A Quick Rundown of Orange County (and a quick note at the end)

This article by the New York Times highlights what we here on the ground already knew: The political winds are turning against the Republicans here. I already detailed this with my two previous diaries, but i want to add another part: the state of the local races here two very competitive Assembly districts.

Recently, Art Pedroza of the Orange Juice Blog recently wrote a scathing criticism of the leadership and the workings of the OC Democratic Party. While i disagree with him on certain issues, he makes a strong point by saying:

Make no mistake about it- the Republican Party of Orange County is the enemy.  They hate Mexicans.  They hate homosexuals.  They hate the poor.  They are corrupt, for the most part.  Stop kissing up to these people!

Now on to the locally contested races:


Challengers: Phu Ngyuen (D) vs Allan Mansoor (R)

Registration: 40.1% Rep./32.7% Dem./21.9% Ind

Analysis: Located in the South-west part of OC, this district is extremely diverse with Hispanic enclave Stanton to the north, down to famed Little Saigon and the ethnically diverse meltingpot known as Costa Mesa. Democrat Phu Ngyuen is running a strong campaign against Costa Mesa Mayor Allan Mansoor, who is known for his Joe Arapaio-like bullying of immigrants. Ngyuen was recruited by the Dems for his strong ties to the Vietnamese community, a very competitive voting group and has the backing of the entire OC Democratic Party leaders. According to the Secretary of State, Ngyuen has $136,604 CoH while Mansoor is at a jaw-dropping $8,617! However, this race is still favorable to Mansoor due to his stature in Costa Mesa and the generally pro-Republican lean of 2010. Still, if Ngyuen can pull within single digits, that’s a win in itself.

Rating: Leans Republican


Challengers: Melissa Fox (D) vs Don Wagner (R)

Registration: 42.3% Rep./30% Dem./23% Ind

Analysis: This race is gonna be one to watch on election day. Attorney Melissa Fox is up against Don Wagner, a member of the Coastal Community College District and a vocal social conservative. This district is open after Chuck DeVore’s pathetic attempt to beat Carly Fiorina in the Republican Senate race. Fox has been hitting the ground hard, running a stellar grassroots campaign and recently won the Democracy for America’s Allstar Grassroots campaign. However her fundraising is small, having raised only around $27,000 and having an anemic $7,747. But Wagner manages to beat (or stump below?) that, having raised $163,208 he is now at an amazing….$425. Yes, four-hundred and twenty-five dollars. But to be fair, he did face a very crowded Republican Primary, where he was the underdog against favorite Steven Choi, an Irvine Councilman. The folks at Orange Juice and the Liberal OC have been relentlessly going after Wagner since the campaign’s started. It amazes me that even though this district, with its large Republican registration, not only voted for Obama (51-47) but against! Prop 8 (50-50 narrowly) and yet they keep giving us Chuck DeVore-style religious wacko’s like Wagner. Nevertheless, my heart says this race is a Tossup but my mind tells me its another Leans R, but i’m letting my heart win for today.

Rating: Tossup

For those who are interested, here’s some links:

http://cal-access.ss.ca.gov/Ca… — Secretary of State’s Website for Campaign Funds

http://orangejuiceblog.com — In my opinion, the best place for knowledge on OC politics. Some posters have libertarian tendencies (such as Art Pedroza) while others are solid progressives (like Vern Nelson), but its still a very telling website to learn more on OC Politics.

http://votemelissafox.com — Melissa Fox, Democratic Nominee for AD-70

http://votephu.com — Phu Ngyuen, Democratic Nominee for AD-68

(Note: Wednesday is my first day of school (go juniors!), so my presence on SSP will be limited. But i’ll be back as much as i can to catch up on any delicious cat fud that may appear and of course i’ll stay for the November elections, so this may be my final (diary) post for a while. =)

(Note 2: This post was intended to focus on all local OC races, but i only picked AD-68 and AD-70 because of the competitiveness and visibility it has gotten.)

Analyzing Orange County: Why America’s Most Conservative County is Trending Blue (part 2/2)

For part 2, i stick to mainly text (sorry, no pretty graphics this time) to describe in detail how the Democratic trends in Orange County coincide with the overall social views on LGBT rights and Abortion.

