Will Orange County’s Democratic candidates run away from the increasingly unpopular President Barack Obama in November? He is likely to win the State of California, but I can’t see him doing well in Orange County. Obama won U.S. Representative John Campbell’s district in 2008. That is highly unlikely to happen this November. In fact the only Congressional District that Obama might pick up is the one held by his fellow Democrat, Loretta Sanchez.
On the other hand, I expect Republican nominee Mitt Romney to come to Orange County perhaps more than once. He should be a boon to the local Republican candidates, with the exception of Jerry Hayden, who is running against Sanchez in the 47th Congressional District. That district’s Latino voters won’t likely be very impressed by Romney, who has been very harsh on immigrants during his campaign this year.
Obama’s negatives will definitely hurt Democrats such as Sharon Quirk-Silva, the Fullerton Council Member who is running against Assemblyman Chris Norby. Obama might even be a drag on Tom Daly, the Democrat running for the 69th Assembly District. If the economy tanks even further by November, Orange County Democratic voters might well stay home on Election Day. You can bet that Daly’s opponent, Republican Jose Moreno, will be supporting Romney and likely working closely with his campaign.
Obama might even have an impact on local races in Santa Ana and Irvine, where a number of Democratic City Council incumbents are running for reelection. One of them, Irvine Council Member Beth Krom, is running for Mayor against Republican Irvine Council Member Steve Choi. Good luck with that Beth! She lost badly in 2010 when she tried to take out U.S. Representative Campbell and figures to get trounced this time around by Choi.
In Santa Ana a Republican, Charles Hart, has already announced that he is running against the only elected Republican on the Santa Ana City Council, Carlos Bustamante. Hart will likely try to gain momentum by working with the Romney campaign while Bustamante is badly damaged after having to resign his County of Orange management position, after being accused of sexual harassment. Ironically Hart also works for the County of Orange.
Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido hosted a huge event with former President Bill Clinton, in 2010, and he also worked closely that year with then gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown. If Obama comes to town, Pulido will probably have to serve as his host too. I doubt this will hurt Pulido as he is not likely to face a strong opponent in November. Pulido, a moderate Democrat, easily defeated liberal Democrat Alfredo Amezcua in 2010.
Liberal Democrats already did very poorly in the recent Open Primary. Union hack Julio Perez lost to Daly and Moreno, over in the 69th Assembly District, and Eleazar Elizondo, a former employee of liberal U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, came in last place in the race for Area One on the O.C. Board of Education. Both of the Democrats running for the 72nd A.D., Joe Dovinh and Albert Ayala, also lost, but neither of them could be categorized as liberals.
The Libertarian Party will also be active in Orange County during the General Election campaign as their Vice Presidential nominee, Judge Jim Gray, lives in Newport Beach.