MOORLACH UPDATE — Primary Results — June 4, 2014

The first piece is a portion of the Community & Clubs column from the Daily Pilot. If you’re looking for a great community luncheon event this Friday, then the annual Daily Pilot Community & Clubs Hall of Fame Luncheon should be on your calendar. Please consider yourself invited.

The next three pieces address yesterday’s election results. I am providing them as historical information. The Daily Pilot, the OC Register, and the Newport Beach-Corona del Mar Patch provide the news below. When all of the precincts were tallied, Webster Guillory dropped below 50 percent and will face a runoff with Claude Parrish in November (only the Patch piece had the late slippage noted). To see the voting results, go to the Orange County Registrar of Voters website at http://www.ocvote.com/fileadmin/live/pri2014/results.htm).

This was a unique primary for me. I had the privilege of considering multiple options, including statewide (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_gubernatorial_election,_2014), state assembly, Congress, and countywide. It was an honor to have had the options. However, after two decades of public service, returning to the private sector in order to devote more time to my family was the course that self-selected. I am very devoted to the current position and will be until January 5th. I am thankful for the opportunity to have served and I’m looking forward to a change of pace in 2015.

Community & Clubs: Ten of the best to receive honors

By Jim de Boom

There is still time to make a reservation to help honor 10 community volunteers who have given of their time, talent and treasure in their community and, in many cases, far beyond. The luncheon will begin at 11:45 a.m. at the American Legion Newport Harbor Post 291, 215 15th St., Newport Beach.

Being honored with their induction to the 2014 Class of the Daily Pilot Community & Clubs Hall of Fame are Gina Stansbury, Harbor Mesa Lions Club; Mary Carolan, American Legion Auxiliary Unit 291 Newport Harbor; Steve Bender, Newport Beach Sunrise Rotary Club; Harlan Andersen, Kiwanis Club of Costa Mesa; Dawn Marie Lemonds, Soroptimist International of Newport Harbor Area; William H. Bechtel, Exchange Club of Newport Harbor; Jerry Rekers, Newport-Irvine Rotary Club; John Stansbury, American Legion Newport Harbor Post 291; Diane Daruty, Rotary Club of Newport-Balboa; and Ellen Wright, Kiwanis Club of Newport Beach/Corona del Mar.

They will join 47 other men and women who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame over the past five years.

Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach will be the master of ceremonies, while Daily Pilot Editor John Canalis and yours truly will present the honors. Proceeds from the luncheon benefit the Explorer program of the Orange County Council of the Boy Scouts of America. Reservations at $50 each can be obtained by calling Lane Calvert at (714) 546-8558, Ext. 181, or emailing lanec@oclfl.org.

Curry, Harper likely headed to run-off

Steel beating Mansoor by wide margin; incumbents cruising to another term.

By Jill Cowan

As poll workers Tuesday collected the last trickle of votes in a statewide primary expected to draw one of the lowest turnouts in California’s history, frontrunners in several area races appeared to be headed for spots on the November general election ballot — though one contest was a bit tighter than expected.

Former Newport Beach mayor and longtime area conservative political insider Keith Curry led a crowded field of contenders to represent the 74th state Assembly District by a relatively slim margin, despite far outspending his opponents.

"I am gratified by the response from the voters, particularly from Newport Beach," he said, adding that "attacks" by Harper on Newport’s spending on public facilities were proven ineffective. "I look forward to a spirited campaign in November, talking about how to lower taxes, create jobs, protect Proposition 13 and get California growing again."

Curry has consistently led in fundraising and secured endorsements from Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) and former Sen. Marian Bergeson, so what seemed to be the bigger question heading into Tuesday’s race was which of the four remaining candidates — Republicans Matthew Harper and Emanuel Patrascu, and Democrats Anila Ali and Karina Onofre — would face Curry in the general election later this year.

But as of just after 10 p.m., with absentee ballots and a small percentage of precincts reporting, Harper trailed Curry by just 4.6%, having garnered 24.3% of the votes counted in the district, which includes Huntington Beach, Irvine, Laguna Beach, Laguna Woods and Newport Beach.

Harper said he was having a "low-key" night Tuesday, as he prepared for the bigger battle to come.

"I’m going to love when we finally calculate this out — the cost per vote," he said. "I’m feeling great…. Curry was clearly not able to sell to a majority of voters."

Nevertheless, that two Republicans could be head-to-head in the general election was unsurprising, given the district’s registration, said Fred Smoller, an associate political science professor at Chapman University who closely follows Orange County politics.

And the recognizability that comes with having led two of the district’s major cities certainly gave both Curry and Harper an edge over Patrascu, who works for Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach) but had never run for office himself. Ali, an Irvine teacher, and Onofre, a businesswoman who also lives in Irvine, are political newcomers.

With about 19.3% of the vote, Ali was solidly in third place.

"This was more than we expected," she said Tuesday.

