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Posts Tagged ‘Mimi Walters’

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 »

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

Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 19, 2015

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

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

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

The fifth results (yesterday’s count) show:

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jim Silva: Conservative leaders rightly back Don Wagner for Senate

Posted by Newsletter Reprint on March 9, 2015

This came over the wire to OC Political earlier today from former Assemblyman/former Supervisor Jim Silva (a slightly edited version was published in the Daily Pilot this afternoon)…

With the special election for state Senate District 37 set for March 17, the familiar lament about negative advertising fills the op-ed pages, blogs and social media sites.

He said this, she said that, he said the other thing, with each of the two front-runners denying the particular charges leveled against them.

So with all this noise, who do you believe? Who is best suited to represent the 37th Senate District in Sacramento?

The answer can be found by looking at the endorsements of the elected officials you know and trust. Assemblyman Don Wagner’s endorsements are a who’s who of Orange County conservative leaders: District Attorney Tony Rackauckas and Sheriff Sandra Hutchens both endorse him as the best candidate to keep our community safe.

Four of the five current county supervisors (Lisa Bartlett, Andrew Do, Todd Spitzer and Michelle Steel), and three of the four who served the last term with candidate John Moorlach (State Senators Janet Nguyen and Patricia Bates as well as Spitzer), have endorsed Wagner as the best candidate to work effectively in Sacramento to pass legislation that helps Orange County and California. Orange County Auditor-Controller Eric Woolery, Assessor Claude Parrish and Clerk-Recorder Hugh Nguyen likewise endorse Wagner.

All three of Orange County’s congressional representatives, Reps. Ed Royce, Mimi Walters and Dana Rohrabacher, the vast majority of the Republican caucus in the state Assembly, and many others round out the overwhelming support Wagner enjoys among those who have worked with him and Moorlach.

The reason for this overwhelming support is simple: Wagner has a well-earned reputation for taking a common-sense approach to the problems that face Orange County and the state and, while maintaining his conservative principles, working across the aisle to get legislation passed and signed by the governor.

That is why Wagner has been recognized as the legislator of the year by the Orange County Republican Party and the Orange County Business Council and has received the Collaborative Lawmaker Award from the Association of California Cities.

Orange County needs a principled and effective leader in the state Senate, and Wagner is that candidate.

Posted in 2nd Supervisorial District, 37th Senate District, Republican Central Committee | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Three-Candidate All-GOP Race in SD-37 as Filing Closes: Wagner, Moorlach, and Namazi

Posted by Chris Nguyen on January 26, 2015

Wagner, Moorlach, and Namazi

The three candidates in the SD-37 special election (all are Republicans): Business Owner/Assemblyman Donald P. Wagner, former Orange County Supervisor John M. W. Moorlach, and Naz Namazi

Filing has closed for the March 17 special election to fill the vacancy in the 37th Senate District left when Mimi Walters was elected to Congress.  As expected, Assemblyman Don Wagner and former Supervisor/former Treasurer-Tax Collector John Moorlach filed for the seat. Unexpectedly, Naz Namazi pulled papers on the final day of filing and then filed for the seat as well.

A head-to-head Wagner vs. Moorlach race would have ended this election on St. Patrick’s Day.  If Namazi pulls enough votes to prevent either candidate from breaking 50%, that would force a Wagner-Moorlach run-off on May 19.

Ballot Designations

Wagner is using “Business Owner/Assemblyman” as his ballot designation.  Moorlach unsuccessfully sought “County Supervisor/Businessman” as his ballot designation, receiving “Orange County Supervisor” instead.  Oddly, Namazi does not have a ballot designation.  Ballot designations can be challenged in court through Monday, February 2 (a week from today).

I’ve never understood why a candidate would refuse to have a ballot designation.  It costs nothing and is the one thing every voter sees because it’s right under the candidate’s name under the ballot.  It’s literally the last thing a candidate gets to say to every voter (and for a scary number of voters, it’s also the first thing).

Ballot Statements (or Lack Thereof)

Wagner and Moorlach both got statements for the sample ballot while Namazi did not.

There are only two scenarios why a candidate wouldn’t have a ballot statement for the State Legislature: 1) the candidate can’t afford it or 2) the candidate plans to spend more than the voluntary expenditure limit.  (For example, in November 2014, Young Kim, Sharon Quirk-Silva, Janet Nguyen, and Jose Solorio did not get statements because they all planned to spend more than the voluntary expenditure limit.)

The voluntary expenditure limit for this election is $846,000, and I think it’s pretty reasonable to assume that Namazi isn’t going to spend more than $846,000.  That leaves only the logical conclusion that Namazi couldn’t plunk down the $5,376 for a ballot statement.

If a candidate can’t afford to even get the ballot statement, how is the candidate supposed to get their message out? The ballot statement is the opportunity for every candidate to get a 1/4 page message mailed out to every registered voter in the district, as it is included in the sample ballot.  Any mailer districtwide would cost more than the ballot statement.  Even the costs of ink and paper from printing literature on a home computer to hand deliver to every voter in the district would cost more than a ballot statement.