While John McCain narrowly won Orange County, a so called bastion of conservatism (In fact, other than the Central Valley and parts of North Country, Orange County is indeed the only Republican turf left in the LA Area), support for Propositions 8 and 4 (A measure making underage pregnant women have to get permission seeking an Abortion) were higher at 58 and 55%, respectively. Why the stark difference between the two? Well, if you think it has to do with self-identified Republican voters, you’re half right, follow me below the fold.

While its a certainty that some Republicans and Independents crossed over to vote for Barack Obama, they were also instrumental in passing Props 4 and 8. But another extremely significant voting group helped as well: Hispanics. I was going to make a map (like the one with presidential results earlier) showing support/opposition to these ballot initatives, but its very easy to tell where support came from. Cities like Santa Ana, a “sanctuary” city home to a large (if not, massive) Hispanic population, voted overwhelmingly for not only Obama, but for Props 4 and 8.

First, let’s look at the so called “Blue” cities, that voted for Obama but for 4 and 8, the Yes/No results show how strongly the vote was for/against using the whole county as a baseline average:

Santa Ana:

Obama/McCain: 66/32

%Hispanic: 78%

Y/N Prop 4: 62/38 (+7 YES)

Y/N Prop 8: 62/38 (+4 YES)


Obama/McCain: 51/47

%Hispanic: 48%

Y/N Prop 4: 59/41 (+4 YES)

Y/N Prop 8: 61/39 (+3 YES)

Buena Park:

Obama/McCain: 52/46

%Hispanic: 35%

Y/N Prop 4: 61/39 (+6 YES)

Y/N Prop 8: 62/38 (+4 YES)

These three cities were essential for President Obama’s near-victory here, but they weren’t the only surprises on election day. Next, i look at cities that voted for John McCain, but voted against or narrowly for these propositions.

Huntington Beach:

Obama/McCain: 45/53

Y/N Prop 4: 49/51 (-6 NO)

Y/N Prop 8: 53/47 (-5 YES)

Newport Beach:

Obama/McCain: 40/58

Y/N Prop 4: 47/53 (-8 NO)

Y/N Prop 8: 51/49 (-7 YES)

Dana Point:

Obama/McCain: 47/51

Y/N: 49/51 (-6 NO)

Y/N: 51/49 (-7 YES)

Newport Beach is strongly Republican, over 50% of its registered voters are Republicans, yet it opposed Proposition 4 (thus affirming a Pro-Choice stance) and barely supported Prop 8, all-the-while giving an 18-point victory to John McCain, while Huntington and Dana Point show similar, yet slightly more favorable results on both.

What does this all mean? Well, while Hispanics are generally pro-Democratic, notice extremely carefully that they aren’t pro-Liberal, and their Catholic views on Abortion and gay rights are in line with typical social conservatives. But, there is also a “country club” force in Orange County, the fiscal hawks who are in total agreement with the Tea Partiers, but are increasingly disillusioned with the Christian-right faction of the Republican Party. To sum it up: don’t just look on the surface to find your electoral answers for these voters, you have to dig further. It’s going to be interesting what the electorate will look like come 2012.

Analyzing Orange County: Why America’s Most Conservative County is Trending Blue (part 1/2)

(Note: This is a two-part diary on analysis of Orange County, i am writing up analysis of the effect of Prop 8 tomorrow. I apologize if it seems too long, but this is from a perspective of an OC resident. Comments and criticisms are welcomed.)

In 2008, Barack Obama accomplished something no other Democrat statewide could do: Keep Orange County within single digits (47-50%). While everyone knew he would win California (maybe not by the double-digit margin he did it by), no one including many OC Democrats here would imagine him being on the cusp of a symbolic victory: Winning in territory the media calls “America’s most conservative county”, the home of Richard Nixon and the center of Conservatism in California.

