OC Political

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

Posts Tagged ‘Mimi Walters’

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

Posted by Chris Nguyen on February 7, 2018

Mayor Pro Tem Greg Raths (R-Mission Viejo)

Mayor Pro Tem Greg Raths
(R-Mission Viejo)

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

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

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

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

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

BOE: Cavecche & Bilodeau Exploring Candidacies

Posted by Chris Nguyen on January 12, 2018

Carolyn Cavecche & Denis Bilodeau

Carolyn Cavecche and Denis Bilodeau

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Chris Nguyen on January 11, 2018

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

The Fast and the Furious

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

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

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

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

The Hunger Games

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

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

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

CD-39/CD-49 Flow Chart

49th Congressional District

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

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

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

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

39th Congressional District

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

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

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

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

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

Board of Equalization

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

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

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

76th Assembly District

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

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

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

AD 72: Mayor Pro Tem Diep Becomes Early Frontrunner in Race to Replace Assemblyman Allen

Posted by Chris Nguyen on July 11, 2017

Mayor Pro Tem Tyler Diep (R-Westminster)

Mayor Pro Tem Tyler Diep (R-Westminster)

Cross-posted to OC Daily

As reported by OC Daily in English and Viet Bao in Vietnamese, Westminster Mayor Pro Tem Tyler Diep has officially thrown his hat in the ring for the 72nd Assembly District, finally confirming rumors that had swirled since mid-June.  The seat is being vacated by Assemblyman Travis Allen, who is running for Governor.

Diep comes out of the gate wielding a $260,000 City Council warchest that he can easily transfer to his Assembly race.  Diep also wields the most useful endorsement for this seat: the incumbent, Travis Allen.  The endorsement of the current occupant of the seat being sought is always uniquely helpful in a campaign, but Allen’s endorsement has an extra degree of usefulness in 2018 due to his increased name ID from his bid for Governor.

The two dominant population centers of AD-72 are Little Saigon and Huntington Beach.  In these two areas, Diep has locked up the endorsements of nearly anyone who could run against him.  He has sought to not only clear the field but win the support of the field.  It is difficult to launch a bid against someone when you have already endorsed them.

Diep quickly rounded up the endorsements of all three rumored candidates from Huntington Beach: Councilmembers Barbara Delgleize, Mike Posey, and Patrick Brenden.  (Posey is so popular that he was rumored for AD-72 despite being a resident of AD-74.)

Diep has locked down the endorsements of nearly every Vietnamese-American elected official in AD-72: Westminster Mayor Tri Ta, Westminster Councilwoman Kimberly Ho, Fountain Valley Mayor Pro Tem Michael Vo, Garden Grove School Board Members Dina Nguyen and Lan Quoc Nguyen, and Westminster School Board Members Frances Nguyen and Khanh Nguyen.  (In fact, Diep has the endorsement of every Vietnamese-American school board member in AD-72.)

The only other Republican Vietnamese-American City Councilmember in AD-72 (or actually, in all of Orange County) is Phat Bui of Garden Grove.  However, Bui was so badly bloodied in the First Supervisorial District race last year in which he came in third behind Santa Ana Councilwoman Michele Martinez and Supervisor Andrew Do that an AD-72 bid by Bui would be quixotic.  The Democrats’ sole Vietnamese-American City Councilmember is Thu-Ha Nguyen, who was just elected last year, but the AD-72 seat will remain in Republican hands and Councilwoman Nguyen occupies a small district seat since Garden Grove switched to by-district elections last year, so her name ID is confined to a small portion of Garden Grove.

At this point, it is difficult to see any viable opponent to Diep since virtually any viable candidate for AD-72 has endorsed Diep.

In my conversations with other people about the Diep candidacy before he officially announced, I commented that Diep appeared to be borrowing a page from the Mimi Walters strategy, and his official announcement bears that out.  In June 2013, when Congressman John Campbell announced that he would not seek re-election in 2014, Walters came barreling out of the gate with a large warchest and a slew of endorsements that included nearly every potential opponent.  The strategy worked well for Walters who won her seat and worked to help elect so many other Republicans that she was quickly elected by freshmen Members of Congress to serve as their representative in the House Republican leadership after the 2014 election and then again as the sophomore representative after the 2016 election.

And, yes, Walters has endorsed Diep.

Here’s the full text of the Diep’s announcement:

Councilman Tyler Diep Launches Campaign for 72nd Assembly District
Diep Enters Race with Significant Momentum: $260k COH & Key Endorsement

(Westminster, CA) – Westminster Councilman Tyler Diep announced today that he is running for State Assembly.

