OC Political

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Posts Tagged ‘John Moorlach’

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

Posted by Chris Nguyen on February 22, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

SD 29: Mayor Whitaker Enters Race to Replace Senator Newman

Posted by Chris Nguyen on July 10, 2017

Mayor Bruce Whitaker (R-Fullerton)

Mayor Bruce Whitaker

Cross-posted to OC Daily

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fleischman wrote:

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

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

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

Read the rest on the FlashReport…

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

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

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

CRA Endorsements for the June 7 Primary Election

Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 19, 2016

CRA_LogoI live-blogged the Orange County CRA Endorsing Convention in this prior post, but I’ve been asked to put a condensed list of the results of the Orange County CRA Endorsing Convention. So here they are:

  • U.S. Representative, 39th District: Ed Royce
  • U.S. Representative, 45th District: Greg Raths
  • U.S. Representative, 46th District: Bob Peterson
  • U.S. Representative, 47th District: Andy Whallon
  • U.S. Representative, 48th District: Dana Rohrabacher
  • U.S. Representative, 49th District: No Endorsement
  • State Senator, 29th District: No Endorsement
  • State Senator, 37th District: John M.W. Moorlach
  • Member of the State Assembly, 55th District: (Los Angeles County will host this endorsing convention)
  • Member of the State Assembly, 65th District: Young Kim
  • Member of the State Assembly, 68th District: Deborah Pauly
  • Member of the State Assembly, 69th District: Ofelia Velarde-Garcia
  • Member of the State Assembly, 72nd District: No Endorsement
  • Member of the State Assembly, 73rd District: William (Bill) Brough
  • Member of the State Assembly, 74th District: Matthew Harper
  • Orange County Supervisor, 1st District: No Endorsement
  • Orange County Supervisor, 3rd District: Todd Spitzer
  • Orange County Board of Education, Trustee Area 1: Robert M. Hammond
  • Orange County Board of Education, Trustee Area 3: Ken L. Williams, Jr.
  • Orange County Board of Education, Trustee Area 4: Zonya Marcenaro-Townsend
  • Judge of the Superior Court, Office No. 3: Megan L. Wagner
  • Judge of the Superior Court, Office No. 40: No Endorsement
  • Judge of the Superior Court, Office No. 48: Karen Lee Schatzle
  • Judge of the Superior Court, Office No. 49: No Endorsement
  • Central Committee, 65th District: Jerry Jackson, Baron Night, David John Shawver, Alexandria A. “Alex” Coronado, Sou Moua, and Zonya Marcenaro-Townsend
  • Central Committee, 73rd District: Mary Young, Jennifer Beall, Tony Beall, Ed Sachs, Laurie Davies, and Mike Munzing

The individual units in the 55th, 68th, 69th, 72nd, and 74th Districts have not yet decided if they will endorse for those Central Committee races.

Last month, the Statewide CRA endorsed Ted Cruz for President and Tom Del Beccaro for U.S. Senate.

Posted in 1st Supervisorial District, 29th Senate District, 37th Senate District, 39th Congressional District, 3rd Supervisorial District, 45th Congressional District, 46th Congressional District, 47th Congressional District, 48th Congressional District, 49th Congressional District, 65th Assembly District, 68th Assembly District, 69th Assembly District, 72nd Assembly District, 73rd Assembly District, 74th Assembly District, Orange County, Orange County Board of Education, Republican Central Committee | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

SD-37: Moorlach Leads Wagner in Fundraising and Cash on Hand

Posted by Chris Nguyen on February 2, 2016

Senator John M. W. Moorlach and Assemblyman Donald P. Wagner

Senator John M. W. Moorlach and Assemblyman Donald P. Wagner

Well, campaign finance figures for the second half of 2015 are out, and OC Political will be doing our signature in-depth slicing and dicing of campaign finance numbers in the coming days, as we’ve done in prior elections.  First up is the 37th Senate District, where Assemblyman Don Wagner (R-Irvine) is seeking to unseat Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa).

Moorlach surpassed expectations in fundraising, bringing in $128,754 in new contributions in the last six months of 2015.  During the same period, Wagner raised $6,700 in new contributions, with $3,000 coming from Facebook.