Well, how did he do it? Well, much like the so-called “Obama Wave” swamped the entire country, it also hit ground here in Orange County, taking the top three populated cities (Santa Ana, Anaheim and Irvine) and making large inroads in normally-conservative areas. President Obama wasn’t the only major change to Orange County politics, the controversional ballot measure known as Proposition 8 also broke-down boundaries, and you wouldn’t believe which cities voted for (or narrowly against) and against it, but first let’s take a look at each cities performance for the 2008 Presidential election (08′ only):

City PVI % ’08 Notes
(Orange County) R+4 47/50 Whole county.
Aliso Viejo D+1 53/45 Incorporated after 2000 Census
Anaheim R+1 51/47 Minority-majority; Second-largest city
Brea R+10 42/56
Buena Park D+1 53/44 Large Asian and Latino populations.
Costa Mesa EVEN 52/46
Cypress R+5 47/51
Dana Point R+5 47/51
Fountain Valley R+9 43/55
Fullerton R+3 48.6/49.8 College town; Minority-majority
Garden Grove R+5 48/51 Minority-majority; Large Vietnamese population
Huntington Beach R+6 46/52 Libertarian-leaning
Irvine D+5 57/41 College town
La Habra R+3 49/48.6 Minority-majority
La Palma R+3 48.4/49
Laguna Beach D+11 63/35 Well known for large LGBT community
Laguna Hills R+7 45/53
Laguna Niguel R+6 46/52
Laguna Woods EVEN 52/46 Extremely high percentage of Senior citizens
Lake Forest R+7 46/53 Large evangelical presence; Added communities after 2000 census
Los Alamitos* R+4 49/50
Mission Viejo R+8 44/54
Newport Beach R+12 40/58 Libertarian-leaning
Orange R+7 45/53
Placentia R+9 43/55 Large Hispanic population
Rancho Santa Margartia R+9 43/55
San Clemente R+10 42/56 Home of Ronald Reagan
San Juan Capistrano R+10 42/56
Santa Ana D+14 66/32 Largest city; Hispanic-majority; Most Democratic
Seal Beach R+5 48/51
Stanton D+2 54/44 Minority-majority
Tustin EVEN 52/46
Villa Park R+25 27/71 Most Republican; Least populated city
Westminster R+10 42/56 Large Vietnamese population, home to Little Saigon
Yorba Linda R+18 32/66 Birthplace of Richard Nixon

*Number 12 on the map, wasn’t added to the list.

If your one who prefers visuals (and tolerates crappy novice-style use of paint :P), then look below:

Angry face

This result shows that Obama made a large impact on Hispanic voters (OC was very Pro-Clinton during the primaries, as well as Hispanics), winning the heavily hispanic cities of Santa Ana, Buena Park, Stanton and Anaheim. He also made inroads with more conservative areas in the south, losing Huntington Beach by only 6 points (46-52) while it has a majority GOP registration edge, and Lake Forest by a similar margin (46-53), known for its strong evangelical presence such as the Saddleback Church and its pastor Rick Warren. Obama also gained huge support amongst young voters, handily carring Irvine (home to UC Irvine), and narrowly (48.6-49.4) losing Fullerton (home to Cal State Fullerton). From here, we’re going through a city-by-city analysis of how it votes, demographics and whether its going to be competitive in the elections to come:

(Note: I will detail the important cities to look for below, so not all 34 cities will be listed below.)

Aliso Viejo:

Population: 46,123

Analysis: Nestled in the fast-growing area of South Orange County, Aliso Viejo (the youngest city as of 2001) is an example of a city that is trending Democratic. Not only did it vote for Obama by a comfortable 6 point margin, it was one of only 4 cities here in Orange County that voted AGAINST Proposition 8 (48.5-51.5) and the second-strongest showing against the measure, Laguna Beach being the strongest. It is the stereotypical “Country club” Republican city, fiscally conservative on most issues (Also voting against the state’s High speed rail initative, which passed) but fairly moderate-to-liberal on social issues, voting against Propositon 4 which sought to restrict contraceptives to minors unless a parent has consent. If any Democrat statewide seriously plans to turn Orange County blue, winning Aliso Viejo is a must.


Population: 353,643

Analysis: The second largest city in the county and the main entertainment hub, home to Disneyland. Anaheim is a city that is easily classified by geography. Most of Anaheim is fairly urban and very Hispanic, mainly around the Downtown area. But to the East, lies a whole different kind of Anaheim: the community of Anaheim Hills. Already hearing the name, and you’re correct to guess that its a more wealthy, upscale area far different than its neighbor to the west. Home to mansions and a getaway for celebrities, Anaheim Hills is strongly GOP turf, fiscally and socially conservative but more so on the fiscal side. For someone to want to turn Orange County blue, they would need to keep their margins down in Anaheim Hills and fairly high in the rest of Anaheim.