The announcement comes after 72nd District Assemblyman Travis Allen opted to vacate the seat in 2018 to run for Governor. Allen has endorsed Diep’s campaign to succeed him in the Assembly.

“Tyler is the right person to represent us in the State Assembly,” said Assemblyman Allen. “He is a dedicated public servant and has a proven record of fighting higher taxes and job killing regulations.”

Councilman Diep will begin the campaign with significant campaign resources – he will transfer approximately $260,000 from his council campaign account to his assembly race.

“I am passionate about public service, my community and fighting to make Orange County a better place to raise a family and start a business,” said Diep. “I look forward to taking my experience in Orange County to Sacramento and between now and election day I’ll work hard to earn the vote of every neighborhood in the 72nd district.”

The 72nd District includes all of Westminster, Garden Grove, Fountain Valley, Los Alamitos, Seal Beach, a portion of Huntington Beach and the unincorporated county island of Midway City.

Axiom Strategies will serve as general consultants for Diep’s campaign, John Bovee of Capital Development Strategies will assist Diep with fundraising, and Lysa Ray will serve as his treasurer.

Diep was first elected to the Westminster City Council in 2008.  He has been a strong taxpayer advocate, is committed to job creation and supporting small businesses by keeping taxes low, and has prioritized hiring more police officers and road repair while on the city council.  He also serves as Director of the Midway City Sanitary District and works for the State Board of Equalization where he helps small businesses navigate through the bureaucracy of the IRS and Franchise Tax Board.

To learn more about Diep and his campaign, please visit: www.TylerDiep.com

###

(Cue my usual Nguyen disclaimer: I am not related to Garden Grove Councilwoman Thu-Ha Nguyen, Garden Grove School Board Member Dina Nguyen, Garden Grove School Board Member Lan Quoc Nguyen, Westminster School Board Member Frances Nguyen, or Westminster School Board Member Khanh Nguyen.  The last name Nguyen is held by 36% of Vietnamese people.)

Posted in 72nd Assembly District, Westminster | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

OC House Member’s Chief of Staff Indicted for Crimes Under Prior Congressional Boss

Posted by Chris Nguyen on April 7, 2016

David Bowser has been indicted for spending $43,750 in taxpayer money from then-Congressman Paul Broun‘s government office to pay a campaign consultant fro 2012-2014 for Broun’s successful 2012 re-election bid and his ill-fated primary election bid for United States Senate from Georgia.  Bowser currently serves as Chief of Staff to OC Congresswoman Mimi Walters, who was elected to the House in November 2014, six months after Broun came in fifth place in the Georgia primary for Senate.  Broun is currently attempting to return to the House in a neighboring district by challenging an incumbent Congressman Doug Collins in the Republican primary.

Bowser has been indicted by the United States Department of Justice on eight counts:

  • Theft of government property (one count)
  • Obstruction of proceedings (one count)
  • Concealment of material facts (one count)
  • Making false statements (five counts)

Most of the charges seem to indicate the “cover-up is worse than the crime” adage.

Brett O’Donnell of O’Donnell & Associates joined Broun’s Congressional office in June 2012.  Bowser allegedly instructed O’Donnell to begin helping Broun for “political debates, drafting and practicing campaign speeches and advising on campaign messaging” for the Broun’s 2012 Congressional reelection and his 2014 Senate bid.  O’Donnell & Associates was not paid by Broun’s campaign, only by his taxpayer funded office.  O’Donnell was fired in March 2014 fired when Georgia television reported about his role with Broun.

Emails from Bowser indicated O’Donnell’s campaign role.

  • In June 2012, Bowser wrote (from his government email account) to O’Donnell: “As we discussed last week, there was a potential for a debate which has now turned into a scheduled event on June 22nd on television from 9:30 – 10:30 run in studio…The Congressman would like to schedule a couple of hours later that afternoon for debate preparations so we are going to hold from 3-6pm on our schedule and secure a conference room at the NRCC for this purpose…”
  • In January 2014, Bowser wrote (from his personal email account) to Broun’s Press Secetary (while cc’ing O’Donnell), complaining that O’Donnell was missing Broun’s first U.S. Senate debate to do charity work in Africa: “Since our debate consultant actually abandoned us on our first debate for a bunch of Ethiopians who don’t pay him, I may need to send you to Adel[, Georgia] this weekend if you are able to go?”
  • In February 2014, O’Donnell wrote, “You hired me to coach the candidate. I won’t make ads, write mail pieces, manage the online program or the campaign, but lets trust each other to play the roles we were hired to do…”

O’Donnell reached a plea deal with the Justice Department in September and claimed (among other things) that Bowser instructed O’Donnell to tell the Office of Congressional Ethics to “f*** themselves” when OCE began to investigate.