In a general election, it’s possible to win an obscure down-ticket race without a ballot statement because voters are exhausted from reading many seats’ ballot statements or voters aren’t paying attention to the down-ticket races. However, this is the only thing on the ballot; there is no down-ticket.  Anyone turning out for this election is turning out solely for the Senate race.  Plus, it’s a special election, and special election voters are far more likely to read the sample ballot than general election voters.

Who is Namazi?

Namazi was a paid staffer on Congressman Dana Rohrabacher’s re-election campaigns in 2012 and 2014.  She also purportedly joined Rohrabacher’s Congressional staff earlier this month.  She has been a licensed real estate salesperson for 1 year, 8 months (since May 2013).

As I live blogged two years ago at the January 2013 OCGOP Central Committee meeting, Namazi received the Anna Woods Memorial HQ Volunteer of the Year Award for her efforts in the 2012 election at the OCGOP headquarters in Tustin and the OCGOP office in Huntington Beach.  (Ironically, as the highest-ranking elected official present at that meeting, Wagner helped present all of the volunteer awards, including the one to Namazi.)

Born in Pakistan, the 47-year-old Namazi had been registered to vote at her Laguna Niguel residence for 20 years but recently reregistered to vote in Irvine in the two-bedroom residence of 64-year-old Julie Tanha.  Property records do not show that Namazi has given up her residence in Laguna Niguel nor acquired Tanha’s residence in Irvine. Laguna Niguel is in the 36th Senate District while Irvine is in the 37th.

Born in Pennsylvania, the 54-year-old Wagner has been registered to vote at his Irvine residence for 23 years. Wagner has been a licensed attorney since 1987, an Assemblyman since 2010, and was a community college district trustee from 1998-2010.

Born in the Netherlands, the 59-year-old Moorlach has been registered to vote at his Costa Mesa residence for 12 years. Moorlach’s CPA license was issued in 1980 but is currently inactive; he was a County Supervisor from 2007-2015 and the County Treasurer-Tax Collector from 1995-2007.

Decoy Candidate?

Ordinarily, a candidate who pulls papers on the last day of filing, recently reregistered from a longtime out-of-district residence to an in-district residence, has no ballot designation, and has no ballot statement would have all the red flags of being a decoy candidate.

However, there is one big gaping hole in the decoy theory: who actually benefits from Namazi’s candidacy?  Unless she starts hitting either Wagner or Moorlach, there is no obvious beneficiary of her candidacy.  There is no reason to see how she would draw from more from one candidate or the other: her name isn’t similar to either Wagner or Moorlach, she doesn’t have a similar ballot designation to either Wagner or Moorlach, she’s a woman while the other two are men (indeed, her name doesn’t even make her gender obvious), she has an Iranian name while Wagner and Moorlach have European names, etc.  Now, if Namazi starts campaigning heavily against one of the two major candidates, then the decoy theory is worth another look.

Who Will Campaign to Democrats?

It had long been thought that Wagner and Moorlach would try to outflank each other on the right to win the safely Republican SD-37, but with the Democrats failing to field a candidate (and indeed, no non-Republican candidate filing at all), which one will attempt to win over Democrats?  Or will both attempt it?  It will be a delicate balancing act trying to hang on to Republicans and grabbing Democrats.  28.6% of SD-37 voters are Democrats.  It’s a huge voting bloc.  If one candidate goes for the Democrats but the other does not, the Democrats could well determine the result of the election.  (Leslie Daigle missed her chance; this race was tailor-made for her!)  However, it’s still a staunchly Republican district; tilting too far left could cost too many votes on the right.

The riskiest strategy would be sending a hit piece to Democrats accusing the opponent of being too conservative, as the target of that hit piece would presumably quickly send a piece to Republicans: “Look!  My opponent says I’m more conservative than he is!”

Of course, there is the ever safe strategy of non-substantive messaging, along the lines of “Democrats Trust John Moorlach” or “Democrats Support Don Wagner” without any political stances included whatsoever.

Full Text of Ballot Statements

Wagner’s ballot statement is below:

As an Assemblyman since 2010, I’ve been a proven, principled conservative voice in Sacramento. That’s why I’m endorsed for State Senate by our conservative Congressman Ed Royce and Congresswoman Mimi Walters.

As Senator, I’ll strongly support a balanced budget, with no new taxes. I’ve fought to eliminate the $500 billion “wall of debt” that liberal politicians have created and plan to leave to our children. I signed the “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” to never vote to raise your taxes and am endorsed by the OCTaxpayers Association.

My fiscal credentials aren’t just talk. I have real experience balancing government budgets – as President of a local Community College District I balanced every budget and paid off all debts, without raising taxes. It can be done.

I oppose amnesty for illegal immigrants. I’ve been a leader in demanding that Washington secure our border and compensate California taxpayers for the enormous costs of illegal immigration. I’m on record strongly opposing President Obama’s actions to grant amnesty.

