Dems’ ADEM Races: Who’s Running, Who’s Good?




[Note: Some endorsements were retracted on Jan. 16 due to an unannounced and insidious change in CDP election rules, which eliminates direct voting for E-Board and instead just offers the position to the E-Board candidate with the most ADEM votes]

OJB’s 2021 Endorsements for E-Board positions in the ADEM elections. Top, left to right: AD-65, Bobbi-Lee Smart; AD-68, Danett Abbott-Wicker; AD-69, Yenni Diaz; AD-72, Tracy La; AD-73, Sudi Farokhnia; AD-74, Anne Mohr. (Not shown, whoever got endorsed in AD-55.)

    • So you can submit them online …
    • Or by fax … [nope!]
    • … or else mail them in by the recommended date of Jan. 22, which CDP says should get it there by 1/27
  • You can vote for up to 14 people
    • the top 6 in each gender category become regular members of CDP/DSCC
    • the candidate who finishes seventh in each gender category becomes an alternate
    • if you want to divide your votes up with more than seven people in one gender category and fewer in another, you can do it — but bear in mind that only the top 7 can win
  • Gender groupings
    • SIF = Self-Identified Female; 7 will be elected
    • OSIF = Other than SIF (male, non-binary); 7 will be elected
  • OJB endorsements of candidates
    • Bold = Greg Endorses
    • Italic = Vern Endorses
    • Bold Italic – Both endorse
  • E-Board candidates
    • Underlined = an E-Board candidate
    • Orange surname= Orange Juice Blog’s preference

Note: I (Greg) am composing this, but Vern is italicizing the ones he wants to co-sign (as well as adding comments if he wishes)

AD-55candidate statements are at this link


  • Layla Abou-Taleb
  • Sanobar Baig
  • Lauren Barnes
  • Verronica Clements
  • Natalie Estrada 
  • Linda Freedman 
  • Diane Kanne
  • Rachel Kirk
  • Keri Kropke
  • Lyndsey Lefebvre
  • Iris Mann
  • Allison Thuang
  • Ana Maria Rodriguez
  • Priya J. Shah
  1. Tier 1 is Baig, Barnes, Shah, Kropke, Freedman
  2. Tier 2 is Clements, Estrada (Party of the People)
  3. Tier 3 is Lefebvre, Mann

Greg:  I’m probably  voting for all 9, although only 7 can win.  Top tier is people I know from Brea politics or my time as an ADEM.  Second is “Party of the People” candidates.  Third is other people I know involved in local politics.  Baig, Lefebvre and Freedman are probably the favorites here; the other four spots are up for grabs.  Note that Vern likes Kropke and Lefebvre.


  • J.B. Afoh-Manin
  • Gabriel Alfaro
  • Emmett A. Brock
  • Andrew Chou
  • Mansfield Collins
  • Greg Diamond
  • Andrew Fahmy
  • Gregg Fritchle  (possibility if were not E-Board candidate)
  • James Gallagher (endorsed if were not E-Board candidate)
  • Kevin T. Hayakawa
  • Jerry Knox
  • Jon Portez
  • Bill Rawlings
  • Wesley J Smith

Top tier: Diamond, Rawlings
Second tier: Smith
Third tier: Hayakawa, Gallagher  (See below for my #6&7 choices, if you’re so disposed)


  • Baig and Freedman are very good incumbents
  • I’ve worked with Barnes (my client in the tied BOUSD race!), Kropke, & Shah in local politics; they’re all great
  • Estrada and Clements are on the “Party of the People” slate, which I’m generally incorporating in my choices, although they tend to skew young so they miss many good people
  • I know Mann primarily from Facebook; she’s good
  • Lefebvre is a good and hard worker — but I’m generally shy about supporting people involved with DPOC


  • I was not going to endorse myself — but I am not satisfied with the male candidates running for the Executive Board (more on which below).  I’m joined in the top tier by an incumbent, Bill Rawlings — a bright, warm, decent guy who really impressed me as we worked together
  • Smith is “Party of the People” endorsed
  • Hayakawa wrote a good statement, and we really need good Asian representation from this district
  • Gallagher is progressive, but nowhere near a Bernie/AOC type; nor do I think he’s down for internal reform.  But, Chino Hills need representation, and he’s a hard worker, not openly disdainful, and good peacemaker
  • If you really want to vote for seven OSIFs, Alfaro and Fritchle are best of the rest.  (But see below!)


