MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — Letting Go — March 12, 2014

Letting go has not been easy. But, it has been a big relief. Yesterday morning I attended the Toshiba Classic’s annual Breakfast with a Champion breakfast for the first time. I was the guest of Master of Ceremonies, Hank Adler, who e-mailed me later in the day and wrote "I thought you had color in your face for the first time this morning in months." To confirm that I do have some color in my face, just check out the reflection in the Daily Pilot photo of Colin Montgomerie below with the first of two stories on the announcement.

The second piece is from the Voice of OC. I had some fun with the close of filing, which occurs this evening. I have received several calls this morning on both the Assembly and the Auditor-Controller races. If I can’t find the necessary time to mount an aggressive campaign for Congress, then I won’t have the time for these two alternatives. Therefore, you won’t see me in the Registrar of Voters lobby this afternoon.

Starting next January, I will have plenty of time to pursue new alternatives. Thank you for your friendship, your support, and for your kind words of encouragement. I’m looking forward to the next chapter. I also hope to stay in communication, so expect an occasional e-mail.

With gratitude for your understanding.


Moorlach drops out of congressional race

District 2 supervisor says he found it hard to find time to do necessary fundraising to fight ‘negative mail on a weekly basis.’

By Jill Cowan

Champion Tour guest speaker Colin Montgomerie talks during Toshiba Classic’s annual Breakfast With A Champion on Tuesday at Balboa Bay Resort in Newport Beach. (Kevin Chang/ Daily Pilot) (KEVIN CHANG, Daily Pilot / March 11, 2014)

Saying he’d like to focus on finishing out his current job, Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach is dropping his congressional campaign, he announced Monday night.

"I was moving forward, having fun, but my team would say, ‘How are you doing on fundraising?’" he said Tuesday morning. "The job I have is my top priority."

Moorlach, a Republican, first hinted at his candidacy in July after ruling out a run for governor against incumbent Jerry Brown. In January, he will be termed out of the Board of Supervisors, where he represents District 2, which includes Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach and Newport Beach.

He announced he was running to replace retiring 45th District Rep. John Campbell (R-Irvine) late last year.

State Sen. Mimi Walters (R-Laguna Niguel), Republican Marine veteran and former commercial airline pilot Greg Raths of Mission Viejo and Democratic businessman Drew Leavens, who lives in Irvine, are left vying for the seat, according to the Orange County registrar of voters.

Moorlach, who lives in Costa Mesa, said in a statement emailed to supporters Monday evening that he still felt he was the best candidate for the spot and that polling showed he was leading the pack.

"But without satisfactory resources in the bank," he wrote, "I will find myself being hammered by negative mail on a weekly basis."

Tuesday, he added that it was tough to call friends "with five minutes to ask for money," rather than to catch up.

The longtime Costa Mesa resident gained political recognition in 1994 when he raised concerns about the vulnerability of Orange County’s investment pool during his campaign for county treasurer. The county declared bankruptcy later that year.

He was first elected to the board of supervisors in 2006.

Ultimately, he said, his bookish accountant’s nature won out over a life on the campaign trail.

"I’m more of a worker bee than a social bee," he said.

In the statement, he thanked those who had helped him over the past two decades at the county level.

"I will enjoy my final year as supervisor and then return to the private sector, grateful for the opportunity to have served this wonderful county and its 3 million residents," he wrote. "I’ve been blessed."

Moorlach Hinting at the Winding Down of His Public Life

Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach (Photo by: Violeta Vaqueiro)


Today could mark the official beginning of the end for John Moorlach as county supervisor.

Yet whether that nametag gets replaced with County Auditor/Controller or State Assemblyman won’t be known for certain today until the end of business, the filing deadline for candidates seeking anyone of three higher elected offices where an incumbent didn’t file for reelection.

If he doesn’t file for office, the man who was largely credited for predicting the 1994 Orange County bankruptcy will leave public life in less than a year.

“I let you know at five tomorrow,” said Moorlach during a Tuesday night interview.

Moorlach announced earlier this week that he was pulling out of his bid to represent the 45th Congressional District, saying he was having a tough time balancing fundraising and the responsibilities of being a county supervisor.

Given that most of Orange County’s GOP influence leaders, like the New Majority, were entirely behind Moorlach’s opponent, State Senator Mimi Walters, financing a traditional competing campaign didn’t’ seem feasible, Moorlach concluded.

Moorlach seemed a bit deflated late Tuesday, voicing interest in a return to private life after more than two decades in the public policy limelight.

However, he also left open a seemingly small door to public life.

“I’ve gotten several calls that I should jump into the 74th assembly race. I’ve been pushed by a few people to jump into the auditor race. But when I pulled out of the congressional race, I said its Congress or nothing,” Moorlach said.

Moorlach even hints that a guerrilla congressional campaign – a Tea Party-type, call-em-as-you-see-em effort against the party bosses – run through Facebook and free media, is possible.

Yet he doesn’t see it happening.

“My wife would have to wake up in the middle of the night and say do that,” Moorlach said of any last minute change of heart to run for the three elected seats that offer him a chance to continue life as an elected official.

“By five you’ll know,” Moorlach said, “but I’m not expecting to do anything crazy. I’m expecting to wind down.”

“What’s nice to know is that there’s lots of people who want to see me stay in office,” he said. “And that’s a nice affirmation.”