The Justice Department states that “Bowser allegedly attempted to obstruct the investigation by, among other things, delaying and failing to produce relevant documents; influencing the testimony of witnesses; and falsely stating that O’Donnell was solely hired to provide official services…”

While the Justice Department indictment is not yet available online, the 46-page report of the House Ethics Committee on this case is available here.

Posted in 45th Congressional District | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

OC GOP Endorsements for the June Primary

Posted by Chris Nguyen on January 19, 2016

wpid-ocgop-logo-1_400x400.jpg

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

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

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

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

Posted by Chris Nguyen on January 18, 2016

wpid-ocgop-logo-1_400x400.jpgWe are live from the OC GOP Central Committee meeting tonight where a number of endorsements for Federal, State, and County offices are being considered in the June Primary, as well as the Orange Unified School District special election in March.  The hottest contest of the evening is widely expected to be the dueling endorsement requests from Senator John Moorlach and his challenger for the 37th Senate District, Assemblyman Don Wagner.

Already endorsed in December were:

  • Assemblywoman Ling-Ling Chang for 29th Senate District
  • Assemblywoman Young Kim for Re-Election, 65th Assembly District
  • Supervisor Andrew Do for Re-Election, 1st Supervisorial District

Being considered tonight are:

  • Congressman Darrell Issa for Re-Election, 49th Congressional District
  • Congressman Dana Rohrabacher for Re-Election, 48th Congressional District
  • Congresswoman Mimi Walters for Re-Election, 45th Congressional District
  • Senator John Moorlach  for Re-Election, 37th Senate District
  • Assemblyman Don Wagner for 37th Senate District
  • Assemblyman Bill Brough for Re-Election, 73rd Assembly District
  • Assemblyman Matthew Harper  for Re-Election, 74th Assembly District
  • Supervisor Todd Spitzer for Re-Election, 3rd Supervisorial District
  • Trustee Robert Hammond for Re-Election, Orange County Board of Education, Trustee Area 1
  • Trustee Ken Williams for Re-Election, Orange County Board of Education, Trustee Area 3
  • Gregory Salas, Orange Unified School District, Trustee Area 1

7:05 PM: Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance

7:07 PM: OC GOP Chairman Fred Whitaker begins taking the roll

7:10 PM: Two new alternates are sworn in

7:14 PM: Current and former elected officials present introducing themselves are Bill Brough, Diane Harkey, Pat Bates, Matt Harper, David Shawver, Scott Peotter, John Moorlach, Robert Hammond, Tony Beall, Mike Munzing, Eric Woolery, Shari Freidenrich, Steven Choi, Mike Posey, Craig Young, Andrew Hamilton, Dwight Robinson, Peggy Huang, Hugh Nguyen, Shawn Nelson, Gene Hernandez, Brett Barbre, Tim Shaw, Deborah Pauly, Todd Spitzer, Mark McCurdy, Michael Gates, Andrew Do, Steve Nagel, Jim Cunneen, Cecilia Iglesias, Scott Voigts, Steve Tye, Erik Peterson, Ken Williams, Harry Sidhu, Jeff Lalloway, and Fred Whitaker.

7:20 PM: Chairman Whitaker presents Senator Pat Bates with the OC GOP’s Legislator of the Year award.

7:23 PM: Bates speaks about her husband, women in elected office, and bringing women into the Republican Party.

7:26 PM: County Auditor-Controller Eric Woolery gives the Taxpayer Watchdog Award to Bates.

7:27 PM: Chairman Whitaker gives one of the two Local Elected Officials of the Year awards to Santa Ana Unified School District Trustee Cecilia Iglesias.

7:30 PM: Assemblyman Don Wagner’s office presents an Assembly certificate to Iglesias.

7:31 PM: Iglesias thanks Thomas Gordon, Robert Hammond, and the Central Committee. She says Santa Ana is slowly but surely returning to its conservative values and hopes to elect more Santa Ana Republicans in 2016.

7:32 PM: Wagner returns to the room and re-presents the certificate.

7:33 PM: Chairman Whitaker presents the other Local Elected Official of the Year award to Lake Forest Councilman Dwight Robinson.

