Correa’s October surprise?

I was surprised as anyone when I read Larry Gilbert’s article about the possible OC write-in candidates for the general election coming up on Nov. 7 – there was Otto Bade, listed as a candidate for the 34th State Senate District. I called Bade yesterday, and finally got through to him today, after we played a round of phone tag.

First, let’s take a look at Bade’s history in Santa Ana. He owns and operates a restaurant at the Santa Ana Zoo, the famous La Perla. He also is a caterer through that enterprise. In recent months he has become a realtor, working for Seven Gables Real Estate. In fact I saw one of his signs in my neighborhood recently, in north Santa Ana. He tells me that business is good – in fact he is spending more time on real estate and less on his restaurant business.

Bade ran against Tom Umberg in 2004, for the 69th Assembly District. Umberg was a tough opponent, but Bade was a well-connected Latino candidate, running in a Latino-leaning district, and Bade had a decent resume. He completed an AA degree in administration of justice at Santa Ana College, and he worked as a police officer in Garden Grove and Santa Ana. He also served in Vietnam, as a Marine. However he was undone by another Marine – Tim Whitacre.

Whitacre came out against Bade when some Clinton-like problems emerged in Bade’s personal life. It got ugly – very quickly. Bade raised over $70,000, according to the OC Weekly, but Umberg raised a lot more. And Whitacre ran around all over town bad-mouthing Bade. That was something that Bade never forgot. This year, his final act as a member of the OC GOP Central Committee was to show up and vote to endorse Mike Carona for Sheriff – and sure enough his was the deciding vote. Bade finally got revenge on Whitacre, who was running the campaign of Carona’s opponent, the since-suspended Lt. Bill Hunt.

So why is Bade running against Daucher? He told me today that he likes Correa, and that he feels that the 34th should be represented by a Latino. I stood up for Daucher, but his mind was made up. I heard from other sources that apparently Bruce Matthias might be involved. Matthias ran against Daucher in 2000, for the 72nd Assembly District. It was his bad luck to be running during the short-lived Open Primary. Democrats joined moderate Republicans in electing Daucher. Apparently Matthias held a grudge against Daucher.

Several sources saw Matthias with Bade at the OC Voter Registrar’s office yesterday. Did Matthias recruit Bade? I asked Bade, but he claimed not to know Matthias. Who knows? Maybe they just met – but there could certainly be a conspiracy in the works between them.

What about Correa? Is this an October surprise from his campaign? All I know is that I have spoken to Bade many times over the last year, when taking my three-year-old to the zoo. Bade always has spoken highly of Correa. Thus, I am not overly surprised about all of this, but I am disappointed. This move will utterly finish Bade in the OC GOP. He may as well re-register as a Democrat on November 8. That is too bad – he has been involved in Republican politics for years. I’ll miss him, despite the baggage.

Is Bade’s write-in campaign a threat to Daucher? I don’t think so – unless the unions follow up with a large expenditure and actually tell voters about him. But, in a race as tight as this one, Bade could indeed cost Daucher the election – and that would not be something I would welcome. Correa may be a Latino – but he is a liberal who will reliably vote for bigger government and more handouts. And he supported Carona. No thanks! Good luck Otto – I hope you find some happiness in the Democrat Party. But I also hope your gambit fails and Daucher prevails on November 7.

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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.