Population: 40,377

Analysis: This one is personal since this is where i live, but its also the most descriptive as well. Surrounded by large cities (Fullerton, Chino Hills and Diamond Bar), Brea is a sanctuary to escape from the bigger more urban cities in and around LA County. Politically, however Brea is strongly conservative, especially socially. There is a large and very influential Mormon presence here (There’s two LDS places of worship here alone!) along with large Catholic, and Baptist faiths. To the south is the even-more conservative city of Yorba Linda, who uses the city of Brea’s Police since they don’t have their own department. However there is a steadily growing Hispanic population, mainly from neighboring La Habra and cities near Brea in LA County, but like with Mormons they are socially-conservative as well, so its a double-edged sword. No Democrat will win here, but cracking 40% here is an accomplishment in its own.

Buena Park:

Population: 84,141

Analysis: It shares similarities with its neighbor Anaheim in that: Both have large Hispanic populations, and both are known for its amusement parks (Knott’s Berry Farm for Buena Park). Yet Buena Park is slightly more Democratic due to its large Asian population (most likely from nearby Cerritos in L.A County) and its higher turnout rates than Anaheim. Buena Park is a must win city, and getting around 55% would be enough for a squeaker county-wide.

Costa Mesa:

Population: 117,178

Analysis: Surrounded by larger cities, Costa Mesa is a popular city to live in due to its close proximity to Huntington/Newport Beach, and close to UC Irvine. But Costa Mesa has made the news for declaring itself a “Rule of Law” city, taking a hard line against illegal immigration. The person most responsible for bringing it up for a vote? The Mayor, Allan Mansoor, who is also running for the State Assembly (Gee, see how that all works out?) in 2010. Despite this, Costa Mesa is trending Democratic because of its large Latino population, along with people from nearby Irvine moving to Costa Mesa. Another must-win to turn the OC Blue.


Population: 106,335

Analysis: Home to Cal State Fullerton (the largest in the state by enrollment), Fullerton is a fast-growing suburb of Los Angeles and an overall enjoyable city. Gaining a larger Latino population due to its close proximity to Whittier and South Los Angeles, makes Fullerton a swing city for elections to come.

Garden Grove:

Population: 174,715

Analysis: Garden Grove is home to a very large Vietnamese population, much like nearby Westminster is as well. In terms of voter registration, Republicans edge Democrats by around 3,000 voters but gave John McCain a solid 52%. The reason being because Garden Grove is very conservative on social issues, and viewed Obama as too liberal for them. Along with their generally anti-communist views, Garden Grove is also home to a small, but noticable Latino population, mainly from nearby Santa Ana.

Huntington Beach:

Population: About 200,000

Analysis: A well-known tourist destination for those looking for great surfing, Huntington Beach symbolizes a “Live free and Die” mentality, and its voting record is one to notice carefully. Voting for McCain 52-46% while subsequently voting against Prop 4 by 3 points and narrowly voting for Prop 8 by 2 points. If this trend continues, Huntington Beach will be poison for social conservatives.


Population: 212,184

Analysis: Irvine is a city that is rapidly turning Democratic, due to the extremely large influence the University of California, Irvine campus has on the city. In fact, all of the precincts in and around UC Irvine went around 80% for Obama. The city council has a Democratic majority, along with the Mayor, and has implemented many progressive policies. Democrats, Republicans and Decline to State voters all have around 30,000 voters each, meaning Irvine is a solid tossup for elections to come, but give it a Democratic edge due to its large youth voters.

Laguna Beach:

Population: 23,727

Analysis: Laguna Beach is the major LGBT scene in Orange County, and was one of the first cities to sponsor a resolution opposing Proposition 8, so its no surprise that Obama carried Laguna Beach by a landslide. Laguna Beach is the second most Democratic city in Orange County, and will likely overpower Santa Ana as #1 in the near future. Any Democratic candidate can easily win here.

