After a decade of guiding the Orange County Republican Party through sometimes tumultuous internal debates, Scott Baugh says he will step down when his current term as chairman ends in January, according to the OC Register. Baugh has been the OC GOP Chairman since 2004.
When Baugh first became the OC GOP Chairman his party’s registration in Orange County was at 48 percent. It is at 41 percent today. It was at 56 percent in 1990. The OC GOP has gone from an 18 point advantage over the Democrats in 2004 to half that today.
Today there are 578,655 registered Republican voters in Orange County as compared to 447,818 registered Democrats. An additional 321,208 voters show no party preference, according to the Orange County Voter Registrar.
The OC Register mentioned that there are two men vying to replace Baugh next year.
Newport Beach attorney Fred Whitaker last week began an email campaign to replace Baugh in January, citing Baugh’s support and seeking letters of commitment from members of the county GOP’s governing Central Committee. Whitaker has served as the county party’s vice president, parliamentarian, and general counsel.
Dick Ackerman also said he was interested in the job. He said he would be contacting Central Committee members, donors and volunteers to gauge support for a potential candidacy. Central Committee members elect the chairman.
Ackerman seems like a giant step backwards for the OC GOP. He was involved in lobbying to sell off the Orange County Fairgrounds. He also has steadfastly endorsed RINOs including the lame Fullerton City Council members that had to be recalled a few years ago.
Whitaker is a likable fellow who serves on the Orange City Council. He is friendly however with the odious Matt Cunningham which means he may be too tight with the Curt Pringle machine.
Who else might be a good candidate to replace Baugh? Perhaps the party leaders might want to go with a real conservative but strategically choosing a woman or a minority would be interesting. Decent candidates might include:
- Irvine Councilman Jeff Lalloway
- Fountain Valley Councilman Mark McCurdy
- Former Westminster Councilman and attorney Kermit Marsh
- Lake Forest Councilman Scott Voigts
- Brenda McCune, an attorney who has run for the Yorba Linda City Council in the past
- Former Santa Ana Councilman Brett Franklin
Anyone else come to mind? The only caveat is you have to be an elected member of the OC GOP Central Committee, which really limits the pool of available candidates.
The OC GOP is at a real crossroads. If they choose the wrong person to replace Baugh we might see their party slip behind the Democrats in a few more years. They are going to have to figure out how to appeal to Democrats and DTS voters sooner rather than later.
Whoever they choose I hope the OC GOP won’t go with another lobbyist, like Baugh.