2004 Primary Election Recap

Sorry I have not posted anything of late – I have been out of town. Here is a recap of yesterday’s 2004 California primary election:

Marsh campaign leads to all Democrat runoff for O.C. Board of Supervisors

Just as I predicted – the dark horse campaign of Westminster City Councilman Kermit Marsh failed to get him into the runoff against the leading candidate for the Orange County Board of Supervisor’s First District, but he managed to take away enough Republican votes from Santa Ana Council Member Brett Franklin to ensure that we will now have an all Democrat runoff. In that runoff we will have to pick between two Democrats who cater to unions – termed out State Assemblyman Lou Correa and Garden Grove Mayor Bruce Broadwater. Yuck! I think I might have to vote for “none of the above.”

I wrote a few weeks ago about the fact that Tim Whitacre, the Chair of the 69th Assembly District Oversight Committee for the Republican Party of Orange County, chose to pick sides in the primary by backing Marsh, and by supporting Alexandria Coronado against another Republican, Virgel Nickell, plus Whitacre ended up helping Ruben Ross instead of Otto Bade, as they ran for the 69th Assembly District. Nice going Tim. We know what Marsh ended up achieving – and as it turns out Bade handily beat Ross, and while Coronado beat Nickell, the latter ended up getting elected to the Republican Party of Orange County’s Central Committee. High comedy! Nickell will now serve side by side with – you guessed it – fellow committee member Tim Whitacre. Tom Fuentes, the OC GOP Chair, might want to seat these guys in different aisles.

Also, while Franklin lost his supervisorial campaign (more on that later) he did manage to get elected to the OC GOP Central Committee. That means Franklin will now have to contend with Whitacre as well. It sounds like Whitacre is going to be surrounded by folks he slighted.

Franklin loss easily explained

Santa Ana Council Member Brett Franklin is a handsome guy and he looks like the prototypical Republican. However, throughout Franklin’s career in politics he has never learned how to play to the Republican base. Franklin has had to run for office in a city that has a distinct edge in Democrat voter registration. As such, he has been loathe to appear to be too Republican. He was also too careful regarding union issues. Franklin might have won if he had come out and slammed the Orange County PLA from the start of his campaign. If you recall, the PLA (project labor agreement) essentially barred non-union contractors from bidding on Orange County public works until 2005.

Franklin also had to contend with the fact that the most conservative activists in the local GOP chose to back Marsh because he was one of their own. Franklin’s campaign failed to answer several candidate questionnaires put out by pro-life and pro-family groups, whereas Marsh catered to these activists. The results? Franklin lost just enough votes to Marsh to ensure an all Democrat runoff for the First Supervisorial District, in Orange County. That is too bad – but the lesson to learn is that Republican voters need to hear that their candidates reflect their values. Yes, Franklin was running for a non-partisan seat. However, he needed GOP voters in order to win, and he failed to energize enough of them to make a difference.

Franklin also angered local community leaders on the west side of Santa Ana when he helped to broker a deal with local Vietnamese activists and businessmen in Westminster and Garden Grove. They wanted a “welcome to Little Saigon” sign to be put up in Santa Ana. The outcry against the sign was palpable, mostly becuase the sign was going to be placed in a part of Santa Ana where there were in fact hardly any Vietnamese businesses. Franklin’s support for the sign cost him dearly at the polls.

Maddox goes down in flames

Good riddance. Termed out State Assemblyman Ken Maddox was trounced by anti-PLA State Assemblyman John Campbell, for the 35th State Senate District. Maddox will now end up working for the AFL-CIO – mark my words.

In related news, the 68th Assembly District, which belonged to Maddox, will now belong to Van Tran, who beat the tar out of his opponent, Mark Leyes, who was a former Democrat imported to Orange County by Curt Pringle. Leyes has proven that he cannot win the big races. Time to retire Mark! Congratulations to Van!

Pacheco loses!

I was saddened by the fact that Bill MacAloney lost in his attempt at the 60th Assembly District. The good news was that Gayle Pacheco, the wife of the termed out incumbent, lost too! I cannot stand Gayle’s husband, Bob, because he never did much for other Latino Republican candidates when he was in office. Also, he hired an old supposedly ex-Democrat I know who had a hand in losing the 69th Assembly District to Lou Correa a few years ago. Bob Huff, a Council Member in Diamond Bar, will be the GOP candidate.

DeVore trounces Cristich

Chuck DeVore won easily against former Clinton supporter Cristi Cristich for the 70th Assembly District. In another hotly contested race, Laguna Niguel Council Member Mimi Walters ran away with a victory after soundly defeating Orange County Supervisor Tom Wilson, who notalby abstained from voting on the OC PLA. Walters also had a huge margin of victory over her other opponent, Jim Gibson. Walters is a dynamic leader and I am sure she will do fine in the Assembly, but first she will have to patch things up with the conservatives who backed Gibson. She would be wise to do so.

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