Whitaker Declares Intent to Run to Challenge Chang as Newman’s Replacement if Recall Succeeds

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Fullerton City Council member Bruce Whitaker (in blue trunks) and his prospective campaign team.  (Artist’s conception.)

Fullerton City Council member and friend of the (Vern portion of) the blog Bruce Whitaker, has announced — as reported on the pages of the not-only-renascent-but-back-in-fighting-form Friends 4 Fullerton’s Future (which we will blog roll as soon as we find a link to its RSS feed) — that he will run to replace State Senator Josh Newman in the recall election that may or may not take place to replace him.  Thus far the Republican Party has put forward former Assemblywoman and hapless State Senate candidate Ling-Ling Chang as its expected standard bearer.  The entry of Whitaker into the race may change the calculus of other potential Republican challengers, perhaps bringing in Republicans such as Tim Shaw (at least if the election doesn’t take place on the June primary date, when Shaw has a date with Young Kim in the Supervisor’s race, Whitaker’s colleague Jennifer Fitzgerald, one or more of the of various discordant malcontents from Placentia and Yorba Linda, and perhaps even Disney’s red-headed stepchild Lucille Kring or its violent golden boy Steve Lodge.  Once state GOP Chair Jim Brulte no longer has the unchallenged authority to anoint the winner — because look how well THAT worked in 2016! — God knows what will happen, because Chang is not a widely respected figure on the Republican side.  (Is the Ling-Ling Lies website still up?)

On the Democratic side, strict party discipline will ensure that no one presents themselves as a challenger to Newman, and — ahahahahaha, who are we kidding?  We could see someone like Sukhee Kang move back into the district!  (If that happens, expect to see other Democrats jump in to block Kang or whoever, because Democrats really don’t want a candidate who might encourage Democrats to vote against Newman in the hope of picking up a seat for their own faction, even if it’s a small faction.)  Whitaker would probably keep a Libertarian out of the race, but one could imagine a Green candidate or an American Independent candidate (say, Wiley Drake?) in the race if they think they have a chance to steal the seat.  (And, with enough Republicans running, they might!)  On the other hand, Newman is quite popular with Democrats outside of some dead-enders in various bunkers of the local party, so there will be a tendency to accede to his wishes.

On its face, Whitaker’s entry into the race would seem like bad news for Newman.  However, given the enmity between the libertarian (what Vern calls “honest conservative”) faction of the local GOP and the “state socialist conservative” (or whatever they call the other one these days) faction — the latter of which did not show up to support Chris Norby in 2012, leading to the initial election of Sharon Quirk Silva in AD-55, most of the bottom half of SD-29 — one could imagine that either side would rather see Newman stay in office until 2020 than to see the seat grabbed for a dozen years by its rival.

Curiouser and curiouser!  Well, maybe it will all still get tossed out in court.  But that likelihood may not be as high as the almost certainty that someone’s inspired strategy — and maybe everyone’s — is going to blow up in their own face!


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.)