Moorlach Drops Out of CA-45 Race, and Other Tales from the Registrar’s Office


A few noteworthy actions took place in the Registrar of Voters’ race on Monday — but the most important story about the 2014 races took place elsewhere, at John Moorlach’s keyboard.  He wrote a long letter to his mailing list — sometimes thoughtful, sometimes combative — conveying that he was dropping out of the CA-45 race against Mimi Walters, Greg Raths, and Drew Leavens.  Because Moorlach had stopped short of his final declaration of candidacy and swearing in, he breaks no public oath in doing so.  Because John Campbell remains an eligible incumbent, the race remains open for others to file by Wednesday at 5:00.

We’ll have more on Moorlach’s statement below, but first let’s review those two non-Moorlach developments.  I’ll continue my numbering from Saturday’s post of the 25 biggest headlines from Friday at the ROV.

26. Harper joins Curry and Ali on the ballot in AD-74

Huntington Beach Mayor Matt Harper, having successfully avoided Friday’s long lines, completed his filing on Monday for the Assembly seat replacing Allan Mansoor, who is running for the 2nd Supe seat.  Newport Beach Councilman Keith Curry and Democrat Anila Ali were already in the race.  By the way, if Moorlach decided that he didn’t want to leave politics after all — this is where he’d likely land.

27. Mike Dalati files for Auditor-Controller

The County Auditor-Controller position, currently held by mid-term appointee (and therefore eligibile incumbent) Jan Grimes, is the only County position for which registration remains open — which means that a lot of the intrigue we saw on Friday will now focus on this usually low-profile post.  James Benuzzi was the only candidate who had completed filing as of Friday.  Frank Davies had been the only candidate who had completed all but the “Declaration of Candidacy” step; City of Orange Councilmember Eric Woolery (who has been making the strong substantive argument that he has the most money), had paid his fees; and John Willard had only filed his signatures-in-lieu.  On Monday, Mike Dalati came in and ran the gamut from paying filing fee to submitting his declaration of intent and swearing in.  (His name currently reads as “Mike ‘Mike’ Dalati,” which is certainly noticeable, but will presumably be fixed.

28. Steel and Young Kim face ballot designation battles

Ballot designations for Michelle Steel (hers is no longer visible, but as I recall it seemed comical) and Young Kim (who styles herself a “Small Businesswoman” — and is half right, in that she is small) are being challenged.  (On the same topic: I am currently wrestling with the Registrar’s Office about my own designation; if I lose, I’ll be “Attorney/Business Owner,” which would be OK, but I’d rather highlight the area where I’m currently spending most of my effort: “Government Accountability Attorney,” which involves Brown Act/Open Meetings Act, Public Records Act, Political Reform Act, and some others.  If Young Kim somehow wins her battle, I’m thinking of trying to change mine to “Portly Businessman.”)

Moorlach gradient

29. The Moorlach recedes from public view

I disagree with John Moorlach about a lot of policy, while I find him a great ally (through Vern) on matters like the 405 Toll Roads issue, but one thing I’ve continually liked about him is that he’s a very good writer with a good sense of humor.  (If you’re reading this, Supervisor, I just want to say: I really do think that you have the makings of an Orange Juice blogger when your term is done.  Yes, you should aim that high!)  So without further ado, here’s what a lot of people found in their inboxes yesterday:

MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — It’s About Time — March 10, 2014

At the February 25th Board of Supervisors meeting, one of my colleagues, when considering the opportunity to serve on one more Board, explained how busy he already was. He cited the number of major issues being addressed on the numerous boards he sat on. He wondered aloud where in the day he could eke out the time required to participate on an additional board. He lamented that his plate was incredibly full and how stretched each Supervisor must be right now.

I do not believe he was complaining. He was just explaining that a County Supervisor’s days are completely full and that adding another commitment is not an easy thing to do. It’s about having the necessary time to be effective. After all, even the best delegator has to know when to say “no.”

I have run for elected office nine times. Running for Congress will be my tenth. I know how to campaign and what is involved. I consider myself an excellent time manager. But, I too am maxed out with the many components of this job of Supervisor.

Fortunately, I have been able to drop my involvement in two Commission Chair assignments (two involvements that I really enjoyed). But, my loyalty to the responsibility of my current job has made allocating major chunks of time to the campaign very difficult. I have made a fraction of the calls that I have wanted to, whether for asking for funds or for endorsements. If I called you, consider yourself fortunate. If I have not, rest in the knowledge that you are on the list.