7:35 PM: Robinson speaks about his family. He speaks of freedom and liberty. He speaks of good governance and making his community a better place to live for his children. He points to Steven Choi and Irvine as an example. He points to the leadership of his Lake Forest colleague Scott Voigts. He points to Supervisor Shawn Nelson and speaks about the AQMD Board, job retention, and economic growth.

7:39 PM: Assemblyman Wagner presents an Assembly certificate to Robinson.

7:40 PM: Don Gilchrist and Kathy Tavoularis present “The Donald” (the OC GOP’s Legislative Staffer of the Year award) to Jennifer Beall, District Director for Assemblyman Bill Brough.

7:43 PM: Beall thanks Gilchrist and speaks of Brough’s efforts to elect more Republicans to local office. She thanks Sharon Campbell of Brough’s staff. She thanks Chairman Whitaker and speaks of getting volunteers into the field in targeted seats.

7:47 PM: OC GOP Secretary Peggy Huang presents the Volunteer of the Month award to UCI College Republicans President Rob Petrosyan.

7:49 PM: Petrosyan speaks about the importance of Republican activism.

7:50 PM: Senator John Moorlach presents a Senate certificate to Petrosyan. Supervisor Todd Spitzer presents a County certificate to Petrosyan. Ben Rejniak of Congresswoman Mimi Walters’s office presents a Congressional certificate to Petrosyan.

7:53 PM: Huang inaudibly presents the Emily Sanford Volunteer of the Year Award to a member of the Republican Women Federated.

7:59 PM: Whitaker thanks all the award recipients and speaks of the 2016 presidential election. He speaks of the 2015 activities of the OC GOP, including the election of Andrew Do to the Board of Supervisors, fundraising successes, and the early endorsements of Do for re-election, Assemblywoman Ling-Ling Chang for the 29th Senate District, and Assemblyman Young Kim for re-election. He speaks of the importance of focusing on targeted seats, not intraparty fights in safe seats. He points to Tom Steyer fielding liberal Democrats in primary elections to challenge incumbent moderate Democrats statewide. He asks for respectful discourse and reminds those present that Republicans are on the same team, and the Democrats are the opponents. He states no incumbent Republicans being considered for endorsement tonight have done anything to merit removal from office. He urges endorsing the incumbents and focusing resources on the targeted seats.

He states SD-37 will be considered in a candidates’ forum since there are two applicants for one seat.

8:07 PM: Senator John Moorlach speaks of being a Central Committee member in 1993 and being encouraged to challenge Bob Citron for Treasurer by then-OC GOP Chairman Tom Fuentes and Assemblyman Mickey Conroy. He speaks of reducing the County’s unfunded pension liability while on the Board of Supervisors. He speaks of being Vice Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

8:09 PM: Assemblyman Don Wagner states that SD-37 is in no danger of going to the Democrats. Wagner points to Moorlach’s vote on SB 141, in which Moorlach was one of only two Republicans to vote for it. Wagner says it allows governments to sell land acquired via eminent domain. Wagner points to Moorlach’s vote on SJR 13 where Moorlach joined with Democrats to vote for a resolution that took a position on a Supreme Court case on redistricting that was contrary to the Republican position. Wagner noted that he has repeatedly endorsed Republicans in tough races while Moorlach is often absent. Wagner spoke of Moorlach being the sole Senate Republican to not endorse Republican Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian’s bid to capture the seat held by retiring Congresswoman Lois Capps (D). Wagner contributed financial resources to help elect Janet Nguyen to the State Senate while Moorlach did not endorse her.

8:14 PM: Brett Barbre asks the candidates if they have taken union contributions.

8:15 PM: Wagner says he has not taken any for this Senate campaign but has taken public safety union money in the past that he has given to other Republican candidates.

8:16 PM: Moorlach says that he has taken none and has never benefited from union independent expenditures.

8:17 PM: Dennis White asks Moorlach to respond to the allegations raised by Wagner.

8:18 PM: Moorlach disputes Wagner’s allegation on SJR 13 and says he voted against it. He does not have a response for SB 141. [Editor’s Note: the vote record for SJR 13 shows Moorlach joined a unanimous 36-0 vote in favor of SJR 13 in the Senate while Wagner was one of 11 votes against SJR 13 when it passed the Assembly 57-11.]

8:19 PM: Wagner stands by his statements.

8:19 PM: Scott Voigts asks Wagner why he has been so generous with helping other Republicans.

Wagner states he wants to grow the ranks of Republican elected officials.

