OJ Blog Early 2016 Primary Recs, pt 2: U.S. House, County Supes, OCBOE





CDs –  38, Sanchez, 39 Not Royce, 45 Raths or Varasteh,
…  46 Dunn (or Gaona for Reeps), 47 Lowenthal (or Whallen),
…  48 either Dem, 49 Applegate.
Supes – 1  Martinez or Do, 3 Write in Your Own Name.
OCBOE 1 Gomez, 3 Parham, 4 Vern says Norby, Greg says Bedell.

Joe Dunn for Congress, Michele Martinez for Supervisor, Michael Parham for OCBOE 3

Joe Dunn for Congress, Michele Martinez for Supervisor, Michael Parham for OCBOE 3

Remember, these are our current recommendations for you if you’re voting this week.  They could change, but we don’t expect them to.


38th District (La Palma + LA County)

You have three candidates: Incumbent Linda Sanchez (D), Ryan Downing (R), and Scott Michael Adams (NPP).  Sanchez will win this race.  Downing will probably win La Palma in June, but may not even that well in November.  Adams won’t make the Top Two.  OJB Recommendation: Sanchez.

39th District (Half North OC, Rest Eastern San Gabriel Valley and Chino Hills)

Cage match!  Incumbent Ed Royce (R) against former Brea Mayor Brett Murdock (D).  Royce is putting up signs and using government funds to his best advantage; for Murdock the primary doesn’t much matter except that it will give him some info about where his best areas are in November.  OJB Recommendation: the Non-Royce Choice.

45th District: (Central County Hills)

A pair each of Democrats and Republicans here.  In ballot order: Ron Varasteh (D), Incumbent Mimi Walters (R), Max Gouron (D), and Greg Raths (R).  This one is interesting.  Very Republican district.  Walters is a shoo-in to make the Top Two against someone who will hopefully defeat her.  But who?  Mission Viejo Councilman Raths almost made it into the Top 2 two years ago, being barely edged out by a Democrat.  Ron Varasteh has run for various offices in and around this district, and would probably be the bet for Top Two — except that Gouron is likely to sap some votes from him.  (Or vice-versa: reports are that DPOC Chair Henry Vandermeir was pushing Gouron over Varasteh earlier, which is somewhat mystifying given that Varasteh has been a party stalwart.)  We have to give a dual recommendation here.  OJB Recommendation: Republicans vote Raths, Democrats vote Varasteh, NPPs — either determine your partisan lean, or study up deeply on the candidates, or flip a frickin’ coin.  BUT DO VOTE for one or the other, because neither is Mimi Walters.

46th District: (Central County Flatlands)

Eight candidates here.  Three Dems, Four Reeps (two of which are considered “serious,” and an NPP.  There’s a decent chance that two Democrats could make it to the Top 2; it’s quite unlikely that two Republicans will.  In this analysis, political hermaphrodite Lou Correa will count as a Democrat, something that he would also sometimes do if sent to Congress.

In ballot order: Bao Nguyen (D), Lynn Schott (R), Joe Dunn (D), Louie Contreras (R), Lou Correa (D-ish), Nancy Trinidad Marin (NPP), Rudy Gaona (R), and Bob Peterson (R) are running.  Liberal Dunn and Moderate/Mush Correa are considered the front-runners, but Liberal Bao is probably not all that far behind them.  (Which front-runner is ahead?  We do not know.  Vote like it doesn’t matter!)  Conservatives Schott and Peterson could possibly sneak through.  No one seems to think that Marin has much of a chance (except to soak up some of the women’s vote, which is significant as regards Schott); no one seems to think that Contreras and newly Republicanized Gaona have much of a chance (except to soak up some of the Latino-surname vote that might otherwise go to Correa, which also matters.)  The smart money is on Dunn and Correa — but the smart money would not be shocked to be wrong.  OJB Recommendation: for Democrats, DUNN, although if you vote for Bao we’re not going to yell at you; for Republicans, Gaona, because he just keeps trying so hard!

47th District: (West County + Southeast Long Beach)

Three choices here: Incumbent Alan Lowenthal (D) versus 2014 challenger and libertarian Andy Whallon (R) and Sanford Kahn (R).  OJB Recommendation: Lowenthal!  Otherwise, Whallon.

