MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — Senator Elect — March 20, 2015

All of the votes have been counted. Here is the final shot from the Orange County Registrar of Voters website:

Registration and Turnout
Completed Precincts: 248 of 248
Reg/Turnout Percentage
Total Registered Voters 491,852
Precinct Registration 491,852
Precinct Ballots Cast 10,375 2.1%
Early Ballots Cast 0 0.0%
Vote-by-Mail Ballots Cast 66,746 13.6%
Total Ballots Cast 77,121 15.7%
STATE SENATOR 37th District, Short Term
Completed Precincts: 248 of 248
Vote Count Percentage
JOHN M. W. MOORLACH (REP) 38,111 50.3%
DONALD P. WAGNER (REP) 33,403 44.1%
NAZ NAMAZI (REP) 2,619 3.5%
Louise Stewardson (W) 1,695 2.2%

My opponent, Don Wagner, posted something conciliatory on his Facebook page today.

It looks like we can now move forward and go about the job of State Senator! I’m looking forward to working with my opponent and the rest of the Republicans in the Legislature.


You are invited to attend my swearing in ceremony this Sunday at 4 p.m.

The event will be at the Orange County Rescue Mission’s Village of Hope (see

Our Master of Ceremonies will be former Tustin City Councilman, and the Rescue Mission’s CEO, Jim Palmer. The invocation will be led by Kindred Community Church Senior Pastor Philip De Courcy. Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait will lead the pledge of allegiance. And the Honorable State Senator Bob Huff, California’s State Senate Minority Leader, will officiate the swearing in. There will be a small reception following the program. The dress code is Sunday afternoon casual, which means that Reyn Spooner shirts are recommended for the men.

The OC Register covers the final vote count in the firs piece below. It is followed by a kind letter to the editor. The Daily Pilot provides a closing column by Barbara Venecia on the campaign in the third piece. And we close with a recap by The Sacramento Bee, a newspaper I’m sure I’ll be more involved with in the months and years to come.

OC Register Logo

John Moorlach prevails in race to fill state Senate seat




John Moorlach’s successful bid to fill Orange County’s vacant state Senate seat became a mathematical certainty Thursday evening, with all ballots on hand tallied by election workers and only a smattering of late mail ballots expected to arrive today.

The former county supervisor took 50.3 percent of the vote, winning the majority needed to avoid a runoff in the four-person race. He had 4,600 more votes than Assemblyman Don Wagner, who had 44.1 percent. Both are Republicans and were running in a heavily GOP district.

Moorlach was all business after Thursday’s results were posted.

“I’ve been working getting ready, going through emails looking at people who want to work for me and so forth,” said Moorlach, who had expressed confidence of victory after Wednesday’s tally.

He said he planned a quiet celebration with his wife, Trina, and would hold a public swearing-in ceremony at 4 p.m. Sunday at Orange County Rescue Mission auditorium in Tustin.

The Costa Mesa resident gained attention in 1994, when he predicted the county’s bankruptcy and then as he helped the county recover while serving as county treasurer. He said he was eager to get to work in Sacramento, despite being in the minority party.

“I have no illusions of grandeur,” said Moorlach, 59. “But I have 20 years of experience and I do have relationships. I’ve had a relationship with the governor since he was attorney general, and he understands my concerns. I look forward to working with him and to doing what I can to improve the state.”

Wagner, who will be termed out of the Assembly next year, could not immediately be reached for comment.


Moorlach the right choice for Orange County

Re: “‍Moorlach closing in on win” [Local, March 19]: The political scene in Orange County is just fraught with disappointment nowadays, but the election of John ‍Moorlach to the 37th District State Senate seat gives me such hope for the future. Those who voted for John ‍Moorlach were not deterred by his opposition’s deceptive ads, big bankroll (how much was union money?) or the fact that most, if not all, of the county’s elected officials endorsed him – that alone sends a message. With John ‍Moorlach, we elected principled, honest, industrious, great family man who will make a difference in Sacramento.

Betty Robinson


Daily Pilot

Moorlach’s steady record of accomplishment

By Barbara Venezia

Taking my little rescue dog, Stasha, for a walk Tuesday night, I decided to stop into John Moorlach’s state Senate campaign headquarters, since it was right down the street in Santa Ana Heights.

About six weeks ago, the former county supervisor set up shop on the grounds next door to the Village Crean, an estate owned by Jim and Johanna Townsend.

The Townsends go way back with Moorlach, to his days before public office when he worked as a certified public accountant. They were his clients and grew into friends.

"Jim actually drove me to the registrar’s office the first time I ran against Citron," Moorlach told me. Bob Citron was Orange County’s treasurer-tax collector when it declared bankruptcy in 1994.

The Townsends gave the recent Moorlach campaign use of office space and a conference room on the property.

"It was an in-kind donation, and I reported it," Moorlach made sure he told me.

It’s kind of interesting that he set up in Santa Ana Heights, because that’s really where his career as supervisor began.

In the months before then-Supervisor Jim Silva left office in 2006, I contacted Moorlach since he was the heir apparent to the seat.

I urged him to get involved with the Santa Ana Heights Redevelopment Agency, since redevelopment agency projects had been belabored for decades.

As chairwoman of that organization’s project advisory committee, I explained the bureaucratic roadblocks we’d experienced, some of which Silva had created.

Moorlach jumped in with both feet.

During his time as supervisor, the redevelopment agency would close, but not before he achieved eastern and western Santa Ana Heights annexation to Newport Beach, construction of the Santa Ana fire station and Mesa Birch park, the undergrounding of wires, a partial Mesa/Cypress Street recreational trail and more.

Tuesday night, in this same neighborhood, Moorlach took the lead to become our next senator and opened a new chapter. About 3,000 ballots remain to be counted, but at this writing he had enough of an edge to avoid a runoff against state Assemblyman Don Wagner (R-Irvine.)

Eagerly anticipating election results, Moorlach was surrounded by supporters from all over the county, including Supervisor Shawn Nelson, county Treasurer Shari Freidenrich, former Newport Beach Mayor Rush Hill, Newport Councilman Scott Peotter and former Assemblyman Allan Mansoor, to name a few.

When I got there the place was packed, and excitement was high as first results came in at 8:30 p.m.

Though Moorlach was happy he had a lead of 49%, and guests were congratulating him on the early returns, if that number didn’t get to 50%, plus 1, this race was far from over and he’d still have to face Wagner in a runoff.

"I was dreading two more months of this," he told me later.

As the night progressed, and Moorlach inched up every round, the energy at campaign headquarters was electric.

And when the last tally showed he’d achieved over 50%, cheering and yelling erupted. Though outstanding ballots remain, and a runoff remains technically possible, my hunch is he will pull this through.

The next morning I called Moorlach to see how he was faring.

He says he and his wife, Trina, were up till the wee hours talking and were excited about the likely win.

Wednesday morning he was overwhelmed with texts, emails and calls from well-wishers.

I asked if he’d heard from Wagner.

He said no and added, "If he’d won I would have called him."

I’m not surprised. Wagner’s attack mailers were ferocious.

After that sort of behavior, what can the guy say?

Gee, no hard feelings, it’s only politics?

Even hardcore politicos I have talked to behind the scenes were uncomfortable with the level of nastiness exhibited by Wagner’s campaign. In the end, it would be a strategy that apparently didn’t work.

But that’s all water under the bridge.

Moolrach, if his lead holds, will have to figure out everything from when and where he’s sworn into office, to new digs in Sacramento. He also has to hire staff. He’s already getting resumes for the 10 positions he’ll need to fill.

He tells me he’d like to be sworn into office in Orange County, rather than in Sacramento, and will contact the county to see if an appropriate place is available.

"Maybe the Muth Center or some place more centrally located in the district," he said.

As we spoke, I could sense he was experiencing many different emotions.

He was happy and deeply appreciative to everyone who helped, relieved the campaign was over and eager to get to work fixing our state.

A little bit of trivia about Moorlach – he’s a California history buff.

He loves this stuff and is like a walking encyclopedia when it comes to the state.

Now he finds himself in a unique position.

"I’m sitting here pinching myself," he said. "I’m now part of California history…. And after reading all the history, this is incredible."

It certainly is.

BARBARA VENEZIA lives in Newport Beach. She can be reached at bvontv1.

Republican declares victory in Orange County Senate race

By Christopher Cadelago

Republican John Moorlach claimed victory Thursday in the state Senate special election held Tuesday to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of recently elected Rep. Mimi Walters, R-Laguna Niguel.

Moorlach, a former supervisor in Orange County, drew 50.3 percent of the vote in the four-person race, just enough to avoid a May runoff with Assemblyman Don Wagner, R-Irvine, who drew 44 percent in an updated tally released late Thursday.

Wagner lost despite forging political alliances with most of the region’s leaders and influential donors in Sacramento. Republican Naz Namazi and Democrat Louise Stewardson, a write-in candidate, rounded out the field.

Moorlach, 59, is well-known in the district that stretches across Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach and Orange for his decades in local office. A fiscal hawk, he famously predicted the fiscal morass that gripped the county in the mid-1990s would lead to bankruptcy.

Tim Clark, Moorlach’s strategist, said all of the remaining votes from Tuesday’s special election have been counted. Moorlach plans to be sworn in Sunday at a ceremony held in the 37th District, Clark said.

Call Christopher Cadelago, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 326-5538.

Follow him on Twitter @ccadelago.

This e-mail was sent out by the successful Moorlach for Senate campaign.