OC Political

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

Posts Tagged ‘Sharon Quirk-Silva’

Fountain Valley’s McCurdy Becomes 4th OC Councilman to Resign in 4 Months

Posted by Chris Nguyen on January 15, 2018

Mark McCurdy, Josh Wilson, Steve Hwangbo, Jerry Slusiewicz

Recently resigned City Councilmen Mark McCurdy (R-Fountain Valley), Josh Wilson (R-Los Alamitos), Steve Hwangbo (R-La Palma), and Jerry Slusiewicz (R-Laguna Niguel)

In a continuing exodus of Orange County’s City Councilmen, Mark McCurdy (R-Fountain Valley) resigned this afternoon, becoming OC’s fourth City Councilman to resign in as many months.  Josh Wilson (R-Los Alamitos) announced his resignation on October 30, Steve Hwangbo (R-La Palma) resigned on November 30, and Jerry Slusiewicz (R-Laguna Niguel) announced his resignation on December 7.

Running a few months ahead of this group of resignations, Bert Hack (D-Laguna Woods) resigned on May 23 after suffering a stroke, and the Laguna Woods City Council appointed Joe Rainey (R-Laguna Woods) to fill the remainder of his term, which expires in November.  Hack had served on the City Council since the founding of Laguna Woods in 1999.   Additionally, voters recalled Andrew Hamilton (R-Lake Forest) on January 2 and elected Tom Cagley (R-Lake Forest) to fill the remainder of his term, which expires in November.  Hamilton had been first elected to the Lake Forest City Council in 2014.

Today: Mark McCurdy of Fountain Valley

In an email released by the City, McCurdy cited a new job outside of the area, writing:

“At this time, I find it necessary to secure employment outside the area, and having no other option, to effective immediately, step down from my position serving on the City Council. It has been an honor to serve the citizens of Fountain Valley and, for that I will always be grateful.”

Just six weeks ago, McCurdy had been passed over for Mayor by his Council colleagues despite the Fountain Valley City Council’s long tradition of seniority dictating that it was McCurdy’s turn to be Mayor; he had similarly been passed over for Mayor Pro Tem the year before.   McCurdy had previously served as Mayor Pro Tem in 2012 and Mayor in 2013.  First elected to the Fountain Valley City Council in 2010, McCurdy had been the top vote-getter in 2014 (which broke his tie in seniority with Councilman Michael Vo, who became Mayor six weeks ago).

The Fountain Valley City Council will decide whether to appoint a replacement Councilmember or hold a special election to fill the remainder of McCurdy’s term, which expires in November.

October 2017: Josh Wilson of Los Alamitos

In October, Wilson resigned from the Los Alamitos City Council citing a new job as a credit union executive in Montana.  Wilson had been first elected to the Council just 11 months earlier when he had been the top vote-getter, surpassing two incumbents and unseating Councilman Dean Grose.  In a statement released by the City, Wilson said:

“Reaching the decision to leave Los Alamitos was difficult. I am sincerely appreciative of the community’s support and I am proud of my service to the city. I have the utmost confidence that Los Alamitos will continue to thrive under the leadership of the City Council and the dedication of the city staff.”

The Los Alamitos City Council appointed Mark Chirco (NPP-Los Alamitos) in December to replace Wilson.  Chirco will serve until the November election, when voters will elect a replacement to serve the remainder of Wilson’s term, which expires in 2020.

November 2017: Steve Hwangbo of La Palma

First elected in 2010, Hwangbo was the top vote-getter in his 2014 re-election to the La Palma City Council.  A rumored Republican candidate for the 65th Assembly District to challenge Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton), Mayor Pro Tem Hwangbo instead resigned from the City Council in November exactly one year to the day before term limits would have ended his Council service.  Hwangbo cited “personal reasons” according to a City press release.  He had been Mayor in 2013 and had been widely expected to become Mayor in 2018.  In an email to the Orange County Register, Hwango wrote:

“It was truly an honor and privilege to represent and serve fellow La Palma citizens for last seven years.”

The La Palma City Council appointed Kathy Flachmeier (NPP-La Palma) two weeks ago to replace Hwangbo.  She will be sworn into office tomorrow and will serve the remainder of Hwangbo’s term, which expires in November.

December 2017: Jerry Slusiewicz of Laguna Niguel

First elected to the Council in 2012, Slusiewicz had just been re-elected in 2016.  This year, Mayor Slusiewicz had challenged the legitimacy of a $410,000 contract overrun while he himself was accused of abusing his power as Mayor of Laguna Niguel to intimidate City staff and residents.  Consequently, the City Council threatened to remove Slusiewicz as Mayor.  Instead, he stepped down as Mayor in August but planned to remain on the Council.  However, in December, Slusiewicz resigned from the Laguna Niguel City Council after a bizarre incident in which his office window was damaged by an unknown object, possibly a bullet.  In a statement released by the City, Slusiewicz said:

“Serving the citizens of Laguna Niguel has always been a tremendous privilege and I am grateful to the taxpayers who twice elected me as their advocate. Yet my greatest commitment has always has been to my family and my highest honor serving as a husband and a father. Their safety is my top priority, and this has shaken us to the core. Considering the events of the last 48 hours, we have decided as a family that it would be unwise for me to remain on the City Council.”

Two weeks after Slusiewicz’s resignation, the Laguna Niguel City Council appointed former Mayor and current Orange County Board of Education Trustee Linda Lindholm (R-Laguna Niguel) to fill Slusiewicz’s seat until the November election, when voters will elect a replacement to serve the remainder of Slusiewicz’s term, which expires in 2020.  Planning to retire from public office by the end of 2018, Lindholm has already stated she will not be a candidate for either the Council seat or her Board of Education seat.

Posted in 65th Assembly District, Fountain Valley, La Palma, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Los Alamitos | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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 »

Quirk-Silva Denies Supervisorial Run in Response to Our Story: “Breaking News: Quirk-Silva to Run for Supervisor, Husband for Assembly”

Posted by Chris Nguyen on January 10, 2018

9:46 PM update: Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva denies our story, tweeting: “A lot of discussion about Congressional Seat 39, and 4th District Supervisor Seat, in OC.I am honored to get so many requests to run for Congress or Supervisor. A blog just posted false information that I am s [sic] candidate for Supervisor. I am running for re-election to

Reacting to this denial, two of our sources continue to insist that Quirk-Silva made a number of phone calls to potential donors and potential endorsers today about a Supervisorial run.

10:19 PM update: AD-65 challenger Alexandria Coronado responded to Quirk-Silva’s tweet: “it’s good 2 know u stand by your terrible gas tax vote, and want another 2 years to vote more – I am going to change that! ” and “Assembly, Congress, Supervisor, or any office you run for – the taxpayers will hold you responsible!

Original story below:

Sharon Quirk-Silva

Sharon Quirk-Silva

Multiple sources report to OC Political that Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton) is preparing to launch a bid for Fourth District Supervisor to succeed the termed out Shawn Nelson (R-Fullerton), who announced yesterday that he is running for the 39th Congressional District seat held by Ed Royce (R-Fullerton), who announced his retirement unexpectedly on Monday.  Quirk-Silva is entering the Fourth Supervisorial District race after former Assemblywoman Young Kim (R-Fullerton) left the race yesterday in order to run for Royce’s seat.  Former Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar) also entered the race for Royce’s seat yesterday.

No word yet on whether Quirk-Silva will clear the field of other Democrats running for Fourth District Supervisor: former firefighters’ union president Joe Kerr, La Habra Councilwoman Rose Espinoza, and La Habra School Board Member Cynthia Aguirre.  La Habra Mayor Tim Shaw remains the sole Republican candidate, but rumors abound of other potential Republican candidates.

Fewer (but still multiple) sources also report that Councilman Jesus Silva (D-Fullerton) will run to replace his wife in the 65th Assembly District.  Silva’s council seat expires in 2020, so if he wins the AD-65 swing seat, the Fullerton Council will appoint his replacement, but if he loses the AD-65 race, then he remains on the Council for at least two more years.  Former Orange County Board of Education President Dr. Alexandria Coronado (R-Cypress) is the only Republican running for AD-65.

Posted in 39th Congressional District, 4th Supervisorial District, 65th Assembly District | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Breaking News: Young Kim Enters CD-39 Race with Royce Endorsement

Posted by Chris Nguyen on January 9, 2018

Young Kim

Young Kim

Cross-posted to OC Daily…

Less than 36 hours after Congressman Ed Royce (R-Fullerton) unexpectedly announced his retirement after 13 terms in Congress, former Assemblywoman Young Kim (R-Fullerton) has entered the race to succeed Royce and dropped out of the race to succeed termed out Supervisor Shawn Nelson (R-Fullerton).

As OC Political noted this morning in our analysis of potential candidates for CD-39:

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).

The switch to Congress was so quick that Kim’s campaign committee does not yet have a Federal Election Commission (FEC) ID number, as seen by the disclaimer at the bottom of her web site:

Paid for by Young Kim for Congress. FEC ID# C00XXXXXX

In endorsing Kim, Royce said:

“We have an opportunity to elect an outstanding community leader to Congress – Young Kim. I can attest to Young’s dedication and abilities because she worked for me for almost 20 years, serving as a key advisor and community liaison. She knows our district, its people and its needs. She is a tireless and dedicated public servant. In Congress, Young will be an effective voice for middle class families and for policies that keep our country secure, grow jobs and increase economic opportunities for the people of our 39th district.”

The question now is: will Kim clear the field of any other Republicans, or will another formidable Republican jump in?  Conventional wisdom would have Republicans coalesce behind one candidate.  However, with the top-two primary, there is a scenario where two Republican candidates could work well.

In CD-31 in 2012, with four Democrats and two Republicans running, the top-two primary allowed Congressman Gary Miller and State Senator Bob Dutton to advance to an all-Republican run-off in a tough swing seat.  In CD-39 in 2018, there are currently six Democrats running.

Posted in 39th Congressional District, 4th Supervisorial District | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Breaking News: Eight Republicans Cross Aisle to Vote for Cap-and-Trade, Quirk-Silva Crosses Aisle to Vote Against Cap-and-Trade

Posted by Chris Nguyen on July 17, 2017

California State CapitolTonight, the State Legislature passed AB 398, the legislation extending cap-and-trade, passed the Senate 28-12 and the Assembly 55-22. The bill required 27 votes in the Senate and 54 votes in the Assembly.

Governor Jerry Brown will definitely sign the bill, considering his active efforts to lobby for cap-and-trade, his rare testimony in the Senate Environmental Quality Committee in favor of cap-and-trade, and his ebullient press conference tonight celebrating cap-and-trade’s passage.

All 27 Senate Democrats voted for cap-and-trade. 48 out of 54 Assembly Democrats voted for it. Eight Republicans in the Legislature voted for cap-and-trade: one Senator and seven Assemblymembers.

Most of the Orange County legislative delegation voted along party lines, with Republicans voting against cap-and-trade and Democrats voting for it.  The sole exception was Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton) who crossed the aisle to join the Republicans in voting against cap-and-trade.

Here are the eight Republicans who joined with most of the Democrats to vote for cap-and-trade:



Posted in 65th Assembly District, California, State Assembly, State Senate | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Democrats Cast More OC Primary Election Votes Than Republicans for First Time Ever

Posted by Chris Nguyen on June 8, 2016

Republican Presidential Nominee
Donald Trump

This is cross-posted to OC Daily.

In numbers that should scare Republicans across Orange County (and probably California, and maybe the United States), for the first time ever, more Orange County Democrats cast primary election ballots than Orange County Republicans did. Even in 2012, when Mitt Romney had sewn up the presidential nomination, more Republicans cast primary election votes than did in 2016. Even in the 2008 battle between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, Democrats could not surpass Republicans in primary election ballots cast.

Party 2008 2012 2016
Democrat 317,859 (67.8%) 139,316 (27.5%) 231,638 (49.5%)
Republican 373,587 (52.2%) 234,396 (34.5%) 205,988 (36.9%)

The 2012 general election was a bloodbath for Republicans:

  • Democrats captured 2 Assembly seats from Republicans.
  • Democrats captured 3 Senate seats from Republicans.
  • Romney beat Obama by just 6.3% in Orange County.

Gerrymandered districts likely saved Republicans in 2008.  The 2016 elections will be conducted under the same district lines that were first contested in 2012.

2016 threatens to be worse than 2012.  Nowhere in Orange County is that more evident than in AD-65.  Here is how Assemblyman Chris Norby did against challenger Mayor Sharon Quirk-Silva in the 2012 primary:

Vote Count Percentage
CHRIS NORBY (REP) 29,917 58.8%

Here is how Assemblywoman Young Kim did against challenger ex-Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva last night:

Vote Count Percentage
YOUNG KIM (REP) 25,575 47.0%

Norby led Quirk-Silva by 17.6% in the 2012 primary before losing to her in the general election by a 52%-48% margin.  Kim is behind in the 2016 primary by an even larger margin than Norby lost in the 2012 general.  Republicans will need to marshal massive financial and human resources in order to save the AD-65 seat.

Things look even bleaker in a swing seat that neighbors Orange County, where 66th District Assemblyman David Hadley is at 45.6% and trails ex-Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi:

Vote Count Percentage
AL MURATSUCHI (DEM) 36,832 48.3%
DAVID HADLEY (REP) 34,773 45.6%
MIKE MADRIGAL (DEM) 4,659 6.1%

The tri-county SD-29 is a good news, bad news situation for Republicans:

Vote Count Percentage
LING LING CHANG (REP) 52,131 44.8%
JOSH NEWMAN (DEM) 34,013 29.2%
SUKHEE KANG (DEM) 30,280 26.0%

As of the last reporting period ending May 21, Chang had $369,770 cash on hand, Newman had $21,835 cash on hand, and Kang had $173,086 cash on hand.  The good news is that Chang now faces a weaker, underfunded opponent for a key Senate target seat.  The bad news is Chang only got 44.8% of the vote in the primary.

Other scary numbers for Republican incumbents in Orange County last night:

  • Assemblyman Travis Allen has just 50.9% of the vote.
Vote Count Percentage
TRAVIS ALLEN (REP) 35,062 50.9%
NAM PHAM (DEM) 13,723 19.9%
  • Supervisor Andrew Do (R) is headed to a run-off with Michele Martinez (D), who he beat by 0.3% or 200 votes.
Vote Count Percentage
ANDREW DO 20,730 35.8%
PHAT BUI 11,026 19.1%
STEVE ROCCO 5,582 9.6%
  • Assemblyman Matthew Harper joins Assemblywoman Young Kim (who we discussed above) as the only two incumbents in Orange County who were not in first place.
Vote Count Percentage
KARINA ONOFRE (DEM) 33,570 42.5%
MATTHEW HARPER (REP) 30,614 38.7%
  • Orange County Board of Education President Robert Hammond (R) is breathing a sigh of relief that County Board of Education races are winner-take-all in June with no runoff, for he beat Beckie Gomez (D) by 1.9% or 961 votes:
Vote Count Percentage
ROBERT M. HAMMOND 21,100 42.4%
PAUL ZIVE 8,479 17.1%

There’s also the implications of California’s U.S. Senate race:

Vote Count Percentage
KAMALA D. HARRIS (DEM) 2,044,347 40.4%
LORETTA L. SANCHEZ (DEM) 939,107 18.5%
DUF SUNDHEIM (REP) 405,730 8.0%

With the top Republican vote-getter for U.S. Senate, Duf Sundheim, finishing a distant third, that means for the first time in California history, the November ballot for U.S. Senate will not include a Republican. Instead due to the top-two primary, only two Democrats will be on the U.S. Senate ballot in California.

Republicans face a tall order this fall to overcome the Democratic surge.  Republicans will have to unify behind Republican candidates.  The Republican Party must organize volunteers and raise significant funds.  The OC GOP must strengthen its financial and human infrastructure in order to defeat Democrats.  Otherwise, 2016 will be a bleak year indeed.

Posted in 1st Supervisorial District, 29th Senate District, 65th Assembly District, 72nd Assembly District, 74th Assembly District, California, Orange County Board of Education | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

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

Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 4, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Chris Nguyen on November 16, 2015

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

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

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

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

Daniel D. Billings

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

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

Stephen T. Blount

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

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

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

Steve Hwangbo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Salehi is a colorful figure:

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

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

No Surprise with OC GOP Endorsements: Chang for Senate, Kim for Assembly, Do for Supervisor

Posted by Chris Nguyen on November 2, 2015

The OC GOP Central Committee is convened in a special meeting tonight to consider early endorsements for Assemblyman Ling-Ling Chang for the 29th Senate District (being vacated by the termed out Bob Huff), Assemblywoman Young Kim for re-election in the 65th Assembly District, and Supervisor Andrew Do for re-election in the 1st Supervisorial District.

7:09 PM: Three new alternates were sworn in: J. Minton Brown (for Gene Hernandez), Ceci Iglesias (for Bob Huff), and Sara Catalan (for Ed Royce).

