MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — First Filing Report — February 4, 2014

The reporting period closed on December 31 and the reports had to be filed by January 31. This is then followed by media accounts to provide the score. The first piece below, in today’s OC Register, is the only one that I was interviewed for. You have to love Washington, D.C.-based reporters. I’m now a "Tustin Republican!" You would have to see the graphics to realize that I’m the only candidate to file for the first time. Mimi Walters started raising funds right after Congressman Campbell announced his retirement in late June and Greg Raths started before then. It would have been nice if the reporter would have mentioned that I started raising funds in the December time period.

The scores are what they are. I did start a little later. So now its time to catch up and add some excitement to this race.

To all of you that contributed before the end of 2013, thank you very, very much!

To those who have not had a chance to join in the fun, it’s "Moorlach for Congress" at 360 E. First Street, Suite 736, Tustin, CA, 92780. You can also contribute with your credit card online at www.MoorlachforCongress.us.

A question that the reporter failed to ask is, "what have you done with the money you’ve raised?" Well, we did some polling. And it indicates that Mimi Walters will need to raise a significant amount of money to defeat me. Can you make an investment with our winning team today? We need to tighten up the score with the March 31st report.

The second piece is from KPCC 89.3 FM’s website. The third piece appeared yesterday in the LA Times and the fourth piece is a segment from Sunday’s Chicago Tribune, which gave updates on those pursuing open seats.

REPUBLICAN STATE SENATOR IN LINE FOR CAMPBELL’S SEAT

Mimi Walters leads 2 other Republicans in fundraising, FEC filings show.

BY MATTHEW FLEMING

WASHINGTON BUREAU

In politics, no race is over until the final votes are cast on Election Day. But if the 2014 midterm elections were held today, all Orange County congressional incumbents would be re-elected, analysts say, and Republican state Sen. Mimi Walters likely would win the seat being vacated by the retiring John Campbell, R-Irvine.

On Friday, incumbents and challengers posted their fourth-quarter campaign contribution totals.

In the race for Campbell’s 45th District seat, Walters has a commanding lead in cash on hand, with nearly $400,000 more than her closest competitor, Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach, a Tustin Republican who has $37,000 cash on hand. Another GOP candidate, retired Lt. Col. Greg Raths of Mission Viejo, has $23,000.

Having the most money does not ensure victory. But it sure helps.

“Even if you have name (recognition), it’s difficult to win races unless you have money to push mail out, to remind voters to vote for you on Election Day,” said Scott Baugh, chairman of the Orange County Republican Party.

Walters has received more total funds with more entities making donations. She has received about 150 individual contributions, plus many from corporate interests. She also has received contributions of $5,000 each from the leadership political action committees of Reps. Ed Royce, R-Fullerton, and Darrell Issa, R-Vista.

“We’re very pleased with the progress she’s made on her fundraising; it’s actually only been six months,” said Dave Gilliard, a political consultant for Walters. “She has to continue it; (she can’t) take anything for granted.”

Moorlach has received about 50 individual contributions and none from corporate interests. He was upbeat Monday about his chances, saying he was not concerned with Walters’ sizable fundraising advantage and still believed the race would be competitive.

Raths has received about 30 contributions since he started campaigning, none from corporate interests, and has lent himself $90,000 during the election cycle. He did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Campbell’s seat is expected to remain Republican. Redistricting has created “safe” districts in Orange County, a trend that mirrors many areas of the country. Both national parties expect only about 45 of 435 House seats to be competitive, a handful of which are in California. All five Orange County incumbents’ seats are rated “safe” by the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia.

No Orange County incumbent seems to even have a strong challenger.

Nick Anas, executive director of Orange County’s Democratic Party, said he expected that would change as some still were finishing their candidacy paperwork. Baugh mirrored those sentiments from a Republican perspective.

Measuring the mothers milk of politics: Congressional fundraising

Wendy Greuel announced she would run for Congress just hours after Henry Waxman said last week he would not seek re-election. Monday, she sent out her first fundraising email, thanking those who supported her failed run for L.A. mayor, saying she’s "excited that we’re going to get a chance to stand together again."

Greuel is raising money for her Congressional race even as she carries a $470,000 debt from her 2013 unsuccessful mayoral bid. She raised almost $7.3 million for that race.

Greuel will face another Democrat in the June primary — State Senator Ted Lieu, whose district overlaps with much of Waxman’s

But both Greuel and Lieu are already behind in the fundraising race. Even before Waxman announced that 40 years in Congress was enough, new-age author and speaker Marianne Williamson had raised $345,000 to run as an independent in the 33rd Congressional district.

Waxman himself has a fat campaign war chest. According to the latest filings with the Federal Election Commission, the Democrat from West Los Angeles still has more than three-quarter of a million dollars left in the bank. Waxman can donate as much as he wants to the Democratic Party, or dole it out in maximum $2,000 gifts to other Congressional campaigns.

Waxman spent more than $2 million on his 2012 reelection; his opponent, businessman Bill Bloomfield, who ran as an independent, spent about $8 million — much of it his own money.

The latest FEC numbers released January 31st show several other retiring members of Congress also have leftover campaign dollars. Republican Buck McKeon of Simi Valley has more than half a million dollars at his disposal; fellow GOP member John Campbell of Irvine has nearly $370,000.

Two hotly-contested races in Southern California are attracting large amounts of campaign cash.

Inland Empire Republican Congressman Gary Miller has been labeled as the "most vulnerable" House incumbent in the country. He’s ready for the challenge, with nearly a million dollars in cash in his campaign account. Two of his Democratic challengers have about half that amount in the bank: Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar has just over half a million dollars; Eloise Reyes has just under half a million.

Aguilar is the official party favorite; Reyes received nearly $100,000 from Emily’s List and loaned her campaign the same amount. Former Congressman Joe Baca is also running in the 31st district, but he has just over $20,000 in the bank.

In Palm Springs, freshman incumbent Raul Ruiz has raised more than $1.5 million for his re-election race, with more than a million in cash on hand. His GOP opponent, State Assemblyman Brian Nestande, has attracted less than a third of the amount Ruiz has raised and has just over $300,000 in cash on hand.

Ruiz is a top GOP target, but in a media market that is considerably less expensive than the LA/Orange County market, he’s got the cash to spend on television time.

In the race to replace Republican Buck McKeon in Simi Valley, Democrat Lee Rogers has just under $200,000 in the bank. Former state GOP lawmaker Tony Strickland has more than $400,000 in the bank; current Republican state Senator Steve Knight is a distant third, with just over $20,000 cash on hand.

And in the Irvine race to replace the GOP’s John Campbell, Republican state Senator Mimi Walters is the money frontrunner, with just under half a million dollars in the bank; her two GOP competitors are far behind: Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach has less than $40,000 in cash; retired Marine Greg Raths has less than $25,000.

California’s primary is June 3rd.

Kitty Felde, Washington, D.C. Correspondent

February 3

More campaigns pit one political party against itself

Democrats gathering to run for Rep. Henry Waxman’s seat underscore a California trend of intraparty warfare that’s also growing on the national scene.

By Seema Mehta

The race to succeed Rep. Henry A. Waxman is emblematic of a fresh wave sweeping across California’s politics and, increasingly, the national landscape: intraparty fratricide as a means of upward political mobility.

Four of California’s Democrats in Congress lost to members of their own party in 2012, while Republicans did not knock out a single opposition lawmaker. Another Democratic incumbent faces a stiff intraparty challenge in a Silicon Valley district this year, and the clash for the Waxman seat seems destined to be expensive and bloody.

In part, the fighting exists because districts are increasingly partisan, meaning that the only chance to knock off an incumbent rests with someone of the same party.

At best, such fights harden the candidates for cross-party warfare. At worst, they leave bruised relationships, political wounds and, on occasion, a nominee who caters to the party’s base at the expense of broader appeal.

In California, there is the added fillip of the so-called jungle primary, in which the top two vote-getters in June move on to the general election regardless of party affiliation. In effect, that means members of one party can continue to battle one another until November. That could be the case for both the Waxman district in West Los Angeles and the seat held by Democrat Michael M. Honda of San Jose.

"How nasty those campaigns get and how vicious they get and how personal they get is going to be an indicator of whether the ‘top two’ has the real ramification of splitting the Democratic coalition," said Democratic strategist Garry South.

Intraparty battle led to political retribution last year. Steve Glazer, Gov. Jerry Brown‘s 2010 campaign manager, and other Democratic consultants were blacklisted by the California Labor Federation after they worked against labor’s interests in two 2012 Assembly races that featured feuding Democratic candidates.

Bitter intraparty battles among both Republicans and Democrats are becoming more common across the country, as the number of contested districts shrinks. California has independent redistricting, which eliminated blatant gerrymandering that kept districts solidly in one column or the other. However, between the tendency of voters to congregate with those who think like them, and Democratic dominance in the state, more and more races in California are becoming head-to-head Democratic contests.