48th District: (Central Coast)

Three choices: incumbent Dana Rohrabacher (R) versus 2014 challengers Suzanne Savary (D) and Robert Banuelos (D).  Dana will finish first in June, of course.  Savary, a DPOC darling, beat Banuelos (and Republcan Wendy Leece) to make the Top 2 last time and will probably do so again.  OJB Recommendation: We don’t really care, in the primary.  But you should vote, of course.  And writing in Bernie Sanders here would be wrong, so cut it out.

49th District: (Southernmost OC)

The major party candidates here are incumbent Darrell Issa (R) and Doug Applegate (D); Ryan Glenn Wingo (NPP) is also running.  OJB Recommendation: You already know who you want to vote for, so do it.  (Unless it’s Issa.  Then don’t do it.)  UPDATE: Applegate is “feeling the Bern,” so vote for him!


These races are non-partisan — but we know almost everyone’s party affiliations, so let’s not pretend that we don’t.

District 1

Incumbent Andrew Do (R) will face Michelle Martinez (D) and Phat Bui (R).  (Oh, yeah: and Steve Rocco.)  A plurality wins this seat in June, but expect this one to go until November.  Martinez should get around 40% (though she’ll do better in November), so the question is which Vietnamese man will run against her.  You’re thinking that it will be the incumbent, right?  Not so fast.  Do apparently had a falling out with his predecessor Janet Nguyen soon after he was elected, and the chismes say that Janet is the one who recruited and is supporting Bui.  Do just got some bad publicity of the sort that suggests that people are out to get him.  That suggests to us that he may be doing something right.  Our conclusion here surprises us, but this is where we come down.  OJB Recommendation: Dems vote for Martinez; Reeps vote for Do.

District 3

No one in the district had the huevos to take on Todd Spitzer, allowing him to stockpile money for his race for District Attorney in two years.  This makes OJB sad, just on principle.  So here’s our plan.  OJB Recommendation: Everyone in District 3 file as an official write-in candidate and write in your own names.  If this holds Spitzer to under 50%, the contest goes on to November.  We promise, he has a sense of humor.  He won’t hate you — and he won’t come after you because of this once he’s District Attorney.  We think.


Oddly enough, these are probably the most competitive — and arguably among the most consequential — contests in the county this June.  The races are non-partisan, and we’re not sure of everyone’s registration, so except when we’re sure about it we’ll leave it out.  Each contains a trio of candidates — and plurality wins!

District 1

In ballot order: Paul Zive, incumbent Robert Hammond, and Beckie Gomez.  Hammond is very right-wing, in a bad way.  He’s in the news now because he sent a letter to a County School District employee informing him that he planned to ask him at a public meeting to clarify his sexual orientation.  In my professional opinion as a plaintiff’s employment attorney … this is bad.  He also supports pretty much any charter school application that come across his desk, including the ones that just seek to enrich operators with public school dollars, and using public funds to pursue the Lincoln Club’s anti-public school agenda.  So: he shouldn’t be on the Board.  Who should replace him?  Zive doesn’t seem to have much of a campaign; Gomez has lots of relevant skills, good values, and strong endorsements.  OJB Recommendation: Gomez!

District 3

In ballot order: Margaret Brown, incumbent Ken Williams, and Michael Parham.  Except for the harassment of employees (so far as we know), one could substitute Ken Williams’s name for Hammond’s in the above paragraph and be entirely correct.  He should not be on a public education district board (although any hardcore conservative private school would surely be lucky to have him on its board.)  So who can beat him?  No one I talk to seems to know Margaret Brown; Michael Parham has the endorsements we’d like to see.  OJB Recommendation: Parham!

District 4

In ballot order: incumbent Jack Bedell, Chris Norby, and Zonya Marcenaro-Townsend.  This is a race between representatives of three factions of the Republican Party.  Bedell, the incumbent, is the sober moderate who supports public education (as befits this Board) and is skeptical about dodgy charter school proposals.  Norby is a libertarian and, while a former Brea-Olinda (rah!) high school professor, temperamentally a privatization advocate.  Zonya (using the name on her signs) is an uber-conservative Republican.  So, Republicans — you’re on your own; find your faction and you’ve found your candidate.  Everyone else: Bedell is probably closer to your beliefs than Norby, and definitely closer to them than Zonya.  OJB Recommendation: Bedell.  UPDATE [Hat-tip Zenger] Given Bedell’s enthusiastic endorsement by the Calif. Charter Schools Association, as well as notorious Kelpto-pugs Ackerman, Royce and Mimi Walters, we are changing our recommendation:  NORBY it is! UPDATE Greg still says Bedell.

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