Onofre, who switched from Republican to Democrat mid-campaign, came in fourth with 16%. Patrascu was in last with 11.5%.

Under the state’s open primary system, which got its first full-scale test Tuesday, the top two vote-getters in the primary will move on to the general election in November, regardless of political party. The system applies to races for the state Legislature and Congress, as well as statewide office.

Though Curry and Harper have tended to agree on general conservative principles, such as curbing spending, the two have found themselves at odds on more local issues — most notably, how to balance the sacred California tradition of burning wood in beach fire rings with the health concerns they pose for residents living nearby.

Curry has pushed for city-by-city control over where beachgoers are allowed to burn, largely in response to worries raised by Newport residents who have lobbied hard to rid the city’s beaches of wood-burning pits. Harper, on the other hand, stood by Huntington’s charge to prevent regional air quality regulators from imposing any rules that could threaten even a handful of the city’s wood-burning fire pits.

Still, Smoller predicted Monday that the race heading into the general election will likely boil down to a simpler opposition:

"Huntington Beach has the numbers, and Newport Beach has the money," he said.

Orange County Supervisor race

Meanwhile, current 74th District Assemblyman Allan Mansoor (R-Costa Mesa) lagged far behind state Board of Equalization Member Michelle Steel in the race to represent the Orange County Board of Supervisors’ 2nd district.

Unlike in the state primary system, candidates for countywide or local office can still win outright with more than 50% of the vote.

That didn’t appear to be the case late Tuesday night, though Steel, widely considered a frontrunner to replace termed-out Supervisor John Moorlach, got pretty close: She had garnered 47.5% of votes, with 36 of 423 precincts reporting.

Mansoor — a former mayor of Costa Mesa who earned endorsements from the city’s strongly conservative current leadership — had 23.3% of the vote as of 10:30 p.m.

Republican Huntington Beach Councilman Joe Carchio had 7.8% and the sole Democrat in the race, Coast Community College District Trustee Jim Moreno, had earned 21.4%.

Smoller said that because Tuesday’s primary would likely draw a smaller chunk of the electorate, one more reflective of "traditional" Republican Orange County, the toss-up between Steel and Mansoor had become "an echo rather than a choice, to misquote Barry Goldwater."

He added that since no candidate was likely to garner the majority of the vote in the primary, the election was "kind of a dustup, if you will. A pregame."

Although both Mansoor and Steel have boasted credibility with different factions of conservatives in the region, Steel has far outstripped all of her opponents in fundraising. At a forum in April she said she’d raised more than half a million dollars.

Reached Tuesday evening, the Surfside resident said she’d hoped to finish her campaign with the primary, but that she planned to continue raising money and "working hard."

"I wish I had a great win right out, but you know, I’m going to go all the way to the general election and we’re going to win no matter what," she said. "I don’t take anything for granted."

Mansoor said late Tuesday night that he was watching returns carefully.

"We’re still watching the votes come in like everybody else," he said.

Moorlach, who endorsed Mansoor to replace him on the Board of Supervisors, said election day brought mixed feelings. The longtime county official had planned to run for the 45th Congressional District seat soon to be vacated by Rep. John Campbell (R-Irvine), who announced plans to retire.

Instead, Moorlach announced in March that he was dropping that bid so that he could focus more on his current job as a supervisor and finish out his political career.

"Half of me is like, ‘Boy, I’m glad I didn’t run a campaign with Laura’s Law, and all of that going on,’" he said, referring to the board’s recent decision to make Orange County the first large county to implement the law aimed at helping mentally ill adults. "But the other half is like, ‘Darn, I could have beaten her.’ So I’m mixed."

In that race, State Sen. Mimi Walters (R-Laguna Niguel) appeared to have easily won a ticket to the November runoff with 45.7% of the vote, with 79 of 485 precincts counted. Her likely opponent, Democrat Drew Leavens of Irvine, had 29.8%.

48th Congressional District race

Longtime Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) was rolling toward a 14th term in the 48th Congressional District, with 55% of the votes collected by late Tuesday. Suzanne Savary, a Democrat from Newport Beach was poised to be his challenger in November’s general election, coming in second with 19% of the vote.

Orange County contests

In other countywide races, incumbents also seemed to be cruising to victories.

Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas, who is serving his fourth term now, appeared to be headed for a fifth, with the added title of public administrator. As of late Tuesday night, he’d garnered 72.4% of the vote over his opponent, attorney and Democratic activist Greg Diamond.

Sheriff Sandra Hutchens was running unopposed, as was County Treasurer-Tax Collector Shari Freidenrich.

County Assessor Webster Guillory had 50.9% of the votes counted late Tuesday night.

Clerk-Recorder Hugh Nguyen had earned 60.8% of the vote as of about 9:50 p.m.

Finally, a countywide ballot measure, that would prohibit the county from shouldering any of the pension burden for its elected officials was poised to pass easily. With 161 of 1856 precincts counted, almost 88% of voters had said yes to Measure A.