Lake Forest:

Population: 78,720

Analysis: Home to the Saddleback Church and its pastor, Rick Warren, Lake Forest is situated within Southern Orange County and is close to the cities of Mission Viejo and Irvine. Despite its reputation as being home to major evangelical groups, Obama did surprisingly well, keeping his loss within single digits. Could he win here in 2012? It depends on a number of factors, but it can’t be ruled out.

Santa Ana:

Population: 355,662

Analysis: Santa Ana is ground zero for Democrats, its strongest (being the most populated city in the county) and safest city politically. Home to an extremely large (almost 80%) Hispanic population, Democrats routinely poll in the high 60’s and all of the currently elected officials (State Senate/Assembly/Congress) have Santa Ana as their major base.

The Battleground in My Backyard


(Proudly cross-posted at C4O)

Nervous yet? I know I am. It’s crazy enough having to follow the Presidential Election 24/7. But for me and my friends & family here in California, we have even more on our minds!

We have a Congressional race to win. We have an evil, discriminatory

ballot initiative to defeat
. And of course, we have a community, a county, and a country to take back!

Let me tell you about what I did last weekend to make all of this happen.


On Saturday, I met with some hard-working union friends in Costa Mesa to walk a neighborhood for Debbie Cook. As always, the pre-walk rally was great! Debbie fired up the crowd as she talked about what she would do to actually serve us in the district. Local labor leaders talked about what we can do to translate enthusiasm for Obama into votes for local Democrats. All in all, I felt quite good about what I was about to do to help Debbie win.

I also felt good about going out and talking to voters about Proposition 8. For all of you unfamiliar with California politics, we often govern by initiative because of our dysfunctional state government. Unfortunately, the radical right has used the initiative process to try to pass horrible legislation that wouldn’t otherwise see the light of day in Sacramento. Prop 8 is one of these horrid radical right power plays that would overturn marriage equality in California and reinstate a Plessy v. Ferguson style segregation that treats gay and lesbian couples as inferior to straight couples. The polls on Prop 8 are close now, so we can’t take anything for granted. That’s why I included Prop 8 in my walk.



After the rally, I walked with a friend from the local Young Democrats club in a Republican leaning area near the 405 Freeway in Costa Mesa. At first, I was disheartened by all the “Yes on 8” and “McCain-Palin” signs I saw on the street. But as I began talking to the voters on our list, my experience wasn’t so demoralizing. In fact, I found a few undecided Republicans, two houses with Debbie Cook signs up, and a beautiful 90 year old woman who smiled as she told me she was voting for Debbie Cook and against Prop 8! All in all, that’s not so bad for a “Republican stronghold”!

On Sunday, I shifted to the small southwestern portion of Santa Ana that lies in the 46th Congressional District. Specifically, I walked the neighborhood across the street from mine which has sizable Latino and Vietnamese populations. And while this neighborhood is less Republican than the Costa Mesa neighborhood I walked the previous day, I knew it would still be an uphill battle here. So what happened?

I was in for some pleasant surprises! I met a wonderful 80 year old woman who was glad to hear about Debbie Cook and was already voting no on 8. I met a fantastic 60+ couple who have been volunteering for MoveOn.org, so they were very receptive to what I had to say! I found a couple more undecided Republicans and some young voters who appreciated my last minute reminder to vote. So again, the final results weren’t as bad as I had originally expected.

So what does this all mean? Hopefully, this means that we can win if we work for it! Despite all the talk of whether or not Obama will “win by a landslide!”, we can’t be sidetracked into post-election punditry when we still have an election to actually win! And despite all the talk about California being “safe”, it’s NOT! It’s not safe for marriage equality, but on the other hand it’s also not safe for corrupt Republicans.

So what can we do in the next week? We can donate! We can volunteer! We can do all we can in the next week to win and WIN BIG! So don’t just stand there, but go out & help win this election! 😀  





CA-46: Crazy Dana Walking Precincts… WHERE??!!

(Proudly cross-posted at Clintonistas for Obama)

Ah, how I love me the right-wing blogs! Sometimes, I find it amusing to simply lurk over there and see the vile garbage spew out of their keyboards. But to my surprise, I found out today that some of my recent diaries have been featured on an infamous local right-wing blog.

