State of the 37th State Senate Special After Moorlach Grabs a 26-6 Endorsement from the CRA


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Moorlach celebrating CRA endorsement

Image of “Big Jawn” Moorlach digitally enhanced. Arguaibly, digitally ruined. Whichever.

For anyone who’s been worrying that endorsements from all of OC’s wrong Republicans would give Don Wagner an unreachable head start in the 37th State Senate District race — you can settle down now.  It looks like we’ll still have a race to talk about.  John Moorlach just won the endorsement of the local chapter of the California Republican Assembly (“CRA”) by almost ten points more than Tony Rackauckas beat me for OCDA last June.  (Scroll down far enough in that link that you’ll see them endorsing Brett Barbre over me for Muni Water Board.  Knaves!  Imbeciles!  But I digress….)

The CRA’s vote was 26-6, or 81.25%.  As the ideological activist organization associated with the GOP — a bit like the Progressive Democrats of America or Democracy for America on my side of the aisle, but with much more clout in our fine county — beating his opponent by almost three touchdowns may have more of an effect than one might imagine.  I’m not much of a Moorlach supporter — but I do want this to be a good race.

OK, to be honest, this is the late comedian Buddy Hackett, not Don Wagner, but OJB thinks that it’s close enough!

A candidate’s own war chest matters, of course — as do independent expenditures — but in a small race like this the endorsements of major organizations matter as well.  The Republican Party is reportedly not going to endorse.  The Democratic Party has no one to endorse, about which I will grumble another time.  The Lincoln Club could, I suppose, endorse — and they might be more on board with former Supervisor and anti-spending ninja assassin Moorlach than comfortably ineffectual State Assemblyman Wagner, who is almost-but-not-quite pictured at right — but no parajito has murmured of their plans.  AtlasPAC does not seem to acknowledge the existence of the election.  That means that the only recognizable political organization that is likely to be coming out for either of the two men is the CRA.  An endorsement without a counterweight can have unexpected power.

If Moorlach can get word of this endorsement out in print — admittedly, a big “if” given his disadvantage in campaign cash, but again there could be IEs —  then that should be a clear sign for the sort of voters who think they should vote but need some guidance.

Some Republican voters may look to their local elected officials for that guidance — and Wagner (as one would expect of an elected legislator) has a big advantage there.  Just look at who he has in his corner!  He has Representatives Ed Royce and Mimi Walters — who though the end of 2014 “represented” this district from her mansion in Laguna Niguel, having given up the apartment she “resided in” in Irvine about a year ago; State Senators Bob Huff, Pat Bates, and Janet Nguyen; fellow Assembly Members Travis Allen, Young Kim, Bill Brough, and Ling Ling Chang, who apparently want him OUT of their chamber; County DA Tony Rackauckas and Sheriff Sandra Hutchins, incoming Supervisor Michelle Steel and more — pretty much the whole freak show, plus a passel of slavering development interests.  He doesn’t list local officials — but, if the writings on the CunningBlog are any indication, Curt Pringle and his band of flying monkeys do seem to be tilting towards Wagner.  (This may not just be to suck up to powerful electeds but also because he may be eyeing Wagner’s Assembly seat for Kris Murray.)  If you want “more of the same” — that’s his motto!

It’s sort of interesting to see who’s NOT on the list.  Reps. Dana Rohrabacher and Darrell Issa.  Asmb. Matt Harper.  Supervisors Todd Spitzer (who represents most of this district) and Shawn Nelson (who has openly endorsed Moorlach.)  Moorlach’s other endorsers include Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait, who reportedly has some sway with Republicans in the County (particularly Anaheim Hills, which is within the district) and Costa Mesa’s Eric Bever.  In other words, Wagner has support among the “Go Along to Get Along” Republican electeds and lacks support among the “Does Not Play Along to Get Along With Horrifying Republicans” ones.

Where Moorlach likely has an advantage is in frenzied, foaming, pulsating activists — the sorts who have the energy that Wagner will have to purchase.  It’s not just in the CRA; it’s also online.  The OCTeaParty blog has a piece smacking Wagner for his supposed openness to an amnesty proposal — which, without researching it, I’m guessing is his essentially saying that he’ll just go along with GOP party leadership on whatever, something that Moorlach is less likely to do.