These battles could get even bloodier in big-ticket statewide races in 2016 and 2018, when the governor’s office and perhaps one or more U.S. Senate seats will be vacant. (Senate incumbents Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, who are up in 2016 and 2018, have not said if they will run again.)

"Republicans have to worry about the possibility in 2018 there are two Democrats running against each other for governor and no Republican even on the ballot," South said.

Intraparty races are already building this year. The most prominent until now has been former Obama administration official Ro Khanna’s effort to unseat Honda. Establishment Democrats, from President Obama down, are backing Honda, but Khanna is receiving major support — financial and tactical — from some Obama donors and strategists.

Rep. Eric Swalwell of Dublin, who defeated Democratic incumbent Pete Stark in 2012, is facing a challenge by a fellow Democrat, state Sen. Ellen Corbett of San Leandro.

Stark was one of four incumbents felled by fellow Democrats two years ago. Rep. Joe Baca lost a challenge from Gloria Negrete McLeod of Chino. And after redistricting forced four incumbents into two Los Angeles-area districts, Reps. Howard L. Berman and Laura Richardson lost their offices.

Some Republican-on-Republican races are emerging in districts where their voting strength is consolidated.

In a solidly red Orange County district, a three-way fight is underway to replace Rep. John Campbell of Irvine, featuring County Supervisor John Moorlach, retired Marine Col. Greg Raths and state Sen. Mimi Walters of Irvine.

Some Republicans say the new rules could benefit them by offering a chance in districts in which they never would have had a shot under the old system. If the right candidate surfaced, the Waxman seat could offer Republicans "a fighting chance in what would be an otherwise unwinnable seat," said Adam Mendelsohn, a political strategist and advisor to former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

He acknowledged that any Republican would face an uphill battle because of the district’s makeup. But if Democrats damage themselves in a protracted battle, he argued, a credible center-right candidate with financial resources could pick up voters dismayed at the spectacle.

So far, no Republican candidate of his description has materialized, although wealthy Republican-turned-independent Bill Bloomfield, who challenged Waxman in 2012 and won 46% of the vote, may run again. (Democratic entrants include former Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Greuel and state Sen. Ted Lieu of Torrance, with others circling the race.)

"The feeling is 2014 is really where you see it, and the Waxman race is an opportunity for the power of the ‘top two’ to come into play," Mendelsohn said. "The question is whether the candidate will align with the opportunity."

Reed Galen, a Republican strategist, agreed.

"There are only so many Democratic votes, and the Democrats are all going to beat the you-know-what out of each other," he said.

Multi-candidate races are unpredictable, strategically fraught and subject to bank-shot calculations, since a move against one opponent, if it offends voters, could benefit a third.

Such unexpected ricochets produced a surprise result in 2012 in an Inland Empire congressional district. Democrats had expected to take the seat, but four Democrats split the party’s vote in the June election, sending two Republicans into the general election. The winner was conservative Gary G. Miller.

"Nobody expected that congressional race," said Paul Mitchell, a Democratic redistricting expert. "You had a situation where four Democrats split the vote, very low Democratic turnout, and voila."

This year, the same forces are at play. Four Democrats are running for the Miller seat, although national party strategists are trying to winnow the field to increase a Democrat’s chances of taking the district.

But with the top-two primary, no candidate has seen an incentive to leave — all they need to do is to come in second to move on to November.

seema.mehta

Times staff writer Jean Merl contributed to this report.

February 1

Field guide to departing lawmakers — and possible successors

By Steve Padilla

JOHN CAMPBELL

Age: 59

City: Irvine

First elected: 2005

Party: Republican

Known for: Frequent critic of big spending. Attacked earmarks, even those proposed by fellow Republicans. Before Congress, served in California Assembly and state Senate.

45th District: Heavily Republican. Encompasses parts of central and south Orange County, including Irvine and parts of Anaheim, Orange and Mission Viejo. Voted for Mitt Romney in 2012. Fifty percent of residents have bachelor’s degree or higher. Population is 66.9% white, 21% Asian, 18.7% Latino, 1.4% black. Median household income: $89,383.

Would-be successors: Three-way race features state Sen. Mimi Walters of Irvine, Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach and Greg Raths, a Marine veteran and former assistant chief of staff for the White House Military Office.

Quote: “At the end of this term, I will have spent 14 years serving in full-time elected politics. I am not nor did I ever intend to be a career politician. I am ready to begin a new chapter in my life.”

Disclaimer: This campaign UPDATE has been sent by the Moorlach for Congress campaign.