8:20 PM: Andy Whallon asks how they voted SB 443 on civil asset forfeiture reform.

8:22 PM: After much discussion, both declare they voted in favor of SB 443.  [Editor’s Note: the vote record for SB 443 shows Wagner voted against SB 443 when it was defeated 44-24 in the Assembly while Moorlach voted in favor of SB 443 joining a 38-1 vote to pass it in the Senate.]

8:23 PM: Wagner apologizes for putting the Central Committee in an awkward position but says the Central Committee is there to make difficult decisions to help grow the Republican Party.

8:24 PM: Moorlach states he has never run against a Republican incumbent. He points to his voting record and emphasizes his votes on fiscal issues.

8:25 PM: Scott Baugh motions and Brett Franklin seconds the endorsement of John Moorlach.

8:26 PM: Scott Voigts offers a substitute motion for neutrality in the 37th Senate District. Mary Young seconds the motion.

8:27 PM: Allan Bartlett attempts to table the motion of Don Wagner’s endorsement, but he is rejected because he proposes tabling a non-existent motion.

8:27 PM: Baugh moves to table Voigts’s substitute motion. This motion to table the substitute motion is approve by voice vote.

8:28 PM: Baugh, Assemblyman Matt Harper, and Supervisor Shawn Nelson wish to speak in favor of the motion to endorse Moorlach. Voigts and Young wish to speak against. Since there must be an equal number of speakers and no third speaker against the motion stepped forward, so Nelson will not speak.

8:30 PM: Baugh speaks of Moorlach’s great character, his votes against the totalitarianism of civil asset forfeiture, and how it is easy to cherry-pick individual votes out of thousands cast each year by legislators. Baugh says while Moorlach is not warm and cuddly, he is a principled conservative.

8:31 PM: Voigts stated he broke his back in 1994 falling off a freeway overpass, after which he became involved with the Christian Coalition. Vogts met his-now boss and me tor, Wagner, in 1995 and helped engineer the Republican takeover of the South Orange County Community College District Board with Tom Fuentes. He speaks of numerous precincts where Wagner has walked for other Republicans and numerous campaigns where Wagner donated money to help elect more Republicans. Voigts says both are great men, so the party should stay neutral on this race.

8:34 PM: TJ Fuentes asks speakers not to invoke the memory of his father during debate.

8:34 PM: Assemblyman Matt Harper praises Wagner’s voting record and leadership in the Assembly. However, Harper points out the voters clearly elected Moorlach less than a year ago. He says Moorlach has been a great conservative leader in the Senate. Harper notes he signed the first page of the recall declaration of intent against Doris Allen, so he has no problem opposing bad Republican incumbents. He says SD-37 is nowhere near the Doris Allen situation.

8:38 PM: Mary Young states that Wagner has repeatedly given money to Republican Women Federated and other Republican volunteer events while Moorlach has given none.

8:39 PM: Voting begins on the endorsement of John Moorlach for re-election to the 37th Senate District.

8:40 PM: There are 48 votes for Moorlach and 7 against.

MOORLACH ENDORSED FOR RE-ELECTION 48-7.

8:41 PM: Whitaker notes the party has not dual-endorsed in the past. Wagner offers to withdraw his application.

8:41 PM: With only one dissenting vote, the endorsements for all other people being considered for Federal and State office is passed.

8:41 PM: With only one abstaining vote, the endorsements for all other people being considered for County and school offices is passed.

8:51 PM: After various announcements, Chairman Whitaker adjourns the meeting.

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

CD-45: Walters vs. Raths – The Rematch

Posted by Chris Nguyen on January 6, 2016

Congresswoman Mimi Walters (R-Irvine) and Councilman Greg Raths (R-Mission Viejo)

Congresswoman Mimi Walters (R-Irvine) and Councilman Greg Raths (R-Mission Viejo)

2016 seems to be shaping up to be the year of the rematch.  Yesterday, I wrote about Assemblyman Don Wagner challenging Senator John Moorlach in the 2016 Primary Election for the 37th State Senate District after Moorlach prevailed over Wagner in the 2015 Special Election for that same seat.

On the same day that Wagner submitted his application for an OC GOP endorsement for the 37th Senate District (nearly a month after Moorlach submitted his application), Councilman Greg Raths (R-Mission Viejo) pulled papers to challenge Congresswoman Mimi Walters (R-Irvine) in the 2016 Primary Election for the 45th Congressional District after Walters prevailed over Raths in the 2014 Primary Election for that same seat.

