MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — Happy Mother’s Day — May 11, 2014

Today’s OC Register provides a recap on the race for the 45th Congressional District. I guess the good news is that I have time today to spend with my wife and mother on Mother’s Day. Hoping yours is filled with special time, too.

BONUS: With every election cycle, I receive a number of telephone calls and e-mails asking me how I would vote in the upcoming election. Today I am providing the second segment of my suggestions on county races below, an area of concern that is most important to me, after investing a third of my life in county elected offices. For the first half, see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — Cinco de Mayo — May 5, 2014.

My voter’s guide is rather simple to understand. As a life-long Republican and a former member of the Orange County and California Republican Central Committees, I am only permitted to endorse or recommend Republicans. However, I will note where there may be a deviation, as it is better to have a good Independent than a bad Republican.

If I have definitely endorsed a particular candidate, then that candidate’s name will be in bold. If there are two or more qualified candidates and one would be a good second choice, those candidate’s names will be in italics. If I have no position or am very neutral, then the candidates will be in normal print. Names will be provided in alphabetical order. Where applicable, I will provide a brief analysis.

For the state wide races, see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — Feet to the Fire — May 1, 2014. For the Congressional and State Legislative races (although there are no endorsements), see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — Star Wars Day — May 4, 2014.


Lisa Bartlett

Robert Ming

Frank Ury

Each of the candidates has a long history of public service in the District. I have served with Robert Ming on the Orange County Vector Control Board and know him as a sharp and dedicated legal mind. I serve with Frank Ury on the Orange County Transportation Authority, where he did not oppose putting toll lanes in the Second District on the San Diego (405) Freeway. Robert Ming came out publicly against the toll lane taxation strategy. The dynamics of the June primary will be similar to the 2nd District, as the real race will be in November between the top two vote getters.


Frank Davies

Eric Woolery

Two of the five candidates are declared Republicans. Both are fine men and accountants with strong resumes. Frank Davies is currently in a critical management position in the Auditor-Controller’s office and would hit the ground running, with a strong knowledge of the key members in this critical department. Eric has elected office experience and has recently been involved with a department for Riverside County. Coming in cold will make for a difficult learning curve for such a senior position (speaking from personal experience). As with the Assessor recommendation, it would be wise to vote for experience in and knowledge of the position.

Open O.C. House seat draws diverse field, but how competitive?

Political veteran Mimi Walters is an early favorite to replace retiring Rep. John Campbell. In all, two Republicans, a Democrat and a Buena Park candidate with no party preference make up the field.


Within minutes of Rep. John Campbell’s announcement in 2013 that he would not seek re-election, state Sen. Mimi Walters was on the phone with supporters and donors, nimbly re-directing her well-oiled campaign machine toward the soon-to-open office.

“Congressional seats don’t open up often,” said Walters, a Laguna Niguel resident. “Having the opportunity to represent the people of Orange County on a national level is a lifelong dream.”

Other candidates came and went – including county Supervisor John Moorlach, considered by some to be the front-runner until he dropped out because of lackluster fundraising.

When the dust settled, four candidates remained – a diverse crew reflecting the political composition of the 45th Congressional District, which extends from Anaheim Hills to Mission Viejo.

Republicans are 43 percent of the district, and they have two candidates, Walters and retired Marine Col. Greg Raths. Democrats, 28 percent, are represented in the race by business ownerDrew Leavens. Twenty-four percent of voters have no party preference – and neither does candidate and biotech company owner Al Salehi.

Walters has attracted the most attention for several reasons: She has raised twice as much money as her opponents combined. She is a proven campaigner, having spent 18 years in a series of elected offices. She has the support of the Republican establishment. And she has a solid GOP record in a solid GOP district.

“The question is who she’ll be running against in November,” said Allan Hoffenblum, whose Target Book handicaps races throughout the state.

Given the state’s top-two open primary and the large proportion of Republican voters in the district, two Republicans could be on the ballot in the fall.


In contrast to Walters – who also has served on the Laguna Niguel City Council and in the Assembly – Raths has never before run for office. And he’s the only candidate who entered the race before Campbell’s unexpected announcement.

Raths wanted to take on Campbell for his lack of support for military funding and his support for the Cash for Clunkers auto rebate program. When Campbell announced he would retire after five terms, Raths adjusted his scorecard and continued preparations.

Raths, a Mission Viejo resident and former fighter pilot, served as assistant chief of staff in the White House Military Office for three years under Democratic President Bill Clinton. A Walters mailer attacks him as a “Clinton Republican,” but he says it was a military assignment from the Pentagon rather than an administration appointment.

The $352,000 he raised through the reporting period ending March 31 included $261,000 of his own money, and is less than half of Walter’s $772,000. But he and his volunteers have been pounding the pavement since June 13, and he says he has visited every service club, minority group and community gathering he could wrangle an invitation from.

He estimates his volunteers have knocked on 80,000 doors in the district – and 20,000 of those he has done himself.

“We’ve been busting our butts from 6 o’clock in the morning until 2 o’clock in the morning,” said Raths, 60. “Veterans and Christians are my base. Maybe I’m all wrong, but I’m feeling pretty comfortable we’ll make it to November against Mimi.”

This UPDATE is provided from my campaign e-mail account.