at the polls have been counted, leaving only 96 left.  All 181 Election Day paper ballots cast at the polls have been counted.  The 788 provisional ballots are still out there, so 4,481 ballots were counted in the fifth set of results, and only 984 of the non-SB 29 ballots remain.  2,440 SB 29 ballots arrived yesterday, and while there are still some SB 29 ballots that will arrive today and tomorrow, those will be fewer in number than 2,440.

The fifth results (yesterday’s count) show:

STATE SENATOR 37th District, Short Term
Completed Precincts: 248 of 248
Vote Count Percentage
JOHN M. W. MOORLACH (REP) 36,393 50.3%
DONALD P. WAGNER (REP) 31,870 44.1%
NAZ NAMAZI (REP) 2,490 3.4%
Louise Stewardson (W) 1,589 2.2%

 

In the fifth results, Moorlach gained 2,185 votes, Wagner 1,883, Namazi 131, and Stewardson 221.  Looked at another way, Moorlach gained 2,185 votes (49.4%) while the other three won 2,235 (50.6%).  (61 undervotes/overvotes were counted yesterday, but they don’t count toward the total since they didn’t cast a valid vote.)

In the fourth results (final Election Night count), Moorlach was averting a run-off by 247 votes.  In the fifth results (yesterday’s count), Moorlach is averting a run-off by 222 votes.

So after counting 4,481 ballots yesterday, with 3,424 left, plus the small number of SB 29 ballots that will arrive today and tomorrow, it would take an unusual reversal of fortune for Moorlach for a run-off to occur.  In every iteration of ballot counts, Moorlach has dropped no lower than 49%.  For a run-off to occur, he’d have to drop to 44% or less in the remaining ballots – that’s not going to happen.

OC Political stands by our Election Night projection that there will be no run-off and John Moorlach will succeed Mimi Walters as State Senator for the 37th District.

With Moorlach’s victory, it appears the road to the California State Senate from Orange County runs through the Hall of Administration.  When was the last time an Orange County Supervisor lost a bid for the California State Senate? The last four Supervisors to run for Senate have been successful: Lou Correa in 2006, Patricia Bates and Janet Nguyen in 2014, and John Moorlach in 2015.

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Senator Moorlach

Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 17, 2015

This election is over.  There will be no run-off: former Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach is the California State Senator-Elect for the 37th District, rejoining his former colleagues of eight years, Supervisors-turned-Senators Janet Nguyen and Patricia Bates.

Moorlach wins with 50.4%.

The only remaining ballots are absentee ballots that were returned at the polls, SB 29 ballots (i.e. absentee ballots that will arrive in the mail by Friday), and provisional ballots.  It is highly unlikely there are a large enough number to make a difference.  Additionally, Moorlach seemed to gain ground with later ballots, so in all likelihood, the later ballots will only further cement Moorlach’s victory.

Here are the results after early absentees and all poll votes from 248 precincts were counted:

STATE SENATOR 37th District, Short Term
Completed Precincts: 248 of 248
Vote Count Percentage
JOHN M. W. MOORLACH (REP) 34,208 50.4%
DONALD P. WAGNER (REP) 29,987 44.1%
NAZ NAMAZI (REP) 2,359 3.5%
Louise Stewardson (W) 1,368 2.0%
Senator-Elect John M. W. Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa)

California State Senator-Elect
John M. W. Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa)

 

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