(Ironically, it was the election of Walters to the 45th Congressional District that caused the 2015 Special Election for the 37th Senate District that sent Moorlach to the Senate.)

In the 2014 election, the four candidates were California State Senator Mimi Walters (R), Educator/Businessman Drew E. Leavens (D), Retired Marine Colonel Greg Raths (R), and Buena Park Library District Trustee Al Salehi (NPP).

(Why Salehi ran for Congress in a district that does not include his city of residence of Buena Park, I’ll never understand.  I wrote extensively on Salehi’s perennial bid for offices in my post on his latest bid for office in the February 9 Special Election for North Orange County Community College District.)

Walters easily defeated Leavens, Raths, and Salehi:

Vote Count Percentage
MIMI WALTERS (R) 39,631 45.1%
DREW E. LEAVENS (D) 24,721 28.1%
GREG RATHS (R) 21,284 24.2%
AL SALEHI (NPP) 2,317 2.6%

In the 2014 election, Walters spent nearly $1,200,000 while Raths spent $267,000.  Leavens spent $2,150, yet Salehi didn’t even open a committee.

As of September 30, Walters had more than $616,000 cash-on-hand in her Congressional campaign account.  Raths has no cash on hand, as he had terminated his Congressional committee in May and has not started a new one.

After losing the 2014 Primary Election for the 45th Congressional District, Raths successfully won a seat on the Mission Viejo City Council in the 2014 General Election.

Consequently, while the 2014 Primary Election for the 45th Congressional District featured State Senator Walters vs. Retired Colonel Raths, the 2016 Primary Election has Congresswoman Walters vs. Councilman Raths.

In the 2012 Primary, then-Congressman John Campbell (R) still captured 51% of the vote against Irvine Mayor Sukhee Kang (D), who got 33%, and Small Business Owner John Webb (R), who got 16%. Campbell opted not to seek re-election in 2014, thereby creating the opening for Walters to run.  Kang termed out as Mayor of Irvine in 2012 and is now running against Assemblywoman Ling-Ling Chang (R-Diamond Bar) for the 29th Senate District, which does not include any portion of the City of Irvine.

Posted in 45th Congressional District, Mission Viejo | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 17 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 »

Special Election Qualifies for North Orange County Community College District Trustee Area 3

Posted by Chris Nguyen on October 8, 2015

On June 30, North Orange County Community College District Trustee Donna Miller (D) resigned just seven months after being re-elected to a four-year term.

Five people applied to fill the vacancy in Trustee Area 3, including Daniel Billings (NPP) and Buena Park Library District Trustee Al Salehi (NPP).  The NOCCCD Board appointed Billings unanimously on August 25.  Billings would 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.

Salehi then circulated a petition under Education Code 5091, which allows an appointment to be invalidated by a petition of 1.5% of registered voters submitted within 30 days of the appointment, which would then trigger a special election.  (1.5% of registered voters in NOCCCD Trustee Area 3 is 799 valid signatures.)

County Superintendent of Schools Al Mijares (R) must call the special election for a Tuesday within 130 days of certification of the petition (which occurred on Tuesday), so the special election for NOCCCD Trustee Area 3 will likely take place in late January or early February (no later than Tuesday, February 9).

NOCCCD Trustee Area 3 consists of the entire City of La Palma, most of the City of Buena Park, 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).

Besides Salehi, rumored candidates include 21-year-old Centralia School District Trustee Connor Traut (D), Centralia School District Trustee (and former La Palma Councilman) Henry Charoen (R), La Palma Councilman Steve Hwangbo (R), and Anaheim Union High School District Trustee (and former La Palma Councilman) Brian O’Neal (R).  (Update 10/27: This list inadvertently left off Billings; OC Political regrets the error.  O’Neal sent an irate email denying any interest in the seat.)

In both 2012 and 2014, Salehi came in fourth out of eight for Buena Park City Council after moving into the city in 2010.  He won 2.4% of the vote when he came in fourth in the primary for the 45th Congressional District (on the other side of the county, where he had zero name ID) behind now-Congresswoman Mimi Walters (R), Drew Leavens (D), and now-Mission Viejo Councilman Greg Raths (R).

If the election is conducted as an all-mail ballot election (aka all absentee ballot election), NOCCCD taxpayers would pay $168,000-$197,000 for the costs of the election.

Posted in Anaheim, Anaheim Union High School District, Buena Park, Buena Park Library District, Centralia School District, Cypress, La Palma, North Orange County Community College District | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »