Where Do We Stand Now That Most All of the Primary Signups are Done?

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The Registrar of Voters Lobby at around 5 p.m.: unexpectedly uncrowded.

The Lobby of the Registrar of Voters Office at around 5 p.m. Friday: unexpectedly uncrowded.  Chairman Vern is third from the left, in the hat.


The state of the signups as of a week ago today was reported here, while the daily updates through Friday were (somewhat sporadically) reported here.  Now it’s time to figure out where we stand — and in many cases it’s nowhere near where we expected.  Remember that at least two races — CA-46 (Congressional from Central OC) and AD-55 (northernmost OC, Chino Hills, and eastern San Gabriel Valley in LA) will continue on until Wednesday, although people are telling me that no major changes are expected in either.

Race by race, then — let’s go!  (We’re going to skip the Presidential race this time.)

Working in Washington DC:

U.S. Senate:

The only real news from OC is that Loretta Sanchez did in fact commit herself to leaving Congress.   (Paul Merritt and Gar Myers are also on the ballot.  And a correction: Libertarian candidate Gail Lightfoot is not from OC.  I ask: why not?)

Loretta is trailing Kamala Harris (for whom, full disclosure, I volunteer here) but hopes to put together a coalition of Latinos, OC Democrats, Republicans, and Independents to squeeze her way into office.  She’d have to make the Top Two to do so — and may have problem doing so as Republicans seem to be consolidating behind former California GOP Chair Duf Sundheim.  Harris picked up 78.12% of the vote in the Democratic Party endorsements last month, which is an unusually high score.

U.S. House of Representatives

CA-38: Someone else can look up who’s running against Linda Sanchez — or, as I like to call her, Bernie Sanders’s choice for Vice President.

CA-39: We’ll have a one-on-one face-off between Incumbent Ed Royce and the moderate (yet somehow reformist!) former Mayor of Brea, Democrat Brett Murdock.

CA-45: Republican incumbent Mimi Walters faces Republican Mission Viejo Councilmember Greg Raths and two Democrats: Ron Varasteh and Max Gouron.  Walters is very likely to make the runoff in this conservative district, so the competition is for the second slot.  Raths probably matches up best against Schemin’ Mimi in the general election: it’s a conservative district, and he has that “anti-establishment + good government” edge that some of us think will play well this year.  If the balance between Varasteh and Gouron is even, Raths has a good chance.  If one of the other takes a substantial advantage of the up to 40% of vote that is likely to come to a Democrat, that Democrat will likely beat Raths.  (Disclaimer: I’ve volunteered for and served as an attorney for Varasteh.)

CA-46:  As noted above, filing for Loretta’s vacated seat will continue until April 16.  Handicapping this race will be it’s own separate story, to which I’ll try to remember to link here.

CA-47:  Barring something unexpected, and I haven’t even checked the LA Candidate’s list because this is enough of a time suck as it is, incumbent Democrat Alan Lowenthal will squash his 2014 opponent Andy Whallon (generally understood to be a libertarian, if not a Libertarian), Republican Sanford Kahn, or NPP Rob Rappaport — as well as whoever else might be running from LA.

CA-48:  Incumbent Republican Dana Rohrabacher, spared an intra-party fight by Colin Mellott, faces two Democrats who ran for the seat in 2014: Suzanne Savary and Robert Banuelos.  Savary beat Banuelos into the Top Two last time and I don’t see why that wouldn’t happen again.  But Dana can spare some voters to choose his own weaker opponent if he cares.  (I doubt that he does.)

CA-49:  Incumbent Republican Darrell Issa will face Democrat Douglas Applegate.  OJB is not going to look up the San Diego candidate log to see if anyone else filed.

Working in Sacramento

SD-29:  Incumbent Bob Huff’s protege Ling-Ling Chang was ordered to move up from AD-55 as counter-programming against new arrival in Fullerton Sukhee Kang, a Democratic former Mayor if Irvine.  Smart move.  But first Kang has to get past Democrat Josh Newman, who has been treated harshly by his party.  A charismatic and self-effacing veteran, he would probably be the stronger challenger to Chang in November, but the hapless Democratic hierarchy apparently thinks that the lesson of 2014 is that only Asians can win in North County, so one must be nominated.  Newman is the least known of the three, but he has the advantage of voters seeing him running against two Asian woman who will split the vote.  (Yes, Kang is actually male — but voters may not know that.  Until they see him, people seem to think that he’s female, based on his name, and he chose a ballot designation of “University Educator/Businessperson” that is gender neutral.  Making it “Businessman” would have largely solved that problem, but it’s too late now!)

