OC Political

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

Posts Tagged ‘Mike Murray’

Judicial Campaigns: LA Deputy DA Jumps into Nelson-Yellin Race; Defeated HB City Attorney McGrath Jumps into Wagner-Zicbeck Race

Posted by Chris Nguyen on February 17, 2016

In a fascinating turn of events that will assuredly cause a run-off election, Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Thuy Dinh Pham (who is an Orange County resident despite working for LA County) has entered the race for Superior Court Judge Office No. 40, which currently includes Orange County Supervisor Shawn Nelson and Orange County Deputy District Attorney Larry Yellin, who is the immediate past president of the Orange County attorneys union.  Former Huntington Beach City Attorney Jennifer McGrath has entered the race for Superior Court Judge Office No. 3, which currently includes Deputy District Attorneys Megan Wagner and Scott Zidbeck.

Office No. 40 – Nelson, Yellin, and Now Pham

Pham’s entry adds a female Vietnamese-American prosecutor to a race already featuring a prosecutor and a County Supervisor, both white men.  In the June primary, Pham will presumably draw the lion’s share of the high-propensity Vietnamese-American vote.  As the only woman on the ballot, Pham will also draw a significant portion of the women’s vote, though she is hampered by the fact that not all voters know Thuy is a woman’s name.  Her entry into the race deals the biggest blow to Yellin since the Deputy District Attorney vote will be split between Pham and Yellin.

Supervisor Shawn Nelson should come in first in June for Office No. 40, but in a race with three major candidates, it is unlikely he can break 50% in the primary, thereby causing a November run-off.  The question is who comes in second: Yellin or Pham?  With identical ballot designations, demographics could become a factor.  Their ballot statements will also play a role.  Will Pham describe her prosecutorial career without mentioning it has been in the LA County DA’s office or will she highlight that fact to try to capitalize on the negative publicity surrounding the Orange County DA’s office?  Pham’s entry has made a contentious race for Judge a complete toss-up.

Office No. 3 – Wagner, Zidbeck, Stein, Philips, and Now McGrath

McGrath has joined, by far, Orange County’s largest field of candidates for Superior Court Judge, which already includes Deputy District Attorneys Wagner and Zidbeck, along with attorneys Andrew Stein and Wayne Philips.

In 2014, McGrath was defeated in her bid for a fourth term as the elected Huntington Beach City Attorney in 2014, losing 56%-44% against Michael Gates.  While she brings the most elected experience of any candidates, she faces a steep uphill battle against two prosecutors, and her name ID outside of Huntington Beach is likely as poor as that of Philips or Stein.  McGrath likely comes in a strong third though due to her Huntington Beach name ID, her ballot statement presumably touting her experience, and the fact that she is one of only two women in the five-person race.

Wagner and Zidbeck should take the top two spots.  Who gets first and who gets second is tougher to predict but largely irrelevant since both would make the November run-off.  With five candidates in the race, including two prosecutors, it is highly unlikely there would not be a run-off.

Wagner is married to Assemblyman Don Wagner.  In 2014, Stein lost a run-off for Superior Court Judge in Los Angeles County against prosecutor Tom Griego.

Fascenelli Out

It appears attorney Fred Fascenelli has not filed the Declaration of Intention form required for candidates for Superior Court Judge by yesterday’s deadline, so he will not be able to continue the filing process for either Office No. 3 or Office No. 40, both of which he had previously pulled papers for.  Fascenelli is married to Villa Park Councilwoman Diana Fascenelli.

All Quiet for Office No. 49 – Murray vs. Martin

In the race for Superior Court Judge Office No. 49, unless one of the candidates fails to complete filing, it will be a head-to-head race between Deputy District Attorney Mike Murray and attorney Thomas E. Martin.

Posted in Orange County | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Shawn Nelson Launches Bid for Superior Court Judge

Posted by Chris Nguyen on February 9, 2016

Shawn NelsonYesterday, Orange County Supervisor Shawn Nelson (R-Fullerton) filed the initial candidacy papers and paid the filing fee to run for Superior Court Judge Office Number 40, held by the retiring Steve Perk (R-Rancho Santa Margarita). Orange County attorneys’ union head Larry Yellin (D-Mission Viejo) had filed the initial candidacy papers and paid the filing fee for the same seat last week.  Litigation Attorney Fred Fascenelli (R-Villa Park) has also pulled papers for both this judicial seat and Superior Court Judge Office Number 3.

For years, Nelson had been rumored to be interested in a judgeship.  In May 2015, he confirmed his intent to seek a judgeship in an interview with the Voice of OC.

The mystery had been when Nelson would run, with speculation running the gamut, including a 2018 bid for judge, an appointment by the Governor, or being one of the replacement candidates if the recall effort against Judge M. Marc Kelly had qualified.

Nelson has $162,832 remaining in his Supervisorial account, all of which could be transferred into an account for judge.  A Senior Deputy District Attorney, Yellin just opened his account for judge last month. However, the union he heads, the Orange County Attorneys Association, has $262,132 in its campaign accounts, though certainly, OCAA is not going to spend the majority of its treasury on a single judicial race when it’s top priority in spending will be County races.

Besides OCAA, Yellin is also endorsed by the Orange County Employees Association (OCEA), which is the County’s largest union, and the Association of Orange County Deputy District Attorneys (AOCDDA), which is the County prosecutors’ union. AOCDDA has a modest $20,843 in its coffers.  OCEA has $312,372, but certainly has other priorities, particularly since Yellin is not a member of OCEA.  It’s entirely possible the unions largely stay out of the race under the argument that they’d rather have Nelson off the Board of Supervisors.

If Fascenelli decides to file in for judicial Office Number 3 instead of judicial Office Number 40, his opponents in that seat would be prosecutors Megan Wagner (R-Irvine) and Scott Zidbeck (R-Laguna Niguel).  Fascenelli is married to Villa Park Councilwoman Diana Fascenelli while Wagner is married to Assemblyman Don Wagner.

Fred Fascenelli came in fourth in a bid for judge in 2014, winning 6.1% of the vote, coming in behind Assistant District Attorney Kevin Haskins (49.1%), Deputy Attorney General KC Jones (33.4%), and Attorney Thomas E. Martin (11.4%).  Haskins (R-Laguna Niguel) and Jones (D-Orange) advanced to a November run-off, which Haskins won with 57.9% of the vote.   This year, Martin (R-Rancho Santa Margarita) has pulled papers for judicial Office Number 49 to run against Senior Deputy District Attorney Mike Murray (R-Tustin) for the seat being held by Elaine Streger (R-Mission Viejo).

If Nelson were to defeat Yellin (and assuming Fascenelli or another third candidate doesn’t cause a run-off), the special election to fill the remaining two years of Nelson’s term representing the Fourth Supervisorial District could be either consolidated with the November 2016 general election or be a standalone special election in late February 2017 or early March 2017, depending on the timing of Nelson’s exit from the Board.

There are no campaign contribution limits for judge.

Posted in 4th Supervisorial District, Orange County | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »