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Do you remember former State Senator Rob Hurtt? He used to represent the 34th State Senate District, which is currently represented by Lou Correa.
Hurtt was elected to the Senate in a 1993 special election with 76% of the vote to represent the 32nd District after Senator Ed Royce vacated the seat to become a member of Congress. After redistricting, the district was renumbered the 34th District. During the 1990s, the 34th district consisted of portions of Anaheim, Fountain Valley, Garden Grove, La Palma, Santa Ana, Buena Park, Midway City, Stanton, and Westminster.
In 1998, Hurtt sought a second full term but was unexpectedly upset by attorney Joe Dunn, who defeated Hurtt by 51% to 49%.
I mention Hurtt because the current contest between Irvine Councilwoman Beth Krom and Congressman John Campbell reminds me a lot of the time when Dunn defeated Hurtt. No one expected Dunn to win, but he did. The Democrats have held on to that seat ever since, and I expect Correa to win again in November.
Hurtt is a lot nuttier than Campbell, but they are cut from the same cloth. Hurtt gave a ton of money to the Prop. 8 campaign, but that issue aside, he and Campbell have run on the same issues. To a great extent, Hurtt was also a hands-off legislator, and sure enough, Campbell is usually a no-show.
I remember that Hurtt didn’t want to campaign much or debate Dunn back in 1998, and he paid the price for it. Will Krom do the same thing to Campbell, who also is missing in action?
Irvine makes up a big portion of Campbell’s district, and whether you like or hate Krom and her Council ally, Larry Agran, the fact is Irvine residents like how their city is run. And, like clockwork, the Republicans have once again immolated in Irvine, this time Councilwoman Christina Shea yanked her support from the leading GOP candidate, Jeff Lalloway.
Will the Republican disarray in Irvine help bury Campbell? One has to wonder. Krom’s campaign has a lot of energy – while Campbell appears to have very little passionate support. In fact many Republicans I know in his district cannot abide him and are planning to vote for the Libertarian candidate instead.
Dunn ultimately beat Hurtt by delivering little potted plants to all the women voters, the week of the election. I wonder if Krom will be pulling something similar? It just might work again…