Former OC Weekly Editor Gustavo Arellano opined in a recent L.A. Times op-ed, that the OC GOP is dead. Well it may be too soon to declare the Republican Party of Orange County dead but it is most certainly on life support.
Two House seats were lost as a result of the Nov. 6 General Election – as longtime U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher got the boot and so did Diane Harkey, who was trying to hang on to the seat vacated by Darrell Issa.
Votes are still being counted but right now Young Kim is barely hanging on in the district her old boss Ed Royce reigned over for so many years and Mimi Walters is
also clinging to a small margin of victory in her Irvine area district now losing to her Democratic opponent, Katie Porter.
The GOP losses included the seat held by Assemblyman Matt Harper. And his pal Alexandria Coronado failed to defeat Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva.
There were a few glimmers of hope for the OC GOP. Tyler Diep was able to prevail in the Assembly seat vacated by Travis Allen. State Senator Janet Nguyen was also able to fend off her Democratic challenger, Tom Umberg.
And Republican Cecilia Iglesias won a hotly contested seat on the Santa Ana City Council, in Ward 6, despite withering attacks by the Democratic Party of Orange County and several unions.
The Republicans also managed to hang on to the Mayor’s office in Anaheim as Harry Sidhu prevailed over the daughter of a liberal O.C. lawyer.
However the OC GOP is looking at troubled water in two years when the next Presidential Election comes along. Turnout was low in the mid-term election, as usual, but will be very high in the 2020 election. The Democratic Presidential nominee two years ago, Hillary Clinton, won most of Orange County. Her party figures to prevail again in two years as President Donald Trump continues to antagonize women and minority voters in particular.
Columnist Steven Greenhut suggested in a recent O.C. Register op-ed that perhaps California Republicans should do what Steve Poizner did this year and run for office as Decline to State candidates. It almost worked for Poizner but he is currently losing in the State Insurance Commissioner’s race to Ricardo Lara.
Perhaps what the Orange County Republicans really ought to do is stop fixating on abortion and homosexuality and focus instead on more Libertarian issues – cutting government waste and taxes; supporting school choice; limiting the growth of government and generally advancing the cause of freedom. Those are issues that will resonate with millennial voters – particularly since forty percent of them are not practicing any religion. They could care less about abortion and gays!
The OC GOP should also take note that the only Republican candidates who seem to be doing well now in Orange County are Latinos and Asians – particularly the latter. But they won’t stick around for long if the GOP keeps losing.
Pres. Trump might win reelection in two years but his reign will surely doom what is left of the Republican Party in California.