Apparently, Debbie Cook is foolish for actually talking to voters. I mean, why should she actually take time to talk to voters? “Crazy Dana” Rohrabacher obviously doesn’t. I have yet to see one neighborhood outreach walk, volunteer phone bank, or any other kind of voter outreach activity happening with his campaign.

Well, I guess it’s Crazy Dana’s loss that he doesn’t talk to voters while Debbie Cook does. The more voters here in the 46th District find out about him, the less they like him. And as they learn more about Debbie Cook, the more they like her for her hard work to protect our quality of life as well as her plan to make real change that benefits real people.

OK, so Dana doesn’t want to earn his votes? And he’d rather continue with his extreme right-wing agenda than listen to the more moderate voters in his own district? So be it.

I just hope Dana’s ready to face the consequences. From what I understand, voters don’t like to be ignored. And if Dana keeps ignoring his own voters, he may have a tougher November than what he’s planning for. I just wonder if he & his GOP buddies have actually thought this through.

Whatever. I shouldn’t have to worry about Crazy Dana & his far-right GOP pals. We have enough work to do ensuring that great Democrats like Debbie Cook get elected this fall.

Are you with me? 😉

CA-44: What’s Cheney Doing in “Nixonland”?

San Clemente

(Proudly cross-posted at Clintonistas for Obama & The Liberal OC)

In case you missed it, something really frightening is coming to Orange County this week. Believe it or not, The Lord of Darkness (aka Dick Cheney) will be coming to here to raise some money for a good friend of his. He’ll apparently be holding a fundraiser at Richard Nixon’s beloved Casa Pacifica (how fitting!) in San Clemente for CA-44’s own Ken Calvert.

Scared yet? I guess the GOP is. I mean, really… They’re bringing in the only person in DC more unpopular than Dubya himself? And this is supposed to attract big $$$$ for Calvert? Oh my, the GOP is in hard times!

Well, we Democrats need not be. We’re making big gains in the 44th District. The partisan gap is narrowing fast, and we’re blessed to have a terrific candidate in Bill Hedrick. Unlike Calvert, Hedrick isn’t a Bush-Cheney acolyte. And unlike Calvert, Hedrick won’t put personal profit over the best interest of the people of the 44th District.

Calvert may have Bush & Cheney on his side, but Hedrick has us… All of us! Let’s show the GOP big wigs that our people power beats their dirty money.

Are you ready to show Dick Cheney & Ken Calvert what we think of their “heckuva job”?  

CA-46: League of Conservation Voters Endorses Debbie Cook!


(Proudly cross-posted at Clintonistas for Obama)

I live in Orange County, CA. I’m used to seeing scary Republicans that care nothing about environmental justice. But of all the crazy Republicans here, none can be crazier than “Crazy DanaRohrabacher. He’s consistently voted against the best interests of our people and our planet, and it’s time we do something about this. That’s why I’m so glad to see some good friends of ours take real action for real change.


Follow me after the flip for the details…

Here’s the big announcement from the California League of Conservation Voters (CLCV):

“We’re proud to support Debbie Cook because she has shown time and again her commitment to protecting our coastal resources,” said CLCV’s Southern California Director David Allgood. “Mayor Cook has a long record of achievement on environmental, public health and other issues important to the people of the 46th District.”

Huntington Beach Mayor & Democratic Congressional Candidate Debbie Cook has worked so hard to do so much to protect the California coastal environment. She successfully sued the state Coastal Commission to protect the ecologically sensitive Bolsa Chica Wetlands. She successfully convinced all the Republicans on the Huntington Beach City Council to join with all the Democrats on the council in unanimously agreeing to sign the city onto the US Mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement. And today, she’s working to stop a dangerous desalination plant that would harm the regional coastline while fueling more exurban sprawl.


(photo coutresy LA Times)

Debbie Cook truly is the people’s environmental champion here in Orange County, CA. And if we elect her to Congress, she can be a champion for all of us. So will you please join the League of Conservation Voters in supporting Debbie Cook?

I’ve come to know Debbie Cook pretty well as I’ve helped out with the campaign. She’s the real deal. That’s why she’s earned my full support. I hope she can earn yours as well. 🙂