The Tom Tait Congressional Trial Balloon that Wasn’t — but What If It Had Been?


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Maybe some people think that it’s funny to give poor old John Moorlach a fainting spell by printing an ad for a Dec. 16 holiday fundraiser for Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait’s campaign for the 45th Congressional District — but I think it’s cruel.  Nevertheless, that’s what Matt Cunningham’s (or the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce’s, whichever) Anaheim Blog has just done.  I print a cleverly cropped version here to make it even more stunning.

"Tait for Congress" mailer“Well,” said I, on first looking at this, “I certainly am out of THIS loop!”

Upon being revived by the smelling salts, Moorlach would have discovered that the fundraiser whom he shares with Tait simply made an error, repurposing Moorlach’s own fundraising flyer but forgetting to swap out the reference to the race for Congress for a reference to the race for Anaheim Mayor.

This is less embarrassing for Tait than it is for the people Tait hired.  I’ll omit the name of the fundraiser in the Anaheimian spirit of kindness — but I’m told the guy who hired her is former State Sen. John Lewis, who clearly needs to devote some more attention to Quality Control issues, unless his contract with Tait specifies that the candidate is responsible for proofreading fliers put out by the consultants.

Still, this little error got me thinking.  With all due respect to the City of Anaheim, this would be a great move for Tait.  (Not economically — it would be bad news for the business he runs — but it would serve the dual purpose of putting him into the seat for perhaps two decades and keeping someone who might be the more typical kind of Orange County Congressional Republican out of it.  When you’re in a group with Royce, Issa, and Rohrabacher — and Campbell is not exactly a tough act to follow — it’s not hard to be considered the pick of the litter.

I’ll learn more about this race tomorrow at a secret meeting — well, not “secret” so much as “private” — but my inquiries thus far have suggested that no Democrat yet seems to be running.  If one does — and has any meaningful budget — that person will be able to make it into the runoff against what are currently four announced Republicans, who (to be generous) might be dividing up 70% of the primary vote, meaning that only one probably makes it out alive.

Scott Lay lists the following as “probable candidates” in the race:

  • John Moorlach (Republican) – Supervisor, Orange County
  • Tom Tait (Republican) – Mayor, Anaheim
  • Greg Raths (Republican) – Retired Marine Corps Colonel
  • Mimi Walters (Republican) – Member, State Senate
  • Pat Maciarellio (Republican) – Investor

All but Tait are announced.  Tait — this “trial balloon” notwithstanding — has denied any interest in running for Congress.  But, gosh darn it, what if he did?

I think that he’d win.

The four announced candidates hail from different sides of the Republican Party.  Walters, if she went to Congress, would probably be OC’s answer to the departing Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann.  Pat Maciarellio seems to be a Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan-style moony trickle-downer.  Greg Raths, from what I can tell probably trailing the pack, is a Rohrabacher-like muscular foreign policy conservative — except neither a libertarian nor a chickenhawk.  (I know least about him, but I have a hard time seeing him making the top two, so the following analysis discounts that prospect.)

Moorlach, a green-eyeshades type with a sly sense of humor, will probably be the Lease Offensive Republican Alternative for many.  That he’s sharp is evident from the fact that he’s holding his own fundraiser on Monday, December 9 — the evening following the OCTA vote on the 405 toll lanes!  Moorlach has been strong on that issue — which, if memory serves, is something to which our own Vern Nelson personally introduced him! — on the OCTA Board; he’ll have popular opinion on his side as a result.  While that is more of an issue in Al Lowenthal’s West County CA-47 than in South/East County CA-45, it will help him substantially in fundraising and give him credibility as a “good government” type.  The problem is that, as an OC Supervisor, other things detract from his credibility in that respect, as the County is lacking in good governance.  (Plus, who knows what the FBI may be up to and who will end up besmirched by it?  That’s why I think you’ll see a Democrat running, “just in case.”)

The arrival of Tait on the scene would cut Moorlach’s legs out from under him.  Newport Beach voters would just eat up Tom Tait (and his wife Julie) with a spoon.

That’s not likely to happen, because Tait says that he doesn’t want to be anything in politics but Anaheim’s Mayor.  But if he did — well, he could hardly have a better mission in life then to spread the message of kindness and tolerance within the Republican Congressional delegation.

Oh well — if he makes it to Congress, Moorlach would at least be an improvement on his GOP peers, someone that could be approached for a reasonable vote on a reasonable plan some of the time.  But, just to be safe, don’t be surprised if Moorlach attends Tait’s fundraiser with a bunch of paying friends, all encouraging him to run — for re-election as Anaheim’s Mayor.

(Won’t it be funny if two of the people most responsible for Moorlach making to to Congress were Tait and Vern?)


About Greg Diamond

Worker's rights attorney now moving into "good governance" litigation. North Vice Chair of Democratic Party of Orange County and occasional candidate. Proud to be prolix. Unless otherwise specifically stated, his writings never speak for the Democratic Party at the local, county, state, national, or galactic level. He tries to either suppress or openly acknowledge his partisan, issue, ideological, and "good government" biases in most of his writing here. If you have a question about any particular writing, just ask him about it and (unless you are an pseudonymous troll) he will probably answer you at painful length. He lives in Brea but generally doesn't blog about it. A family member works as a campaign treasurer for Wendy Gabriella in AD-73; he doesn't directly profit from that relatively small compensation and it doesn't affect his coverage. He does advise some campaigns informally and without compensation, although in 2014 he may receive some compensation for campaign consulting and fundraising for the campaign of Jorge Lopez for Orange County Assessor.