AD 73 Turmoil: Glaab Bags; Brough Slows; #2 Spot is Now Petrilla v. Munger Showdown

Glaab erased charcoal

You can try to erase Paul Glaab from the AD-73 race, but traces of him will inevitably remain.

Watching the AD 73 race just keeps getting better and better!

Moderate Democrat Wendy Gabriella has shown the upside of running a candidate even in what may seem like an impossible district: you never know when the other side is going to implode.  Or, better, EXplode!  She’s run a low-budget race thus far, while building an impressive ground game and a thriving volunteer force.  She seems to be a cinch to win the top spot in Tuesday’s primary.  At one time, that looked like a “sacrificial lamb” position — but no more!

As with AD-65 in 2012, when people finally figured out that that district was competitive (something that OJB readers already knew), look for donors — including Republican-oriented ones — to start donating to Gabriella regardless of which of the two co-favorites for the other slot, Jesse Petrilla and Anna Bryson, is chosen to run against her in November.   (Disclosure warning: Gabriella and I have become friends and I’ve offered her unpaid campaign advice.  One of my daughters is her campaign treasurer — and stonily denies me any and all financial information about the Gabriella campaign until it’s public.  Apparently, she has somehow learned that I blog.)

Petrilla, if he wins, is expected to take over Gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly‘s firebrand role in the State Assembly — although without Donnelly’s (relative to Petrilla, at least) gravitas and charm.  As with the Governor’s race, where Neel Kashkari seems poised to go down to defeat despite a huge financial advantage, the traditional “Big Money” Republican faction of the party has been disorganized and weak.  Bryson won the “Munger Primary,” meaning a half million or so independent expenditures helping her out.  Unfortunately for Bryson, as with Charles Munger’s donations to Leslie Daigle in the AD-74 race (where he tried to knock off Allan Mansoor), the Munger money has come in late — and loud, so loud as to be a turn-off to many voters and a thumb-in-the-eye provocation to Petrilla’s highly engaged supporters.

Of the other two candidates, Bill Brough is the Chief of Staff to the district’s incumbent, ethically challenged Assemblywoman Diana Harkey, who seems to have the inside track in the Board of Equalization race.  You would think that this would be enough to keep one’s head above the water against a School Board member and a violent videogame publisher, but apparently not: Brough has not been showing up at the sorts of obvious events one would expect.  Despite fervent supports on the blogs, he no longer looks like a likely choice for the runoff — that’s what happens when you lose the Munger Primary.

In fact, it would not entirely surprise me to see Brough give into what I presume is enormous pressure to drop out of the race this weekend on Monday, humiliating and seemingly career-wrecking move (good luck with getting volunteers and donations and endorsements next time, Chief!) that it would seem to be — because even that may be viewed as better than being seen as they guy who let Petrilla win that second slot.  (And, of course, if he does drops out, the rabid Petrilla supporters will hate him forever and ever and ever.)

The wisest course of action may simply for Brough to do what he’s been doing:  to slow down a bit — stumble, but don’t actually withdraw.  But the latter has become conceivable now — because here at the next to last minute that’s just what the fourth Republican candidate, Laguna Niguel’s Paul Glaab, has done.

This was released Friday afternoon, traditional dumping ground of news one wants to just get out of the way:

Local Community Leader and Former Laguna Niguel Mayor Paul Glaab Withdraws from 73rd Assembly Race

Endorses Anna Bryson and Encourages Supporters to Vote for Her on June 3rd 

(Laguna Niguel, CA) Candidate for Assembly District 73 and former Laguna Niguel Mayor Paul Glaab  releases the following statement regarding withdrawing from the 73rd Assembly District race:

After much consideration and discussion with my family, and due to recent health issues, I have decided to suspend my campaign for the 73rd Assembly District.  I recently had a serious fall that caused a head injury, and will require an extended recovery that has been making it difficult to run a campaign.  At this time I cannot continue to put the effort in to the race that will make my campaign successful.  Therefore, I have decided to suspend my campaign.

I’ve spent over 30 years working for the people of Laguna Niguel and Orange County.  But at this time, I have decided it is best to dedicate more time to my recovery – and when my health returns, to my family and to helping our local communities.

After deciding to withdraw, it was clear who to support—Anna Bryson. Anna has done so much for this community as an education reformer and leader. She will make a great Assemblymember. I would like to thank so many people who have worked and supported me during this campaign. I strongly encourage them to support Anna Bryson and keep this seat in GOP hands in November.

Paul was elected to the Laguna Niguel City Council in 2004, serving as the city’s Mayor in 2008 and in 2012.  In December of 2006, Paul joined the Orange County Transportation Authority Board of Directors where he represented South Orange County’s Fifth District and was a member of the Regional Planning and Highways Committee.   He served as Chairman of the Board in 2012.

Currently, Paul and his wife, Janice, own their own small business, Glaab and Associates, a public affairs firm in Orange County which Paul founded in 1999.  He and Janice reside in Laguna Niguel where they are raising their daughter, Molly, who attends St. Anne School in Laguna Niguel.

I don’t like printing contact information for the people who put out press releases, because there are crazies out there, but Pedroza already has, so maybe someone can identify the people involved.  (Glaab’s own people?  Bryson’s?  Munger’s?)  Other than the last two paragraphs of boilerplate, this does not seem like something that Glaab produced himself; rather, it seems to have been pulled with a pair of tongs out of a steaming vat marked “Ready-Made excuses.”  (I have no reason to think that Glaab didn’t experience a fall, for which he has OJB’s sympathy; I just think that if he had won the Munger Primary, he would not be dropping out.  So his real reason for doing so is likely more like: “I’m not going to win and I’m getting a whole lot of pressure to fall in line and endorse  Not-Petrilla.”)

Perhaps too late, though!  Glaab had already bought up lots of slate mailers — they don’t come with erasers — and presumably already sucked up a lot of the early vote from OC’s only non-English-surnamed Laguna.  And many more of those votes probably came from Bryson than Petrilla.  Glaab may have withdrawn from the race, but the race has not withdrawn from Glaab!

Which leaves us, over the next three days before polls open, with one very OC question: “What now, Brough?”

About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-disabled and semi-retired, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally ran for office against jerks who otherwise would have gonr 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.) His daughter is a professional campaign treasurer. He doesn't usually know whom she and her firm represent. Whether they do so never influences his endorsements or coverage. (He does have his own strong opinions.) But when he does check campaign finance forms, he is often happily surprised to learn that good candidates he respects often DO hire her firm. (Maybe bad ones are scared off by his relationship with her, but they needn't be.)