Conservative blogger Robyn Nordell has come out guns blazing for Moorlach on her “Conservative California Election Website” and warns her readers “Expect UNIONS to spend a massive amount of time, resources, and money to try to keep John Moorlach from winning this seat.”  I’m really not sure that that’s true.  Yes, unions do hate Moorlach for reasons good (he doesn’t like them either) and bad (he opposes boondoggles that can employ small numbers of unionized employees for limited period of time at great public cost and substantial strain on the social fabric — and yes, I am thinking of the 405 toll roads).  But as with Hapless Matt Harper’s being chosen to go to Sacramento over favored Keith Curry, there’s a good argument to be made from the union perspective for just getting that guy the hell out of the county and making him the entire state’s problem.  Unions have got enough to contend with right now without spending money to ensure the presence of a quietly contemptuous Don Wagner type in the Legislature.  (If Wagner wants to clarify that he’s not contemptuous of unions, OJB will be happy to print it — and Moorlach will probably be happy to reprint it!)

Which was will Democrats go — if, indeed, Democrats vote in this election at all?  On March 17, my guess is: neither.

Meet Naz Namazi.  Iranian-American.  Filmmaker.  Realtor.  Political volunteer and staffer. Deputy Campaign Manager.  In fact, Staffer and Deputy Campaign Manager for Dana Rohrabacher — who also represents much of the southern portion of the district.  And, having just started as a staffer for Rohrabacher in January 2015, she is probably not running without Crazy Dana’s knowledge and permission.

Namazi has some decent technical credits (ranging up to Second Assistant Director and Art Director) on three films, none of which seem to have much of an audience.  (Note: This will change if she is elected!)  She has uploaded some work onto YouTube — I’m not sure which of the ones not clearly based in OC are her own work — one of which I found deeply affecting after watching it to the end.  I think that many Democrats and Republicans will agree with me.

Ha-ha! OK, try this one, which I promise will not end on a similar tone.

OK. Don’t give up.  One more. This one is more polished.

Hey, I liked that one!  (Well, I also liked the first one.)  This one has only 20 views so far, so lets see if we can make it go viral — or, failing that, at least get it to 25 or so.

I think that I can speak for all Democrats when I saw that this is the sort of sensibility we would like from a State Senator from this part of the County.  In fact, judging from his chatty and piquant newsletters, had John Moorlach been born later, as an artistic female Persian emigrant rather than an accounting oriented Dutch emigrant, I could imagine him making movies much like this.  (All right, maybe not much like it — but coming a lot closer than I can imagine Wagner doing.)

Seriously: if Namazi manages to get the word out that she is an artistic and slightly quirky Persian woman, I think that she pretty much has the Democratic (and perhaps the NPP) vote well-in-hand.  The problem is that there may not be much of that there may not be much of that vote.  But Democrats may want to consider this: a vote for Namazi is a vote against either Wagner or Moorlach getting 50% of the vote — and will therefore be a vote for two more months without Mimi Walters being replaced in the State Senate.  And if that’s not enough, maybe we also have a decent shot at seeing a frustrated Don Wagner cry.  Politically speaking, can things get much better than that?


About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-retired due to disability, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally runs for office against bad people who would otherwise go unopposed. Got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012; Josh Newman then won the seat in 2016. In 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002; Todd Spitzer then won that seat in 2018. Every time he's run against some rotten incumbent, the *next* person to challenge them wins! He's OK with that. Deposed as Northern Vice Chair of DPOC in April 2014 (in violation of Roberts Rules) when his anti-corruption and pro-consumer work in Anaheim infuriated the Building Trades and Teamsters in spring 2014, who then worked with the lawless and power-mad DPOC Chair to eliminate his internal oversight. Expelled from DPOC in October 2018 (in violation of Roberts Rules) for having endorsed Spitzer over Rackauckas -- which needed to be done. None of his pre-putsch writings ever spoke for the Democratic Party at the local, county, state, national, or galactic level, nor do they now. One of his daughters co-owns a business offering campaign treasurer services to Democratic candidates and the odd independent. He is very proud of her. He doesn't directly profit from her work and it doesn't affect his coverage. (He does not always favor her clients, though she might hesitate to take one that he truly hated.) He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)