Moorlach had $45,765 in expenditures.  Wagner had $29,006 in expenditures, of which $16,500 went to a poll with Competitive Edge Research.  It should be noted Wagner transferred the same amount, $16,500, from his Assembly account to his Senate account on December 23.

Moorlach has $19,772 in unpaid bills, of which $12,350 is owed to Tim Clark, the consultant on his Senate race who is now his chief of staff.  Wagner has no unpaid bills.

Moorlach had $105,225 cash on hand.  However, if he were to pay his unpaid bills, that would leave $85,453 in Moorlach’s cash on hand.  Wagner’s cash on hand at $59,094, assuming he were to transfer his Assembly and Attorney General accounts into his Senate account.  With $85,453, Moorlach’s cash on hand is $26,359 higher than Wagner’s.

For visual learners:

Candidate 6/30/15
Cash Balance
Contributions Transfers In Unpaid
Expenditures Transfers Out Cash on Hand
COH Minus
Unpaid Bills
Moorlach for Senate $22,236 $128,754 $0 $19,772 $45,765 $0 $105,225 $85,453
Wagner for Senate $10,090 $3,750 $16,500 $0 $23,221 $0 $7,119 $7,119
Wagner for Assembly $71,347 $0 $0 $0 $5,785 $16,500 $49,061 $49,061
Wagner for Attorney General $2,980 $2,950 $0 $0 $0 $2,914 $2,914 $2,914
Notes: Figures may be off by one dollar due to rounding.


In fairness to Wagner, he had not yet announced his bid for Senate in 2015.  I can only assume he made the decision after conducting that Competitive Edge Research poll.

Posted in 37th Senate District | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

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.


(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.)

Posted in Orange County Board of Education | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

OC GOP Endorsements for the June Primary

Posted by Chris Nguyen on January 19, 2016


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.


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 »

SD-37: Moorlach vs. Wagner – The Rematch

Posted by Chris Nguyen on January 5, 2016

Senator John M. W. Moorlach and Assemblyman Donald P. Wagner

Senator John M. W. Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) and Assemblyman Donald P. Wagner (R-Irvine)

Rumors had swirled for months that Assemblyman Don Wagner (R-Irvine) would challenge Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) for the 37th Senate District this year.  Former Supervisor Moorlach had defeated Assemblyman Wagner for the seat just ten months ago by a margin of 50.3%-44.0% in the March 2015 special election to complete the unexpired term of State Senator Mimi Walters, who had been elected to the United States House of Representatives.

Wagner has taken a very public step toward challenging Moorlach to a rematch in 2016.  On December 7, Moorlach had submitted his application to the Republican Party of Orange County for an endorsement for re-election for the 37th Senate District. Then, yesterday, January 4, Wagner submitted his application for an OC GOP endorsement for the 37th Senate District.

Both applications will be considered at the OC GOP Central Committee meeting on January 18.  The OC GOP states: “All Republican candidates running for election in [the 37th Senate District] are invited to participate in a candidate forum that will be held during the January Central Committee meeting. The meeting will begin at 7 PM.”

The format will be: “Each candidate will be allowed three (3) minutes to present why they should be endorsed. And, in keeping with tradition, we will allow three speakers in favor and three opposed to speak for one (1) minute. The candidate will be allowed one (1) minute to address any issues raised by opponents of the endorsement.”

Otherwise, it should be a quiet January 18 Central Committee meeting, with Congresswoman Mimi Walters, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, Congressman Darrell Issa, Assemblyman Bill Brough, and Assemblyman Matthew Harper all filed applications for endorsement of their respective re-elections in time for the January 4 application deadline for OC GOP endorsements for partisan seats in the Primary Election. Assemblywoman Ling-Ling Chang‘s bid for the 29th Senate District and Assemblywoman Young Kim‘s bid for re-election were already endorsed in December.

The OC GOP endorsement application deadline for nonpartisan seats in the Primary Election (County Supervisors and County Board of Education Trustees) is January 11, though Supervisor Andrew Do‘s bid for re-election was already endorsed in December.

An incumbent holding partisan office has not been denied the OC GOP endorsement since John Campbell fell one vote short of the 2/3 needed for an endorsement when John Webb challenged him (two of OC Political’s earliest posts).

In the March 2015 special election for the 37th Senate District, Wagner spent $493,000 while Moorlach spent $276,000.  Despite this significant funding differential of nearly 2:1, Moorlach still won the Senate seat.

As of the June 30 campaign finance reports, Moorlach had $31,299.92 in cash-on-hand across two committees (Moorlach for Senate 2015 and Moorlach for Senate 2016) while Wagner had $84,416.71 cash-on-hand across three committees (Wagner for Senate 2016, Wagner for Assembly 2014, Wagner for Attorney General 2018).

Presumably, Democrat Louise Stewardson, who ran as a write-in candidate in March 2015 will file for the ballot in June 2016.

No word on if the hilarious Naz Namazi, “Naz, N-A-Z, Naz…a legal immigrant,” will be running again to challenge “a liar and a hypocrite” for this seat.

Winner by City in the 37th Senate District Special Election

The ever-popular “Winner by city or unincorporated area in the 37th Senate District Special Election” map.  See this map in its original glory here. (Note: the sizes of Moorlach’s and Wagner’s 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.)

Posted in 37th Senate District, Republican Central Committee | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Four Qualify for Special Election for North Orange County Community College District

Posted by Chris Nguyen on November 16, 2015

Filing has closed for the North Orange County Community College District Special Election to fill the vacancy left when Area 3 Trustee Donna Miller (D) resigned on June 30 just seven months after being re-elected to a four-year term.  Miller had been on the Board for nearly 19 years.

Four people took out papers to run for the seat, and all four returned them and qualified for the ballot.  In alphabetical order, they are (with their party affiliation and ballot designation):

  • Daniel D. Billings (NPP), Contract Manager
  • Stephen T. Blount (R), Member, Cypress School District Board of Trustees
  • Steve Hwangbo (R), Orange County Businessman/Councilmember
  • Alan ‘Al’ Salehi (NPP), Trustee, Buena Park Library District

Exact ballot order will be determined by a lottery by the Secretary of State later this morning.

Daniel D. Billings

Married to a high school science teacher, Billings works for Southern California Edison. He was the appointee to the seat until Salehi overturned his appointment by petition.  A graduate of Fullerton College, he earned degrees from Whittier College and Azusa Pacific University; he also obtained a certificate at UCI.

Billings does not list any endorsements but does note his unanimous appointment by the NOCCCD Board.

Stephen T. Blount

A member of the Cypress School Board since 2010, Blount is a corporate controller.  He was a Democrat until 2014, when he reregistered as a Republican.  He was the Democrats’ nominee for the 67th Assembly District against Assemblyman Jim Silva (R) in 2008.  Holding a certificate from Cypress College, he earned degrees from Biola University and Azusa Pacific University.

He notes endorsements from Coast Community College District Trustee Jim Moreno (D) and Centralia School District Board President Steve Harris (NPP).  Oddly, he also notes endorsements from several appointed staff: Cypress School District Superintendent.  Normally, staff do not endorse in political races because of the neutral position their offices are supposed to hold.

Blount has endorsed Democrat Sharon Quirk-Silva’s bid to unseat Republican Assemblywoman Young Kim.

Steve Hwangbo

A La Palma City Councilman since 2010, Hwangbo is a businessman and engineer.  He was the top vote-getter in his 2014 re-election, coming in more than 13% ahead of the second vote-getter.  A community college graduate, he earned a degree at UCLA before going on to USC.

A longtime Republican, he notes endorsements from Senator Bob Huff, Senator John Moorlach, Supervisor Shawn Nelson, and Supervisor Michelle Steel.

How This Special Election Got Started & Info on Alan ‘Al’ Salehi

NOCCCD Trustee Area 3 consists of the entire City of La Palma, most of the City of Buena Park, the City of Cypress north of Orange Avenue, and two portions of Anaheim (one north of Ball Road and west of Beach Boulevard; the other north of La Palma Avenue and west of Magnolia Avenue).

Five people applied to fill the vacancy in Trustee Area 3.  In four rounds of voting on August 25:

  • In the first round of voting, the trustees voted: 3 votes for George O’Hara (R), 2 votes for Daniel Billings (NPP), and 1 vote for Jon Hultman (R).
  • In the second and third rounds, George O’Hara and Daniel Billings each got 3 votes.
  • In the fourth round, the NOCCCD trustees voted to appoint Daniel Billings.