SD-37:  Incumbent Republican John Moorlach will be opposed by Laguna Beach Democrat Ari Grayson. Barring the highly unexpected, he’ll be re-elected.  The Republican Party apparently did a great job of convincing termed-out Assemblyman Don Wagner to forego a rematch.  What will Wagner do now?  OJB is mystified.

AD-55:  This race is still open until Wednesday and will be the subject of its own separate story.  For the record, for now it’s Democrat Gregg Fritchle against Republicans Philip Chen and Steve Tye of Diamond Bar, Mike Spence of West Covina, Ray Marquez of Chino Hills, and sole Orange Countian James Gerbus of Yorba Linda.

AD-65:  Republican Assemblywoman Young Kim and Democratic former Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva will face off again to see whether the difference in result between 2012 and 2014 was the last of a Presidential election turnout or the lack of Chris Norby.

AD-68:  Don Wagner is termed out of this seat.  Five are Republicans: former Villa Park Councilwoman Deborah Pauly, Irvine Mayor Steven Choi, Orange Unified School District board member Alexia Deligianni-Brydges, former Anaheim City Councilman Harry Sidhu, and Anaheim Cultural & Heritage Commissioner Konstantinos “Kostas” Roditis.  Two are not.  Sean Jay Panati has filed as a Democrat and longtime Republican (but foe of the Curt Pringle Machine) Brian Chuchua will run as a “No Party Preference” independent.  [Disclosure: I’m part of Brian’s campaign and I encourage you to read my posts on this race with that in mind — though I won’t need to make things up!]  Panati is not likely to be a factor.  (Story on that coming up soon.)  Chuchua can expect support from Republicans who are (like him) close to Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait (though the Mayor himself has not been asked for his endorsement) Democrats close to Dr. Jose Moreno, and Independents who like the idea of the election of one of their own shaking up the California Legislature.   With Deb Pauly — who while best known for virulent anti-Muslim statements has had a similarly strong record on good government as Chuchua — likely being hampered by her recent DUI incident, Sidhu and Choi  have seemed most likely to head into a runoff.  The odds have just increased — especially with Deligianni-Brydges and Roditis splitting the GOP vote — that only one of them will make that cut.

AD-69:  Incumbent Business Democrat Tom Daly finally picked up a challenger in Republican Ofelia Velarde-Garcia, who I’m informed is a friend of 2014 candidate Cecilia Iglesias.  (Why didn’t Iglesias herself run?  Good question.  Plans for the fall?)

AD-72:  Incumbent Travis Allen is the prohibitive favorite to retain his seat — raising the interesting question of what he’ll do in 2018, with Janet Nguyen taking up his State Senate District 34 seat.  Take on Alan Lowenthal?  His challengers are Democratic Party Central Committee Member Nam Pham and embattled (more about that later) attorney Lenore Albert-Sheridan, to whom Vern has already introduced you.  I first became aware of Albert-Sheridan as the supposedly go-to OC lawyer for home foreclosures, back when we in Occupy were trying to help a victim of sketchy foreclosure in Irvine.  I had heard that there were “issues” about her, but had completely forgotten her name before she came out slamming me and Vern in an AD-72 forum on Facebook.  Then I learned about her facing bar discipline … and all I’ll say is that her new ballot designation is “Consumer Advocate/Economist.”  (I don’t know why, but I have my suspicions.)

AD-73:  Incumbent Republican Bill (“Bro”) Brough has no challenger.  A write in campaign — from a Republican (to seal the seat), Democrat, Green, Libertarian, or whatever — could still give him a challenger in November.  Barring something bizarre, he will win that challenge.

AD:74:  Improbable Incumbent Matthew Harper will be running against Karina Onofre, the Democrat who made his incumbency possible by sapping votes from DPOC insider favorite Anila Ali. He’s also being challenged by Republican Katherine Daigle of Irvine.

Working in the Courthouses

In Office #3, being vacated by Judge Gail Andler, the list of aspiring judges includes Megan Wagner, Andrew Stein, and Wayne Phillips.  Former Hungtington Beach City Attorney Jennifer McGrath decided not to run, over which OJB has a sad.  This is the only race that might go on to the November ballot.

