After Republican Michelle Steel defeated incumbent Democrat Harley Rouda for the 48th District US Congress seat by a margin of 51.06% to 48.94%, she was forced to vacate her seat on the OC Board of Supervisors in order to ascend. To fill that seat, we are having a Special Election tomorrow, Tuesday, March 8th.
The contenders? Insiders unanimously agree– and the polls we have seen here at SaveNewport indicate– this race is between Republican John Moorlach (and former State Senator) and Democrat Katrina Foley (current Costa Mesa mayor). Many remember Moorlach not only sounded the alarm about Orange County’s budgetary crisis many years ago– and was accused of being “chicken little”– but actually solved the budgetary crisis after it turned out that this CPA-turned-public-servant was proven correct: the sky was actually falling.
Other contenders include:
– Republican and former Newport Beach mayor, Kevin Muldoon
– Republican and current Fountain Valley mayor Michael Vo
– Democratic candidate and CdM Tax Attorney Janet Rappaport
While Orange County elected Biden in 2020 and voted for Hillary in 2016 (the first time OC went red since the Great Depression), this election takes place in a decidedly more “red” section of OC. While that may seem to indicate that Moorlach will win handedly, the competition from two other Republicans could easily eat away at the party-line voters. Indeed, while Foley has raised $597,405 and had much of her campaign funded by government union workers, Moorlach– late to file– has raised $319,212, but polling considerably well. Muldoon, Vo, and Rappaport have raised $289,161, $216,841, and $150,800, respectively. With that kind of fundraising, it is very possible that Muldoon and Vo combined could take enough votes away from the Republican ticket to sink Moorlach and elect Foley.
But there is contention within the ranks. Muldoon filed before Moorlach, and much of his campaign surrogates have harped on the fact that Moorlach filed after Muldoon. But Muldoon is currently serving as a city council person in Newport Beach, and frankly is better suited for an Assembly position. Moorlach has already served in the OC Board of Supervisors– where he saved OC from insolvency. The OC GOP has officially endorsed Moorlach, and issued outright condemning statements about Vo and Muldoon for continuing their campaigns, which could very well serve to flip the seat on the BoS from Republican to Democrat by “splitting the Republican vote”.
In normal election cycles, the top two vote-getters in a Primary Election will continue to a run-off against one another campaign for the General Election. For a special election, this top-vote-take-all situation can derail who would otherwise win by consolidation of party votes in a General Election, making decision-making all that more important for swayable party-line voters.
Given the history of Moorlach’s fiscal responsibility and his responsiveness to constituents, and the actions of Foley (refusing to partner with Newport Beach– her neighboring city– to help solve the homeless crisis), we wholeheartedly endorse Moorlach for the seat of OC Board of Supervisors, District 2.