Voice of OC Radio: Power Brokers Dive Into Election Results

Old fashioned face-to-face politics apparently still works.

Orange County labor chief Nick Berardino and Republican power broker Mike Schroeder both joined Voice of OC Radio this morning to look over the tallies from Tuesday’s primary election.

They singled out the 5th Supervisorial District and the 2nd Supervisorial District race as clear examples of how grassroots campaigning is still effective.

Listen in to the entire discussion here:

Both insiders credited Michelle Steel’s solid first place on grabbing key endorsements early, having campaign coffees and raising a formidable war chest in donations.

It spoke to an old Marine Corps saying, said Berardino: "The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war."

Likewise, Berardino noted that Dana Point Mayor Lisa Bartlett surprised most observers by coming in a close second to Laguna Niguel Mayor Robert Ming in the battle for South County’s supervisors’ seat.

Here are some other highlights:

  • Given Tuesday's results, Schroeder says he fully expects Allan Mansoor will get "crushed" by Michelle Steel in November's election for the coastal 2nd Supervisorial District.  Berardino agreed that Steel will likely win the seat easily.
  • About 18 months before the election, Steel had already lined up most of the crucial endorsements, including at the congressional, state legislative and city council level.  Mansoor, meanwhile, had a hard time raising money.
  • The election turnout could end up being the lowest in state history.  Low turnout elections tend to favor Republicans, so more Democrats are expected to vote in November.
  • A shocker in south Orange County's 73rd Assembly District, where despite $550,000 in support from billionaire Charles Munger, Assembly candidate Anna Bryson finished fifth out of five.  "She got crushed," Schroeder said, adding that too much mail can backfire.
  • Another surprise in Huntington Beach Mayor Matt Harper making it to the number-two slot in the coastal 74th Assembly District, despite not sending any mail.
  • In the 34th Senate District race, Berardino expressed doubts that Democrat Jose Solorio's campaign consultant Richie Ross is effective in Orange County.
  • In two key legislative battlegrounds in Orange County – the 34th Senate District and 65th Assembly District – statewide labor leaders shifted their priorities late in the game, Berardino said.  The made "a pretty startling decision" about seven weeks ago to shift priorities up to an Assembly race in Northern California where a Democrat had taken an anti-union stance, he added, which really impacted local Senate candidate Jose Solorio.
  • Republican Janet Nguyen's more than 20-point lead over Solorio "doesn't bode well" for Solorio's chances in November, Schroeder said.
  • Nguyen is a "fantastic campaigner" and "fought it out" leading into the primary, which paid off, Berardino said.  Solorio's consultant, meanwhile, took a laid-back approach, he added, which "turned out not to be a smart strategy when you're fighting Janet Nguyen."
  • Exit polls showed that Latinos voted Tuesday at a rate of just 6 percent, while Asians turned out at a rate of about 23 percent, Schroeder said. "I think that's a lot of the story...between Solorio and Nguyen, and Kim and Quirk-Silva."
  • "I think that, [going] forward, the Republican Party will not be able to move forward with the Hispanic community until we have much the same going on as we do with Asian candidates," said Schroeder.  "We need Republican candidates who look like the communities that we want to receive support from. And right know we don't have...strong Hispanic candidates. Until we do, we're just not going to do that well in that community."
  • People need to find a way to increase Latino voter turnout, Berardino said, and Latino legislators should be leaders in getting the message out.
  • Personality disputes rather than ideology are driving a lot of decision-making in Anaheim, both insiders agreed.

Back on Election Day, Voice of OC debuted its first series of podcasts on key public policy issues facing Orange County.

For the first show, two of the county’s most interesting political minds – GOP Central Committee member Alan Bartlett and GOP political consultant Adam Probolsky talked about a debate that has rippled through conservative circles in recent months -- granting tax subsidies to big businesses:

Then, Anaheim City School District board member James Vanderbilt discussed his views on Measure D, which would shorten Anaheim's mayoral term length from four years to two:

Next, Orange County's elections chief, Neal Kelley, talked about the science of ballot counting and the election impact of changing demographics across the county:

Schroeder, known locally as the "Dark Lord of OC Politics" for his success in local campaigns, talked about the election battles and how their outcomes will impact November:

The executive director of the Orange County Democratic Party, Nick Anas, spoke about how the party was approaching Tuesday’s election as well as the November general election:

And finally on Election Day, Julio Perez, executive director for the OC Labor Federation joins Matt Cunningham, a political consultant working with the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce, to talk about what types of issues were impacting the election and what will move the dial this coming November:

Have an idea for a podcast?  Let us know in the comments!

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