OC Results #5: Orange to Tustin (minus Santa Ana)

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Lots of drama in Central OC!



Incumbent Republican Mark Murphy got 59.4% of the vote over OJB-endorsed Adrienne Gladson.  We stand by our judgment.

District 1

Arianna Barrios got about 41% of the vote; David Vazquez, 26%, Eugene Fields, 18%, and Christian Vaughn’s, 15%.  I get the sense that this is a pretty unfriendly district for reformers.  (If Barrios hires Kris Murray as her aide, we’ll let you know!)

District 2

Jon Dumitru won with 41.3%, OJB-and-Berniecrat-endorsed Martin Varona got 22.3%, Carolyn Alatorre got 19.5%, and Daniel Correa got 16.9%.  Dumitru will be an embarrassment to those capable of that emotion.  Varona did quite well for a young first-timer — and we encourage him to attend the meetings!  If the other two hadn’t been in a race that was probably a referendum on Dumitru, who knows how well Varona might have done!

District 3

Incumbent Mayor Pro-Tem Mike Alvarez won with 50.8% of the vote, but he’s on our radar now and we may have one or two correspondents from Orange!  John Russo got 28.6% and OJB and Berniecrat endorsed. Danett Abbott Wicker got 22.4%.  Another tough district!  Danett will be back!

District 5

What’s this?  OJB-endorsed Ana Gutierrez beat Rick Ledesma with 52.3% of the vote?  We sure didn’t see that coming — but we’ll take it!


District 1

Incumbent Rhonda Shader beat Devon Gray by only 150 votes (6.5%) — which is pretty good!  We’ll keep an eye on the young man, unless he goes into one or another administration.

District 3

Jeremy Yamaguchi won unopposed.

District 5

Ward Smith beat Hilaire Fuji Shioura for the Republican incumbent sweep.  Ryan, ever-worried about municipal pension reform, is surely pleased.

Rancho Santa Margarita

Incumbents Tony Beall and Carol Gamble won the two at issue with about 28% and 20% respectively.  Glenn Acosta got about 14%, and you don’t get to Beth Schwatz in fourth place to find someone we liked.  Five others trailed.

San Clemente

Ten candidates running for two seats!  Incumbent Gene James won with almost 19% and Fran Sdao love object Chris Duncan won with almost 18%.  We ran out of time to endorse, which was just as well.

There was also a short-term seat open, which was won by Steven Knobloch, with almost 24%, beating Jim Dahl, with almost 22%, OJB mildly almost sort of endorsee Donna Vidrine with over 18%, and five others.

San Juan Capistrano

District 5

Howard Hart beat OJB-endorsed Libertarian John Alpay, 66% to 34%.

Seal Beach

District 2

Thomas Moore, with 69%, beat Carole Damoci, with the rest.

District 4


The incumbents won.  But we have stories.

District 2

Greg endorsed Hong Alyce Van, who as a direct result beat Dewayne Allen Normand, 51.8% to 48.2%.

District 4

Vern endorsed Carole Warren — and her winning with just over 50% two opponents should assuage any guilt he may have about it being on Election Day.  Greg still thinks that he remembers what he remembers — but no longer cares.


Nine candidates for three seats.  As expected, incumbent Letitia Clark (with 20.5%) and Beckie Gomez (with 16.7%) took the top two spots.  The story lies within the other 63.8% of the vote.

Four candidates finished packed between 15.8% and 9.5% of the vote.  From the bottom, AJ Jha finished 6th with 9.7%.  Jorge Valdez got 11.8%.  Two white males, Democrat Lee Fink and Republican Ryan Gallagher — the only ones in the top 7 — fought for the third seat.

Greg had his doubts about endorsing Lee because he comes from the establishment wing of the party, which — based on years of painful experience — was often prone to freeze out those in the progressive faction, like Beckie Gomez.  Lee showed up in the comments section and said that Republicans had a 4-1 majority over Clark, and that Democrats needed all three seats to win a governing majority — and that he was the one riding their coat tails.  I got it — and Vern and I immediately endorsed him.

Some other progressives did not.  Now I’m not saying that Gallagher, a water engineer, is a bad guy; I only know what I’ve read about him.  But I know that I disagree with the two incumbents singing his praises on his web site.

So: Gallager beat Fink by 498 votes, or 0.65%.  There’s a lesson here for my fellow fans of Beckie Gomez who did not support Fink as well.  Are you happy with a result?  As explained here, it was not really “optional” if we wanted Beckie to have the power to govern.

I don’t know much about the other candidates who finished at 10% (rounded) or above), but my guess is that their voters would have more likely supported Fink than Gallagher.  The Lavender Dems voters, who endorsed only Gomez, would likely have gone very much towards Fink, if asked and if the stakes were made clear.

Republicans are really good at getting these messages out and at getting compliance from their supporters.  Democrats are really bad at it.  That has a long history with fault on both sides — but what it comes down to is that Democratic leadership does not have the credibility to get the word out about what the stakes were and why, and that on this vote Gomez was not particularly endangered and Fink’s win was critical.  Progressive have to be willing to take those messages seriously when they are respected enough to be treated like intelligent adults with independent minds rather than grunts to be moved around like game pieces.  But to get them to be willing, the political establishment has to do more to build credibility with them.  And, by the way, just posting an endorsement on a slate is really insufficient in a vote like this.

I’m sorry that Lee didn’t win — but I bet that Beckie is more sorry.  And that should make progressives all around OC sorry too.

Villa Park and Yorba Linda

No election; the incumbents (and favored others) won unopposed.

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.)