Billings was to hold the seat until November 2016, when the seat would be up for a two-year short-term election.  The seat would then resume a regular four-year term in the November 2018 election.

However, Salehi, who the trustees did not support, then used Education Code 5091 and hired petition circulators to get signatures from 1.5% of registered voters within 30 days of the appointment, which invalidated the appointment (removing Billings from office) and triggered a special election.  (1.5% of registered voters in NOCCCD Trustee Area 3 is 799 valid signatures.)

Salehi is a colorful figure:

  • Last month, the Orange County Register reported that the Orange County Registrar of Voters successfully sued Salehi for $4,248 for not paying for his candidate statement in 2014.
  • The Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot reported that Salehi pulled papers for Laguna Beach City Council and Laguna Beach Unified School District in 2010, but on the last day of filing, he registered to vote in Buena Park and filed to run for the Buena Park Library District, where he realized he would be unopposed, as the second candidate to file for two seats.
  • Salehi has made no fewer than 8 unsuccessful bids for elected office:
    • 1996: Laguna Beach Unified School District (winning 11% and coming in last)
    • 1998: Laguna Beach Unified School District (winning 5.7% and coming in sixth out of seven)
    • 2000: Laguna Beach Unified School District (winning 6.5% and coming in last)
    • 2004: Irvine Unified School District (winning 4.8% of the vote and coming in seventh out of eight)
    • 2010: United States Senate (winning 27% of the American Independent Party vote and coming in last in the AIP primary)
    • 2012: Buena Park City Council (winning 9.5% of the vote and coming in fourth out of eight)
    • 2014: United States Congress, 45th District (winning 2.6% of the vote and coming in last)
    • 2014: Buena Park City Council (winning 12.1% of the vote and coming in fourth out of eight)

Posted in North Orange County Community College District | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

SD-37 Shocker: Naz Namazi Won a Precinct

Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 25, 2015

Naz Namazi Won a Precinct!While reviewing the 37th Senate District special election results for my post Monday breaking down who won which areas of SD-37, I was shocked to see that Naz Namazi won a precinct.

Special Election Precinct 71903, known as Precinct 71362 in regular elections, consists of 15 registered voters in 11 homes (actually, they’re in 10 homes, as the residents of one of the homes in the precinct are not registered to vote) on the 13000 and 13100 blocks of Marshall Lane in the City of Tustin.  There are 9 Republicans (60%), 3 NPPs (20%), 2 Democrats (13%), and 1 AIP (7%).

Of those 15 voters, 4 turned out to vote (27%), so Precinct 71903 had the 11th-highest voter turnout percentage of the 248 precincts in SD-37 for this special election.

Of the 4 voters, a stunning 2 voted for Naz Namazi, 1 voted for Don Wagner, and the fourth registered as an undervote.  Neither John Moorlach nor Louise Stewardson won any votes in this precinct.

Perhaps they found Namazi’s robocall to be persuasive.  As readers may recall from my earlier post on the robocall, the robocall said:

I’m Naz, N-A-Z, Naz, and I’m running against two men: a liar and a hypocrite.

I am a legal immigrant who’s lived in Orange County for 33 years and graduated from UC Irvine.

I’m Naz, and of course, I approved this message. VoteNaz.org. Vote honesty. Vote Naz.

They are one of only two precincts that overlap the City of Tustin and the Orange Unified School District.  What makes them different from that other Tustin-OUSD precinct is they are part of the East Orange County Water District; the other one is not.

In the 2012 presidential election, this precinct voted 6-3 for Mitt Romney over Barack Obama.  They cast no votes for third party candidates.

In the 2014 elections, this precinct voted 9-1 for the Republican candidate for Governor, Secretary of State, State Controller, State Treasurer, Attorney General, Insurance Commissioner, and the 45th Congressional District.

1 voter diverged, weakening the Republican vote down to 8-2 for the Republican for Lieutenant Governor and the 68th Assembly District.

5 voted for Kevin Haskins for Superior Court Judge while 2 voted for KC Jones.

5 voted for Tom Torlakson for Superintendent of Public Instruction while 3 voted for Marshall Tuck.

Posted in 37th Senate District | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »