Steel’s Fundraising Far Outpaces Others in Supervisor Races

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Michelle Eunjoo Park Steel may be a relative newcomer to Orange County, but that hasn’t stopped her from establishing a significant fundraising edge over other candidates vying for a seat on the Orange County Board of Supervisors.

Steel, a termed-out member of the state Board of Equalization who moved to Orange County in late 2011, has raised $758,766 in her bid for the Second District seat currently held by John Moorlach, according to the latest data from the county Registrar of Voters.

The Korean American candidate’s statewide profile — she serves on the California Republican Party Board of Directors and is married to former party chairman Shawn Steel — has helped her bring in money from business interests and Korean Americans in Orange County and across the state.

In addition to hundreds of donations from Korean American professionals and business owners, Steel’s contributors include: OC Business Council’s BIZPAC; Assoc. Builders and Contractors of Southern California; AT&T California Employee PAC; Building Industry of Southern California PAC; California Bankers Assn. PAC and the California Professional Firefighters PAC, to name some.

Meanwhile, Steel’s opponent, Assemblyman Allan Mansoor (R-74) has raised $161,348 from local politicians, business interests and several health industry political action committees.

Mansoor’s donors include: the National Federation of Independent Business; California Real Estate PAC; Philip Morris USA, California Beer and Beverage Distributors Community Affairs PAC; California Cable and Telecom Assn. PAC; Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assoc. Small Contributor Committee; and more than $17,000 from state health industry PACs.

Steel spent $589,673 in the first half of the year alone, and has taken out $175,000 in loans since 2012, according to data from the Secretary of State’s office.

That early spending helped Steel garner 48 percent of the vote in the June primary, 15 points ahead of Mansoor, who was the next highest vote getter with 23 percent.

Beyond her fundraising prowess, Steel boasts a roster of local and statewide GOP heavyweights among those who have endorsed her.

They include: District Attorney Tony Rackauckas; Sheriff Sandra Hutchens; Reps. Dana Rohrabacher and Darrell Issa; former state Assemblyman Curt Pringle; and Supervisors Shawn Nelson, Patricia Bates, Todd Spitzer and Janet Nguyen.

Support for Mansoor, who is a former Costa Mesa city councilman, has come from local elected officials within his Assembly district like Costa Mesa Mayor Jim Righeimer and Huntington Beach Mayor Matthew Harper.

Meanwhile, the fundraising battle is far closer in the race to replace Bates in the Fifth District, with Dana Point mayor Lisa Bartlett and Former Laguna Niguel mayor Robert Ming raising nearly identical amounts.

Ming’s total as of Nov. 1 was $255,201, just ahead of Bartlett’s $246,922 in contributions.

Ming’s contributors include the Family Action PAC; Los Angeles County Republican Leadership Voter Guide; and California Construction Trucking Assn..

Bartlett’s contributors include the Dana Point Shipyard; Stop the Dock Tax Assn. PAC; and six companies or committees associated with the bail bond industry.

Both candidates have received donations from construction, building and real estate political committees.

Ming, who has been endorsed by the county Republican Party, edged ahead of Bartlett in the primary by just 2.5 percent.

Bartlett has since been endorsed by Frank Ury, who got 23.7 percent of the vote in the primary.

Please contact Thy Vo directly at thyanhvo@gmail.com.

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