As a small business owner myself, I experienced how overregulation and over-taxation stifle business success and economic growth. That’s why I’ve worked to get government off the backs of business owners. And that’s why I’ve been endorsed by the California Small Business Association and the National Federation of Independent Businesses.

I’ve been leading the fight for conservative values in Sacramento, not just talking about them from afar. I pledge to use my experience and proven conservative record to keep up that fight for responsive, responsible, limited government.

Moorlach’s ballot statement is below:

I will fight to end unnecessary government spending and reduce debts. I oppose raising tax rates and I believe government must be lean, efficient, and live within its means.

I began my career as a CPA and Certified Financial Planner. I believe government spending requires sound planning and must stand firm against pressures from special interests.

California has an unrestricted net deficit of $124 billion and is 46th out of 50 states in financial status! Billions in underfunded public employee pensions is one of our biggest threats. As a County Supervisor, I passed a ballot measure requiring voter approval on any new public employee pension enhancement.

We also renegotiated the county employee retiree medical plan, reducing the unfunded liability by 71% and saving Orange County taxpayers nearly $100 million a year.

In 1994, I was a partner in a local accounting firm. When Orange County declared bankruptcy that December, I was brought in to help clean up the mess. We immediately cut costs, eliminated risky investments, and put the County back on a fiscally conservative path.

In 2006, I was elected to serve as County Supervisor, where I helped to prudently guide spending through the Great Recession, thus improving the business climate. During my tenure, the County’s unrestricted net assets grew from a deficit to in excess of $300 million. Today Orange County is fiscally sound, and our economy is strong.

California needs a fiscally conservative accountant in Sacramento. I would be honored to continue serving you. http://www.MoorlachforSenate.com

As mentioned earlier, Namazi did not get a ballot statement.

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SD-37 Special Election Set for March 17, Run-Off for May 19

Posted by Chris Nguyen on January 14, 2015

Map of the 37th Senate DistrictGovernor Jerry Brown has finally called the special election for the 37th Senate District to complete the term of now-Congresswoman Mimi Walters (and the 7th and 21st Senate Districts to complete the terms of now-Congressmen Mark DeSaulnier of the Bay Area and Steve Knight of the Antelope Valley).

The primary will be on Tuesday, March 17.  Sadly for those celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, California Elections Code Section 12288 prohibits bars and pubs from hosting polling places and also prohibits polling places from having any alcohol “sold or dispensed while the polls are open.”

(However, I imagine few would be surprised if the respective campaigns’ Election Night parties had St. Patrick’s Day themes.)

If a candidate wins a majority of the votes, that person will take office after the primary.  If no candidate wins a majority of the votes on March 17, then a run-off election will be held Tuesday, May 19. Absentee ballots for the primary will start arriving in voters’ homes in just over a month from now.

Candidate filing is now open and will close on Friday, January 23.

The two announced candidates are both Republicans:

  • Assemblyman Don Wagner, who currently represents the six of the eleven SD-37 cities since AD-68 comprises the eastern half of SD-37 (Anaheim Hills, Orange, Villa Park, Tustin, Irvine, and Lake Forest)
  • Former Supervisor John Moorlach, who previously represented three of the eleven SD-37 cities in his Supervisorial district (southern Huntington Beach, Costa Mesa, and Newport Beach)

Before the 2012 redistricting shifted his Assembly district inland, Wagner represented three other cities now in SD-37: Laguna Beach, Laguna Woods, and Newport Beach (in addition to Tustin, Irvine, and Lake Forest).  Before his 2006 bid for Supervisor, Moorlach held Countywide office as Treasurer-Tax Collector.

No Democrat has announced, though it is widely expected a Democrat will run.

If any state political party wants to have its endorsement listed in the sample ballot, the deadline for the state parties to submit their endorsement to the County Registrar is January 23 – the same day candidate filing closes.

The first campaign finance numbers will come out the first week of February.  Neither Wagner nor Moorlach had any substantive amount of money in their Senate warchests when the last campaign finance numbers came out in October.

However, Wagner has nearly a quarter-million dollars in his Assembly account, of which at least 97% is transferable to his Senate account.  Moorlach has closed his Congressional account in December, transferring the remaining $8,618 to his Supervisorial account, which he closed weeks later, transferring the remaining $5,300 to his Senate account.

State legislative contribution limits increased from $4,100 to $4,200 on January 1.

To qualify for the ballot, a candidate must submit 40 valid signatures from registered voters in SD-37 along with a filing fee of $971.97 by Friday, January 23, though a candidate who submits 161 signatures by Friday, January 16, can wipe out the filing fee.  The candidate statement costs a whopping $5,376 though.

(For those of you wondering, while Prop 14 does force November run-offs in regular elections even if a candidate breaks 50% in the June primary, Prop 14 does not require run-offs in special elections if a candidate breaks 50%.)

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