7:10 PM: Roll call began.

7:14 PM: Roll call was completed, and a quorum established.

7:15 PM: Chairman Fred Whitaker spoke about the OC GOP’s priorities in key State and County seats. County GOP endorsements are required before California Republican Party resources can help a candidate. In SD-29, that requires three county parties: Los Angeles, Orange, and San Bernardino. In AD-65, it only requires Orange.

7:20 PM: Steve Sarkis moved and Lake Forest Mayor Scott Voigts seconded the endorsement of Supervisor Andrew Do’s re-election.

7:21 PM: Do spoke of his 43-vote victory over front runner Lou Correa earlier this year. He spoke of the importance of the OC GOP endorsement in the special election against Correa. He spoke of having an all-Republican Board of Supervisors. He spoke of his seat having a 12% Democratic registration advantage. He reminded the OC GOP of union expenditures from the special election. He spoke of his efforts for transparency, fiscal responsibility, and public safety.

7:25 PM: Whitaker asked if there were any questions.

7:26 PM: Supervisor Todd Spitzer praisee Supervisor Do as an excellent and honorable member of the Board of Supervisors.

7:27 PM: Lake Forest Mayor Scott Voigts called the question.

7:27 PM: Fountain Valley Councilman Mark McCurdy asked Do about his efforts on AB 109.

7:27 PM: Do said he works with Probation to keep track of trends and take action when there are spikes in crime in local areas.

7:28 PM: Allan Bartlett thanked Do for his efforts against redevelopment.

7:29 PM: Do endorsed unanimously 45-0.

7:30 PM: Whitaker reads a letter from Congressman Ed Royce that describes how she is an anti-tax, pro-life, pro-2nd Amendment Republican legislator.

7:31 PM: Young Kim thanks the OC GOP for its efforts last year to defeat Sharon Quirk-Silva and break the Democrats’ 2/3 supermajority in the State Assembly. She speaks of fighting against new taxes. She says she cast over 2,400 votes as an Assemblymember. She says she has a pro-life, pro-2nd Amendment, and pro-taxpayer record. She says she has an
“A” rating from the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. She says she helped stop $30 billion in tax increases. She notes she has to vote to represent her constituents. She warns she is the #1 target set, and Democrats have $16 million for Assembly seats across the State. She warns that Sharon Quirk-Silva has $350,000 cash on hand while Kim has $450,000 cash on hand. Kim spent $2.2 million in 2014 while Quirk-Silva spent $4.5 million.

7:37 PM: Assemblywoman Ling-Ling Chang asked when did Quirk-Silva began her campaign to unseat Kim.

7:38 PM: Kim stated that the day she was sworn in, the Speaker of the Assembly started seeking an Asian candidate to unseat Kim. In March, the Democrats gave up on finding an Asian challenger and backed a new bid by Quirk-Silva.

7:39 PM: McCurdy criticized Kim’s voting record on vaccinations, redevelopment, and civil asset forfeiture.

7:40 PM: Kim stated vaccinations were a very personal decision. Kim spoke of her daughter’s two brain surgeries and compromised immune system.

She stated on redevelopment, she expressed concern to the redevelopment bill’s author, Assemblyman Luis Alejo, on property rights and eminent domain. Alejo assured her he would fix those items. She voted for the bill based on Alejo’s promise to fix the bill. When the bill returned to the Assembly for a concurrence vote, she did not vote for it because the promise was not kept.

On asset forfeiture, she said she spoke to law enforcement in her district who stated the asset forfeiture bill would make it more difficult for law enforcement to fight crime.

7:44 PM: Alexandria Coronado says she received 26 emails in opposition to Kim on redevelopment and vaccinations. She stated the running theme on the emails was that she was not responsive to their concerns.

7:45 PM: Kim explained that she had scheduled a meeting with the group in question but ran into conflict with the legislative busy period. She tried to reschedule, but the bill vote occurred before this rescheduled meeting could take place during the very rapid end-of-session period when she was required to be in Sacramento and could not get down to the district. She offered to meet with them now and left voicemails with them. 

7:48 PM: Someone named Mike Glenn asked about civil forfeiture and redevelopment.

7:48 PM: Kim explained law enforcement’s needs on civil forfeiture. She reiterated she did not support the redevelopment bill when it returned to the Assembly for a concurrence vote.