[For the record, 9:01 a.m. June 4: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported Emanuel Patrascu had never ran for political office before. Actually, he ran for a seat on Laguna
Beach City Council in 2010. Also, Karina Onofre once ran for Santa Ana City Council.]

Two supervisor races headed for runoffs

Incumbent Shawn Nelson led by a wide margin in the race for the Fourth District seat.

Two of the three races for seats on the Orange County Board of Supervisors seem likely to go to a runoff in the fall.

Incumbent Shawn Nelson easily pulled far ahead of Rudy Gaona in the contest for the Fourth District, which reaches from Brea to Anaheim. Nelson led by a comfortable margin in early results.

Nelson, 47, was first elected in 2010 and had raised about $233,000 as of the reporting period ending May 17. Gaona, who billed himself as a grass-roots candidate, works in the supply department of the Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center.

In the battle for the Second District seat vacated by termed-out Supervisor John Moorlach, early results Tuesday revealed the likelihood of two candidates – termed-out Board of Equalization member Michelle Steel and 74th District Assemblyman Allan Mansoor – going to a runoff in November.

Steel, who raised the most money – about $600,000 – said she was “very happy” with her strong lead.

“I was not really well known here and Allan Mansoor said this was his territory,” she said. “But I met so many people and I got a lot of key endorsements. I’ve worked really hard for the last 21/2 years and I think that paid off.”

Steel, who has endorsements from Sheriff Sandra Hutchens, District Attorney Tony Rackaukas, and Reps. Darrell Issa and Dana Rohrabacher, said she held about 40 meet-and-greet events to get her name out there.

In the Fifth District race, Dana Point Mayor Lisa Bartlett took an early lead and appeared to be headed toward a runoff in November.

“It is great to have an early lead,” she said. “We ran a very disciplined and organized campaign. But we are not taking anything for granted with more precincts to be counted.”

Laguna Niguel City Councilman Robert Ming was in second place in early returns. Trailing were Mission Viejo City Councilman Frank Ury and Deputy District Attorney Joe Williams.

Contact the writer: 714-796-7909 or dbharath

Election Results for Orange County: Michelle Steel and Robert Ming Lead

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas easily fended off re-election challenges.

Posted by Penny Arévalo (Editor)

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas won handily and runoffs are in store for two Orange County Board of Supervisor seats. Meanwhile, incumbent County Assessor Webster Guillory was heading for a November runoff in hopes of keeping his job.

Rackauckas handily defeated Attorney Greg Diamond, a former Orange County Democratic Party official, liberal blogger and ex-Occupy activist. Diamond, 54, said he decided to challenge Rackauckas because no one else would. He criticized Rackauckas for personally prosecuting the Kelly Thomas case, which ended in the acquittals of the Fullerton police officers charged in the transient’s death.

Rackauckas, 71, had not faced a challenger since 2002.

In the race for Second District seat to replace termed-out Supervisor John Moorlach, Michelle Steel, a termed-out member of the state Board of Equalization, led the four-candidate field, but fell shy of the 50 percent of the vote needed to avoid a November runoff. Assemblyman Allan Mansoor, R-Costa Mesa, appeared to outlast two other competitors to snare the second spot in the runoff.

Jim Moreno, a trustee of the Coast Community College District and the only Democrat in the race, was third while Huntington Beach City Councilman Joe Carchio was a distant fourth.

In the race to replace Fifth District Supervisor Patricia Bates, whose term expires in January, Dana Point Mayor Lisa Bartlett and Laguna Niguel Councilman Robert Ming will face off in November.

The district is about 46 percent Republican and 27 percent Democrat, with 22 percent adhering to no political party, according to county data.

In the race for county clerk-recorder, incumbent Hugh Nguyen, who was appointed in 2013, outpaced Monica Maddox, a businesswoman who pledged to cut waste and fraud and not accept a pension; Gary Pritchard, 42, of Aliso Viejo, a member of the Capistrano Unified School District board; and retired teacher Steve Rocco, who did not submit campaign information to the League of Women Voters and California Education Fund.

Guillory fell just shy of the 50 percent vote tally he needed to retain his job as assessor, so he will face Claude Parrish, a former chairman of the state Board of Equalization, in November.

Meanwhile, county voters approved Measure A, requiring county elected officials — members of the Board of Supervisors and countywide offices — to pay their own pension costs.

2nd District, Orange County Board of Supervisors, 391 of 423 precincts reporting

· MICHELLE STEEL 23,746/46.6%

· ALLAN R. MANSOOR 11,881/23.3%

· JIM MORENO 11,019/21.6%

· JOE CARCHIO 4,329/8.5%

5th District, Orange County Board of Supervisors, all 441 precincts reporting

· ROBERT MING 14,757/29.4%

· LISA BARTLETT 14,552/29.0%

· FRANK URY 11,861/23.6%

· JOE WILLIAMS 9,030/18.0%

–City News Service

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