In Office #40, being vacated by Judge Steven PerkLarry Yellin will face off against Thuy Dinh Pham.  This was the race for which Supervisor Shawn Nelson had originally filed, but he did not turn in his papers.  If we were the interviewing kind of publication, we would ask him why.

In Office #48, incumbent Judge Scott Steiner, who has been accused of involvement in a sex scandal with others in his office, will be opposed by Karen Lee Schatzle, who seems to be the Rackauckus Party candidate.  So, pick your poison.  I’ve never met Judge Steiner, but I should not comment on this race for other reasons (none of which involve a tie to anyone personally involved.)

In Office #49, an open seat made possible by the departure of Judge Elaine Streger, the contestants are Mike Murray and Thomas Martin.  OJB will keep its eyes on this and all other judicial races, possibly as filler for slow weeks.

Working at the Orange County Board of Education

Each of the three races up this year has three contestants, although in two of the races the third contestant has been swapped out since coverage started.  The Board — which had had a moderate Republican majority that, among other things, did not necessarily oppose charter schools but also did not try to wave them through uncritically — switched to a very conservative Republican majority that, among other things, waves through that had been rejected by cities fairly uncritically.  The incumbents in Areas 1 and 3 are part of the new majority; the incumbent in Area 4 is part of the old one.  PLURALITY VOTE WINS IN THIS ELECTION, which is why splitting the vote is a major issue.

Area 1:  Incumbent Robert Hammond faces a challenges from Beckie Gomez in this most liberal of the five districts.   Middle school teacher Paul Zive has also joined the race.

Area 3:  Incumbent Ken Williams faces a challenge from Irvine Unified School Board Member Michael Parham.  School Administrator Margaret Brown is also in the race.

Area 4:  Incumbent Jack Bedell faces challenges from Zonya Marcenero- Townsend and Chris Norby.  Bedell is a Republican and an educator, but with David Boyd is in the current Board minority.  Marcenera-Townsend is a traditional conservative; former Assemblyman/Supervisor Norby is a libertarian conservative.

Working on the Board of Supervisors

1st District:  Four candidates in this race.  One is Steve Rocco, so let’s talk about the other three.    Incumbent Andrew Do will face fellow Republican Garden Grove Councilmember Phat Bui Democratic Santa Ana Councilmember Michelle Martinez,  Why is Bui running?  As Vern noted, the chisme is that there was a schism with his predecessor Janet Nguyen.  If that’s true, and if Bui can make it into a runoff with Martinez, that will tell us something significant about the scope of the power Janet still wields from Sacramento.  I wonder if Janet regrets some of the stunts she pulled for Do in the special election against Lou Correa, who was too weak and timid to pursue them in court.

3rd District:  No one is currently running against incumbent Todd Spitzer.  Normally, one could say “hey, someone, set up an official write-in campaign, write your name in, and take him on in November!”  But a majority vote gives him a victory in June — and nothing in the normal course of politics will stop that, even if everybody declared write-in candidacies and ran against him.  It’s over.

County Party Central Committees

Let’s do the Republicans first this time.  (We’re not covering Peace & Freedom.  Disappointing.)  I know that Democrats now have four year terms; I’m unsure about whether Republicans do.  (Chris Nguyen — take it from here!)  Both major parties are able to elect 42 members — six in each of the County’s seven full or partial Assembly Districts.

REPUBLICAN PARTY [6 open seats per district]

55th AD — Filed: 17.  Qualified: 15.  Incumbents marked with an *.

Peggy Huang*, Brett Barbre*, Gene Hernandez*, Tim Shaw*, Karla Downing*, Dennis White*, Craig Young, James Gerbus, Tara Campbell, Desare Ferraro, , Ed Gunderson, Irene Yezbak, Michael Patrick Withrow, Susi Khan, and Nadia White.

65th AD — Filed: 17.  Qualified: 16.  Incumbents marked with an *.

David John Shawver*Baron Night*, Alexandria Coronado*, Jerry Jackson*, Shawn Nelson*, Steve Sarkis, Sou Moua, Chris Gaarder. Charles Kim, Zonya Marcenaro Townsend, Chris Norby, Peter Kim, Sean Paden, Beverly Gunter, Jack Bedell, Tim Milosch, and Leroy Mills

68th AD — Filed: 19.  Qualified: 19.  Incumbents marked with an *.

Deborah Pauly*Todd Spitzer*, Scott Voigts*, Mark Bucher*, Fred Whitaker*, Jeffrey Lalloway*, Ray Grangoff, David Sarega, Denis Bilodeau, Nick Wilson, Karen Lee Schatzle, Patricia Welch, Ken L Williams, Trevor O’Neil, Michael Parham, Steven Choi, Zach Collins, Dominica Kristedja, and Jon Fleischman

69th AD — Filed: 9.  Qualified: 9.  Incumbents marked with an *.

Tim Whitacre*, Robert Hammond*, Thomas Anthony Gordon*, Maribel Marroquin*, Brett Frankin*, Alberta Christy, Steven Nguyen, Cecilia Iglesias, and Angie Cano

72nd AD — Filed: 11.  Qualified: 11.  Incumbents marked with an *.

John W. Briscoe, Kermit Marsh*, Andrew Do*, Charlotte Christiana*, Michael Gates*, Tyler Diep, Dean Grose, John Briscoe, Phat Bui, P.J. Garcia, Pat Garcia

73rd AD — Filed: 14.  Qualified: 12.  Incumbents marked with an *.

Jennifer Beall*, Tony Beall*, Greg  Woodard*, Mary Young*, Mike Munzing*, Lisa BartlettEric StolaskiJames Lacy, Ed SachsLaurie Davies, Roberta Turbow, Cathy Schlict

74th AD — Filed: 19.  Qualified: 14.  Incumbents marked with an *.

T. J. Fuentes*, Rhonda Rohrabacher*, Scott Baugh*, Jeff Mathews*, John Warner*, Katherine Daigle, Peter Van Voorhis, Tom Pollitt, David Boyd, Scott Peotter, Michael McClellan, Erik Weigand, Carol Woodworth, Cari Swan, Anthony Kuo, Elizabeth Parker, Jon Aiken, David Whitley, Mike Glenn

DEMOCRATIC PARTY [6 open seats per district]

55th AD — Filed: 4.  Qualified: 3.  Incumbents marked with an *.  NOT ON BALLOT

Jeff Letourneau*, Molly Muro*, Greg Diamond

65th AD — Filed: 5.  Qualified: 4.  Incumbents marked with an *.  NOT ON BALLOT

Marti Schrank*, Monika Broome*, Jesus Silva*, and Arnel Dino.

68th AD — Filed: 10.  Qualified: 7.  Incumbents marked with an *.  ON BALLOT

David Sonneborn*Melissa Fox*Ted Perle*, Florice Hoffman*Paul LucasKen Wyant, and Dan Chmielewski.

69th AD — Filed: 11.  Qualified: 6.  Incumbents marked with an *.  NOT ON BALLOT  [Update: a seventh person qualified]

Jose F. Moreno*, Carina Franck-Pantone*, Sharon Toranto, Art Hoffmann, Rickk Montoya, Jim Pantone

72nd AD — Filed: 11.  Qualified: 6.  Incumbents marked with an *.  NOT ON BALLOT

Jim Moreno*, Shelly Haggerty*, Nam Pham*, Mark Paredes, Vong Xavier Nguyen, and Victor Valladares

73rd AD — Filed: 5.  Qualified: 5.  Incumbents marked with an *.  NOT ON BALLOT

Bill Honigman,* Fran Sdao*, Anita Narayana*, Denise Penn*, and Deborah Cunningham-Skurnik.

74th AD — Filed: 12.  Qualified: 7.  Incumbents marked with an *.  ON BALLOT

Janice Burstin*, Marleen Gillespie*, Dean Inada*, Jonathan Adler*, Andrew Gallagher, Farrah Khan, and Jill Cseresznyak

There will definitely be another story written about this section.

Its tentative title is: “15, 16, 19, 9, 11, 12, 14 vs. 347-6657: Why OC Democrats Don’t Need Toes to Count”.


2016-0314-1545:  A knowledgeable source suggests the answer to the question “Whither now, Don Wagner?  I feel silly not to have thought of it, but I’m not yet in “general election mode” — which, if one is, it is obvious.  If Steven Choi makes the Top Two in AD-68 (see my disclaimer under that heading), he’ll run for Irvine Mayor.  Do Democrats have anyone who can beat him?  I leave that question as an exercise for the reader.

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.)