The filing period closes on Wednesday and I find myself with two choices. The first is to file and continue to eke out time to campaign, including raising money, and hope that those efforts are successful. The second is to fold up the tent and drop out of the race.

I believe I am the best candidate for the 45th Congressional District. The polling shows that I’m in the lead. This is my race to lose. But, without satisfactory resources in the bank, I will find myself being hammered by negative mail on a weekly basis by one of the other candidates in the race. As she doesn’t have much of a record to boast upon, then going negative will have to be the only strategy left. And she hasn’t given any reason to think otherwise by the barbs that have been thrown my way to date.

I’m not afraid of negative mail. I endured plenty of it in my first run for County Supervisor from the independent expenditures made by local public employee unions and their brethren up and down the state. It’s not fun. But, you need to respond, as claims made by this one candidate in one recent e-mail were false and should deserve a response.

I’m also not a quitter. But, my family and I have given the County twenty years of our lives. The sacrifices made have been more than enough. Working long days every day of the week do have a way of wearing you down. I love the work and I love problem solving. I’ve had a ball as your County Treasurer and your Second District Supervisor. There have been plenty of problems to solve. The list of accomplishments I’ve been able to compile gives me great personal satisfaction of a job well done. It’s been about fiscal issues, and I’ve addressed most of them, some before they became ubiquitous.

We both know that our nation is headed in the wrong direction. The inability to balance annual budgets, the assumption that the federal government can run health care, the ever growing national debt, and municipalities choking to death on their pension commitments without leadership from Washington, D.C. are heartrending.

We are admonished by the Apostle Paul to run the race in order to win. Although I am spending numerous hours every day on the campaign, I am not allocating the amount of time needed to be a successful candidate. The job of a County Supervisor is just that time consuming. And my DNA will not allow me to neglect the responsibilities that I was elected to perform.

These past few months have been exhilarating. When someone says, “I wish there were more elected officials like you” or “you’ve got my vote,” it is most gratifying. One of the highest compliments I’ve received is that I’m well liked because I don’t “impose” on anyone. I have not imposed on you and others, and the campaign’s cash balance indicates it. Below is an article on the campaign from Womens ENews, showing the December 31st report totals.

Therefore, I’m letting the dream of serving in the United States Congress go. I will enjoy my final year as Supervisor and then return to the private sector; grateful for the opportunity to have served this wonderful County and its three million residents. I’ve been blessed. It’s about time I finish my tour of duty in public life. It’s about time I stop making my amazing wife endure countless hours of waiting for me to come home from the job. It’s about time I give myself some time.
Thank you for making the experiences over the past two decades so worthwhile and fulfilling. I deeply appreciate your support and encouragement! Thank you and God Bless you!

That article to which Moorlach alludes says this:

A California state legislator, Mimi Walters, will face two GOP challengers in the June 3 primary for the seat of Campbell, who emphasized decreasing earmarks and reducing government spending.

All three are fiscal conservatives. John Moorlach, an Orange County supervisor, sounded the alarm before Orange County went bankrupt in 1994. A retired marine colonel, Greg Raths’ website says he would be “open to curbing expensive weapons systems, like the F-35 fighter jet, a $137 million plane which is not performing.”

Walters ran for state treasurer in 2010 and gained name recognition. She also has the endorsements of two influential California Republicans–Rep. Darrell Issa, chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and Rep. Ed Royce, chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

So far, Walters has the edge in fundraising. The Center for Responsive Politics reports that by the end of 2013, she had raised $623,760, Raths $132,729 and Moorlach $46,316.

In February, Walters was endorsed by the New Majority California PAC, the largest GOP PAC in the state. The Center for Responsive Politics reports that the PAC contributed $1,107,798 to candidates from 2006 to 2012.

That sort of funding discrepancy is a serious problem (although, um … I’ve seen worse.)  But it’s that last paragraph, combined with the results of the recent CRA vote, that strikes me as possibly even more telling.  And maybe some edict has come down from Republican Central that the party wants to burnish its image by including more women among its candidates.  We certainly see it all over Orange County this year.  It’s sort of a cynical ploy — but politics is one of the areas where, at least to practitioners, “cynical” is not a dirty word.  And so, unless retired Col. Greg Raths catches fire or Democrat Drew Leavens can beat back the demographics, with the accountant out of the way Mimi Walters stands to become Congress’s replacement for retiring Michele Bachmann.


Pretty much nothing.  Al Salehi is closer to running in CA-45.  Some administrative items.  Apparently if there will be any fireworks left, they will be tomorrow.


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. Corrupt party hacks hate him. He's OK with that too. He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)