  • Gallagher will likely win, which is OK — but I’d prefer a Berniecrat reformer, which is why I chose to run
  • Clements is ideologically good, but lacks CDP experience
  • Fritchle is progressive, with good stands on issues, but I don’t think he’s a good fit for E-Board.  (I don’t want to explain my reasoning unless it becomes necessary.)
  • Fahmy sounds like a disaster.  He writes in his statement: “For the past five years I have watched our party become further divided, rallying behind leaders who use their fame to further their agendas, ultimately weakening the Democratic party. This needs to end. It is our responsibility as Democrats to stand up and call for an end to this division, to find unity in our message, and to promote policies that benefit all residents of this District, State, and Country.”  I think that he’s talking about “divisive” AOC types — if he’s not, he should not have been so vague — and … “this needs to end.”  Too many people in CDP already think that “Unity” means “shut up, you commies!”If you have any inclination to vote for Fahmy, support Gallagher instead.
  • So that leaves me.  If you like my “make good trouble” statement, vote for me for E-Board; if not, don’t!
  • NOTE: due to the hidden CDP rules change that eliminated a separate vote for E-Board, regrettably I’ve had to retract my endorsement of Gallagher and provisional support of Fritchle.  I’m keeping my endorsement of Clements; if I lose to her, that’s OK 

AD 65 — Candidate statements are at this link


  • Monique C Davis
  • Senorina Estrada
  • Allison N Guzman
  • Rebecca Kovacs-Stein 
  • April Madison
  • Carolina Mendez
  • Bobbi-Lee Smart
  • Barbara Standley
  • Saara Suliman  (Endorsed if not E-Board candidate)
  • Pamela Thakur
  • Patricia Tutor

Tier 1: Thakur, Kovacs-Stein, Smart
Tier 2: Mendez (Party of the People)
Tier 3: Tutor, Davis, Suliman

  • Thakur is an outstanding lawyer and Asian/feminist activist, Kovacs-Stein is a leading OC homeless activist, and Smart looks like a strong young education activist
  • I don’t know Mendez, but this is the Part of the People slot
  • I think that Vern slapped me around for not supporting Tutor before, so I won’t make that mistake again; Davis and Suliman have good statements and bring needed diversity


  • Miguel Alvarez
  • Eric Barlow
  • Jesus Beltran
  • Jose Trinidad Castaneda
  • Izeah R. Garcia
  • Alfredo Heredia
  • Mesbah M Islam
  • Faisal Qazi
  • Michael Rodriguez
  • Aaruni Thakur
  • John Vassiliades
  • Aaron Wodka

Top tier: Thakur, Qazi, Rodriguez (Party of the People)
Second tier: Heredia (Party of the People)
Third tier: Castaneda, Wodka
(If you want a 7th, Alvarez)

  • Thakur and Qazi are both brilliant and left-friendly; Rodriguez is a powerful and dogged racial/ethnic activist who, once elected, will make me look like a newborn kitten
  • I don’t know Heredia; this is the Party of the People slot
  • Castaneda (a strong water environmentalist) and Wodka are both worthy, though I don’t know how they will be on internal reform issues
  • Alvarez’s statement appealed to me more than others outside of the above 6


  • Vassiliades is an Operations Engineer who gets elected by his union to push their issues (and pushes his own pro-Greece issues on the side); he’s not a bad guy, but he won’t be useful to reformers on the E-Board, since he likes construction and has tended to cozy up to leaders to help get support for his causes — but he will likely win
  • So then it comes down to Smart and Suliman — and while I expect that I might be more aligned with Suliman, I don’t think that E-Board is a good entry-level position, so I favor Smart this time for her experience

[Note: NOTE: due to the hidden CDP rules change that eliminated a separate vote for E-Board, regrettably I’ve had to retract my endorsement of Sulliman.  I hope she wins anyway, just with fewer votes than Smart.]

AD 68 — Candidate statements are at this link


  • Laura Bratton 
  • Darlene Futrel
  • Nina Baldwin  (endorsed if wasn’t E-Board candidate)
  • Elizabeth Galindo    O2B
  • Ashleigh Aitken   O2B
  • Danett Abbott-Wicker 
  • Anat Herzog
  • Myra Deister
  • Devon Biagan
  • Melanie Weir   O2B
  • Marissa Waldman   O2B
  • Patty Yoo   O2B
  • Jenny Lynn 
  • Kate Wasson 
  • Christina Dillard 
  • Naz Hamid   O2B
  • Sabrina “Sav” Quezada  O2B
  • Gurpeet K Singh

Tier 1: Abbott-Wicker, Lynn
Tier 2: Baldwin, Herzog (both “Party of the People”)
Tier 3: Aitken, Hamid (both on Katie Porter’s “Orange2Blue” slate — which includes Sav Quezada! — but I won’t let thatt disqualify them) and 7th choice, if you want one:  Futrel, based on her submitting a good statement


Franz Christopher Can Kieviet   O2B
Ted Perle   O2B
David R Sonneborn
Ajay Mohan   O2B
David Lee Ambrose
Andrew Swetland  (endorsed if not E-Board candidate)
Avinder Chawla   O2B
Michael A. Polay 
Lee Fink  O2B 
Joe McLaughlin
Gabriel Orea
Luis Manuel Huang 
Greg Goodlander
Kyler Asato  (endorsed if not E-Board candidate)
Raj Sawhney
Pradeep Kumar Madaan
Mani Kang
Grant Henninger
Satinder Singh
Julio F. Morales

Top 1: McLaughlin; Swetland, Kang (both Party of the People)
Tier 2: Asato, Sonneborn (Party of the People)
Tier 3: Perle, Fink

  • McLoughln, Swetland, and Kang are all solid activists
  • Asato and Sonneborn are both endorsed by Party of the People; I have issues with Sonneborn, but he provides a contribution that no one else does (on state legislation) and since he was shut out of DPOC he deserves a role here
  • Perle and Fink are both on Katie Porter’s O2B slate — and I wish she’d keep her friggin’ hands out of the ADEMs, which should be composed of people willing to keep incumbents in check.  I worry that Perle was invited onto the slate as window-dressing for it to get some leftie cred, but whatever.  Fink will win anyway, so endorsing him does little harm — and at least, among people cool to the Left, he understands what the Left is doing and why


SIX WOMEN AND FIVE MEN are running for E-Board from AD-68!  I suspect that Fink will win — but my endorsement won’t stretch so far to endorse him there, so he’s out.  I’ll also toss out Bratton, Wasson, Dillard, Polay, Asato, and Huang. (Huang is the Democrat who ran against Farrah Khan for Irvine Mayor and then endorsed and voted for her, while welcoming our endorsement over her, suggesting that he just doesn’t get this whole elections thing.)  So that leaves Abbott-Wicker, Baldwin, Lynn, and Swetland as possibilities.  I like them all, but I think I that Baldwin is the least likely of these to fight the power (but maybe she’ll prove herself in time.)  Lynn is a devoted Berniecrat with great organizational skill — but E-Board doesn’t necessarily require that.  While Swetland is impressive, I think that Abbott-Wicker — a real progressive with organizational chops and a military background — is the one likeliest to get others on the E-Board to listen to her as a first-time  back-bencher, so I’ll go with her, though I’d be as thrilled with Lynn or Swetland.

AD 69 — Candidate statements are at this link


Yenni Diaz
Kimberly Cantrell
Adalgisa Tamayo Jones
Tanya Golden
Monica Munguia
Gloria Alvarado
Valeria Sandoval
Thai Viet Phan
Daisy Campos
Cassandra J Perez
Lori Karaguezian

Tier 1: Diaz (Party of the People), Phan, Campos
Tier 2: Jones (Vern’s pick, with UNITE-HERE)
Tier 3: There is no Tier 3; just vote for 4


Jestin Samson
Joese Hernandez
Martin G. Lopez
Ivan Enriquez
Benjamin Vazquez
Robert Tucker
Bulmaro “Boomer” Vicente
Jorge Gavino [pro tip: don’t endorse AVELINO!]
Ryan Friesen
Paul Gonzales
James Gil
LuisAndres Perez [Correa can appoint him]
Richard Santana
Brian Germain
Thomas Drennan

Tier 1: Samson, Hernandez (Party of the People)
Tier 2: Vazquez, Tucker (also Party of the People)
Tier 3: Enriquez, Vicente and Lopez (for Greg) or Gonzalez (for Vern)