7:50 PM: Ed Gunderson asked Kim why she supported the LGBT Pride Month resolution.

7:51 PM: Kim stated the resolution, which did not have the force of law, recognized the contributions of all people, including LGBT individuals. She noted the California Republican Party’s chartering of the Log Cabin Republicans. She stated she voted for tolerance and inclusiveness.

7:52 PM: Allan Bartlett asked about asset forfeiture.

7:53 PM: Kim stated she voted her conscience in the interests of her district.

7:54 PM: Sara Catalan moves and Steve Sarkis seconds an endorsement fof Kim.

7:55 PM: Stanton Councilman David Shawver supported Kim, speaking of how hardworking Kim is. He spoke of the party’s resources, including time, manpower, and money, spent to keep the 65th Assembly District seat. He calls for the party to unify behind Kim to keep the seat. He said she has repeatedly and consistently been a fixture in the district.

7:58 PM: Zonya Townsend proposed delaying Kim’s early endorsement, citing her vote on SB 277, the vaccination bill, preferring a later endorsement. She stated many Democrats left their party over SB 277. Townsend argued the OC GOP resolution was contrary to Kim’s position. She criticized Kim for speaking on the Assembly Floor in favor of SB 277.

8:00 PM: Assemblywoman Ling-Ling Chang spoke of Kim being the only candidate who could defeat Quirk-Silva. She warned that Quirk-Silva is everywhere and that Quirk-Silva would be a far, far worse vote in the Assembly. She plead for people to look at the bigger picture. She warned that Democrats would spend millions in a presidential election year to capture the 65th Assembly District seat.

8:02 PM: Mike Glenn stated property rights are important. He said law enforcement should not take people’s assets, their property. He stated people should have the right to do what they want with their own body, and cited the vaccination bill. He said eminent domain threatens property rights. He stated he wanted to delay Kim’s endorsement, not oppose it.

8:04 PM: Assemblyman Matt Harper warned that Quirk-Silva is a hard worker who believes she is a little Loretta Sanchez. He called Quirk-Silva a true believer in liberalism. Harper stated Kim is one of the most capable members of articulating conservative positions making liberals wince. Harper stated people are quibbling with literally just a handful of votes.

8:06 PM: Zonya Townsend raised a point of parliamentary inquiry about delaying Kim’s endorsement instead of opposing.

8:07 PM: Supervisor Todd Spitzer raised a point of inquiry about what would a delay accomplish.

8:08 PM: Ed Gunderson said he agreed with Kim on 80%-90% of issues. Gunderson attacked the California Republican Party’s decision to charter the Log Cabin Republicans. He stated his concern of Kim contacting law enforcement on the civil forfeiture bill. He criticized her vaccination vote.

8:10 PM: Lake Forest Mayor Scott Voigts made a point of inquiry noting that 5 votes out of 2,400 means 99.9% of her votes are not being criticized.

8:11 PM: Kim overwhelmingly endorsed for re-election with 43 votes.

8:13 PM: Whitaker described the 29th Senate District, including Democrats moving Sukhee Kang from Irvine to run for the seat.

8:15 PM: Assemblywoman Ling-Ling Chang spoke of giving up a safe Republican Assembly seat to run for a target Senate seat. She spoke of having reduced legislative tenure under the new term limits by switching houses. She spoke of her conservative record in Sacramento.

8:17 PM: McCurdy asked Chang about her votes on redevelopment and civil asset forfeiture. He asked if she endorsed or contributed to Democrats or if she is pro-life.

8:18 PM: Chang pointed out she voted against the redevelopment bill on concurrence. She stated that due process was still in place on civil asset forfeiture. She stayed she has never endorsed a Democrat in a partisan race and that she is personally pro-life.

8:19 PM: Zonya Townsend asked Chang’s position on abortion and Planned Parenthood.

8:20 PM: Chang reiterated she is personally pro-life, and there are no Assembly votes on funding Planned Parenthood.

8:21 PM: Steve Sarkis moved and Stanton Councilman David Shawver seconded an endorsement for Chang.

8:22 PM: No opposition speakers rise.

8:22 PM: Chang endorsed by voice vote with only McCurdy in opposition.

Posted in 1st Supervisorial District, 29th Senate District, 55th Assembly District, 65th Assembly District, Republican Central Committee | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 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.

Posted in 37th Senate District | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »