GOP game plan for central OC

The other day I had a brief conversation with an OC GOP insider and he stumped me by asking a simple question, “how can the OC GOP win in central Orange County in the upcoming general?” Good question – and it deserves an answer.

The big campaign this fall will be that of our Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Usually the downstream campaigns will feed of a gubernatorial or presidential campaign. However, it is likely that Team Arnold will not be playing in central OC – so where does that leave the Republican candidates in that area?

I worked on Rob Hurtt’s last campaign for the 34th Senate District, when he lost to Joe Dunn. The latter is now on hiatus, and the party has recruited Lynn Daucher to try to retake the seat. You all know my misgivings about her, but she at least brings years of local and legislative political experience to the ticket. She is also acknowledged as an expert on education. I guess that is a starting point. However, the OC GOP’s highly publicized problems with their voter registration effort will not help them in the 34th. Daucher will have to overcome the ill will stemming from that mess while trying to get her message out.

Over in the 69th Assembly District, we have a college student, Ryan Gene Williams, who is from Texas and who has done a great job of enticing Democrats, during their divisive primary. Williams has no experience in politics, but he is street-smart and friendly, and it remains to be seen if the Democrats will unite behind their candidate, Jose Solorio. I don’t think that Claudia Alvarez’ fans are going to automatically back Solorio. Williams however has a huge voter gap to overcome, as the Democrat voters hold the edge in the 69th.

Lastly, Tan Nguyen has some experience as a candidate, but he ran two years ago as a Democrat. Oops! However, he showed us in the primary that he can entice voters. He did a good job of focusing on the hot-button GOP issue, immigration, and he capably courted the Vietnamese vote.

For Daucher, Nguyen and Williams to have any hope of prevailing, they simply must work together. Nguyen can promote the three campaigns to the Vietnamese community, Williams can court the younger voters, and Daucher brings gravitas to the ticket – assuming that conservative voters can overlook her overtly liberal positions on several keystone GOP issues, such as taxes, eminent domain and abortion.

I also think that Team Arnold should reconsider and go after voters in central OC. Schwarzenegger won a majority of the vote in Santa Ana, when he took out Gray Davis. He can do it again. Angelides is an unattractive candidate and he is plainly too liberal for the OC. His platform of raising taxes will fall on deaf ears in our county, even in the central areas. If the Governor helps out the other GOP candidates in central OC, all bets are off. He has his problems with conservative voters, but Latino voters in the area will support him more often than not. His relationship to the Kennedy family will in fact help him in enticing Latino support.

It is an uphill battle for the OC GOP in central county, but this is not Mission Impossible. It’s more like Mission Somewhat Unlikely. However, the party needs to reconcile with Tim Whitacre if at all possible, and that is not looking likely. I think that Scott Baugh, the OC GOP chairman, wants to bury the hatchet with Whitacre, but when Carona made the stupid move of going after Hunt and his supporters after the election, old wounds reopened. That is too bad. At this point I think we need a UN negotiator to intervene between Whitacre and the OC GOP. Perhaps Tom Fuentes is available? In years past he has always been able to bridge such gaps. Given his success in the primary with Nguyen, maybe he can craft a peace accord between Baugh and Whitacre. It’s worth a try.

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"Admin" is just editors Vern Nelson, Greg Diamond, or Ryan Cantor sharing something that they mostly didn't write themselves, but think you should see. Before December 2010, "Admin" may have been former blog owner Art Pedroza.