Van Tran termed out in the State Assembly a few years ago and got his butt kicked by U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez in 2010, but now he is back and this time he is taking aim at termed-out Assemblywoman Diane Harkey, the leading candidate for the State Board of Equalization, in the 4th District.
Harkey has the support of the OC GOP and the CRA but she also dealing with the ongoing fallout of her husband’s nasty business dealings.
Harkey’s husband, Dan “and his Orange County real estate lending company were found liable for $10 million in damages after a jury found they acted with “malice, oppression or fraud” in breaching their fiduciary duties to investors, according to the L.A. Times.
Dan was accused of making ill-advised loans through his company, Point Center Financial in Aliso Viejo, and pocketing fees and commissions from the doomed loans.
With that mess as a backdrop I don’t know how Diane Harkey can even show her face in public, much less run for the Board of Equalization. In fact her campaign website says she is a “taxpayer advocate.” The taxpayers that her husband ripped off might beg to differ.
Tran will surely benefit from the presence on the ballot of another former Republican legislator, Shirley Horton, who hails from San Diego County. Horton will definitely cost Harkey votes, in particular from women voters and San Diego County residents.
Tran wrote that he is running “for election to the BOE because there is no other path for California to take than to shift the balance of government in favor of a free people, and further from the powerful grip of the public bureaucracy. There is no greater priority than to see our laws applied fairly to reward hard work and encourage growth through investment. And there are few greater honors than helping the taxpayer – residents of California — stand up to the tax collector.” (Source: Flash Report).
Tran is running for the BOE seat that is currently held by Michelle Steel, who is running for the OC Board of Supervisors. The district stretches from from Orange County to San Diego and east to the Colorado River. The winner ends up with nearly 9.5 million constituents. Tran will have to campaign in San Diego and Imperial Counties, where few voters know who he is.
Tran said he never entirely stepped away from politics during his absence as an elected official. While doing consulting work, he helped launch phone-bank campaigns in swing states for the Romney-Ryan presidential ticket in 2012. Staffed with Chinese, Korean, Tagalog and Vietnamese speakers, it served as the only multilingual project targeting Asian Republicans or undecided Asian voters — one of the greatest untapped voting blocs in the showdown between Mitt Romney and President Obama, according to the Daily Pilot.
The reason all of these legislators are running for the BOE is that the job pays well and comes with a huge budget. They can hire over a dozen of their friends and pay them well too. That is mighty enticing to former legislators who are used to having several offices and a large staff.
The OC GOP really needs to support their Asian and Latino candidates given the shifting demographics here in Orange County and throughout the State of California. Lining up behind the likes of Harkey is short-sighted and unlikely to help the sinking party to regain power in California anytime soon.