[VERN:  I sent out a questionnaire to these eight guys that I liked so I can whittle it down. Still waiting to hear back from all of ’em]

E-Board: This is a one-on-one race between two woman: Labor Federation leader Alvarado and Party of the People and Anaheim Dem Club leaders Diaz.  Unions already have a stranglehold over the state party, in some cases opposing bold initiatives (like Medicare for All and in the Green New Deal) that do not benefit them personally.  Bold reformers like Diaz, by contrast, are often shunted aside by the CDP.  My guess is that union workers who reside in AD-69 have been ordered to get ballots and vote for Alvarado — so I expect that she, and horrific other candidates like LuisAndres Perez, will win.  (For those with long memories: yes, Alvarado used to be a reformer herself when she served with Tefere Gebre and Julio Perez — but those days are long gone.)

AD 72 — Candidate statements are at this link


Lisa Marquise
Maria Ortiz
Ashley Tindall
Tracy La 
Niki Nguyen
Gina Clayton-Tarvin
Mai Khanh Tran
Mary Tromp
Gina Tiffany

Tier 1: Clayton-Tarvin and La (latter is “Party of the People”)
Tier 2: Nguyen and Tiffany  (both Party of the People)
Tier 3: Tromp — and no one else

If Mai Khanh Tran were not overreaching and running for E-Board despite never having won an OC race (or done more than pose a distracting obstacle to other Democrats, I’d endorse her too — but she in, over the far superior La.  So I say: leave it at 6!


Bijan Mohseni Calderón
Trung Ta
Phong Ly
Vincent P. Tran
Nathan Searles
Steve Lathus
Rick Foster
Stephen Einstein 
Jared Wallace
Edward Ray Chavez
Martin Grayson
Dan Ma
Khoa Le

Tier 1: Lathus (Party of the People), Einstein, Searles
Tier 2: Ma, Tran (Party of the People)
Tier 3: (if you want to vote for 7: Ly or Wallace)

This is an example of where Party of the People is lacking: they overlooked great older candidates like Searles and Einstein.  (In 20-30 years, they’re going to be pissed off at people who act like they do now.)

This is a also good moment to remember that Bijan Mohseni   was the second, mysterious, “Democratic” candidate (who no one had ever heard of) running against Diedre Nguyen in AD-72 this past cycle; if memory serves, he was prodded to run by Mike Carroll, Farrah Khan’s Republican political partner in Irvine, to eliminate Diedre from the runoff.  Quoting our earlier article:

“Turns out Bijan had been a Republican until right before filing to run for assembly as a Democrat, and had also lived outside the district in Cypress until finding a quick Westminster apartment at the same time!  But he did get nearly 15% of the vote, and a lot of funding from Republican sources like the Lincoln Club and the Republican State Assembly fund, nearly knocking Diedre out of the top two.  Can you say “spoiler,” or “fraud?”

Stop running for Democratic posts, Bijan.  You left tracks.


Miserable DINO dinosaur Trung Ta probably has the inside track — and we’d like to stop that.  Foster and Tindall are unlikely, so the candidates most likely to challenge him as Tran and Le.  Dr. Tran still has nothing much going for her besides being a female Vietnamese pediatrician who gave a lot of money to Obama and served on a Commission — all of which are fine, but this is not a contest over who is admirable.  Read Tracy La‘s statement and you’ll likely see why she has our enthusiastic support.

AD 73 — Candidate statements are at this link


Stephanie Oddo
Linda May
Sudi Farokhnia 
Jeri Fromme
Jenna Beck
Deborah Lima
Jenna Kohnke
Darlyn Elaine Regan
Margaret Dubel
Lenore Albert
Lidia Corey
Aimee Renee Monahan
Cynthia Ashley
Octavia Tuohey 
Karen M Ridley
Vivian Frerichs
Citlali Mosqueda
Cathy Udovch
Denise Bradford

Tier 1: Farokhnia (Party of the People), Tuohey, Ridley
Tier 2: Mosqueda (should have been Party of the People), Lima
Tier 3: May, Oddo (or maybe Kohnke)


Perry Meade
Alan Fenning 
Gary D Newkirk
Chris Duncan
Neilan Chaturvedi 
Richard Hurt
Christopher Aitken
Eric V Traut
Michael Getto
Jose Preciado
Cody Eckert
Thomas Fleming
Dan Horgan
Joseph Kerr
Syed Waqas Ahmed
Ron Brooks
Parshan Khosravi
James D Bacon
(would endorse, but not for E-Board)

Tier 1: Khosravi (Party of the People), Hurt, Chaturvedi,
Tier 2: Bacon, Eckert
Tier 3: and if you want to vote for 7: Brooks, Fleming


A mind-boggling  seven woman and eight men are running for E-Board.  I’m eliminating Lenore Albert (she’s in 73 now?) because … you know … and Beck because every time I go easy on her people from CDP tell me several other reasons I shouldn’t.  (I don’t know what Beck should do at this point; probably try to get a spot in a local club.) We’ve got relatives of Ashleigh Aitken and Conner Traut, Ahmed, who didn’t turn in a statement; Meade and Fenning, who brandishes Rouda’s endorsement, to which Fenning add Melahat’s (… dude …); some pleasant-seeming newcomers, like Bacon and Regan, who should stick to the entry level position — and finally some appealing ones like Chaturvedi and Kohnke who might have made the cut in another district.

All of those are ruled out.  That leaves us with Hurt, Tuohey, Sudokhnia, and Khosravi — any of whom would make a good E-Board member.  I’m not going with Hurt because he’s newly elected and it makes sense for him to concentrate on that while he spends time getting used to CDP as a delegate.  I’d be happy to see Tuohey in the position, but I just think that the other two — who are Party of the People endorsed — are better for this job.

Read Khosravi’s candidate statement: it’s pretty spectacular.  I tend to be skeptical of people associated with California Young Democrats because I’ve seen too much bad come out of it along with the good, but his position seems reassuring.  But I’m going with Sudokhnia, because I’ve been on the California Democratic Party website all year and I’ve noticed that she is continually organizing and getting things done there.  She seems to have the perfect sensibility and skill set for the position, so I endorse her.

(Damn, all of that reading and deciding was truly exhausting.)

AD 74 — Candidate statements are at this link


Lauren Johnson-Norris 
Bethany Webb
Leslie Ozuna
Hanieh Jodat 
Nancy Hensel
Natalie Bayer
Michele E Bell  (endorsed if not E-Board candidate)
Lamba Najib    (endorsed if not E-Board candidate)
Michelle Gasparovic
Lynne Riddle
Sonia Fernandez
Mary Clifford
Anne Mohr 
Marlene De la Cruz
Mary Gretchen Bayer
Chelsea Guo
Paola Lima
Mari Fujii
Mollee Munson
Laura Robinson Oatman
Theresa Sorey

Tier 1: Mohr (“Party of the People”), Johnson-Norris, Oatman
Tier 2: Jodat, Najib (also Party of the People)
Tier 3: De la Cruz, Bell


Robert “Bob” Hartman
Cory Johnson
John Stephens
Ron Varasteh
Jesús Gamboa
Dean Inada
Martin Salgado
Ariya Haghighat
Dariush Haghighat 
Dennis Bress
Rick Eugene Norris 
Kev Abazajian
Jaime Gomez

Tier 1: Inada, on the Party of the People slate, who is an absolute treasure.  It’s criminal that he’s not on the DPOC Board.
Tier 2: Stephens, Varasteh, Salgado, Abazajian,
Tier 3:  If you want to vote for 7, Johnson and Gamboa


Five women and two men are running for E-Board.  I don’t find either of the men — Norris and (Dariush) Haghighat as compelling as the women, so they’re out.  I find all five of the women impressive, but given the strong alternatives Bell and Najib should probably have a term to acclimate to CDP before starting with the E-Board.

That brings us down to Lauren Johnson-Norris, Hanieh Jodat, and Anne Mohr.  Any of them would be good.  Johnson-Norris has been treated awfully by the local Democratic establishment, and in some ways this would be a fitting antidote to that.  The other two are on the Party of the People slate.  From what I’ve seen, Jodat would be good as well — but it’s Mohr who has shown her energy and willingness to challenge corruption and disdain for the Left within the party, and that’s what we really need on the E-Board.  So with respect to the other too, I’ll go with Mohr.

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.)