As Chairman of the Republican Party of Orange County, I am excited about our prospects going into the 2018 midterm elections. While 2016 was a challenging election cycle for Republicans in California, I am encouraged by the success we achieved here locally. The press doesn’t often report on these victories:
- 62,000 more Orange County Republicans than Democrats voted in the November general election.
- Despite losing the county, Donald Trump received 80,000 more votes in Orange County than all Democrat votes in the county.
- Republicans continued to hold nearly two-thirds of all elected offices in the county
- Orange County Republicans pulled Congressman Darrell Issa to victory by turning out a 17,000 vote margin in Orange County, allowing him to win by 1900 votes district wide.
- Orange County Republicans held unanimous control of the Board of Supervisors with the successful re-election of Supervisor Andrew Do in a seat with 18% more registered Democrats.
- Orange County Republicans helped Santa Ana Unified School District Trustee Cecilia Iglesias secure her reelection by earning the highest number of votes in her race and withstanding hundreds of thousands of union dollars spent against her.
Our focus for 2018 will again include races throughout Orange County, including Senate District 34, Assembly District 65, and Supervisorial District 4. The successful re-election of Senator Janet Nguyen in Senate District 34 is critical. In 2014, the Democrats and the unions spent over $5,000,000 to defeat Senator Nguyen – and they failed. Victory in Assembly District 65 and unseating Sharon Quirk-Silva is critical to stopping the Democrats’ supermajority from raising taxes. Electing a strong Republican to succeed termed-out Supervisor Shawn Nelson is essential to good governance and keeping the Orange County Board of Supervisors 100% Republican. I can say with conviction that the Republican Party will be working very hard to ensure that our eventual nominees in those races will be prepared and equipped to win.
While the Republican Party still leads in voter registration countywide, we do face changing demographics and an ongoing challenge with Democratic voter registration outpacing us in large swaths of Northern Orange County. This is a dynamic that impacts Senate District 34, Assembly District 65 and Supervisorial District 4 equally. In conjunction with our elected leaders and supporters, we will be rolling out a complete and comprehensive approach to boost our voter registration. Our focus will included enhanced social media efforts and direct engagement in the Latino and Asian American communities, as well as with Republican-leaning No Party Preference voters. Conveying our message on critical issues like education to these communities will be critical. Our success here will be a model for Republicans nationwide as demographic changes here move eastward.
The Democrats simply have no record to run on in spite of their two decades of control over state government. Democrats own that California ranks last in the country for starting a business, negatively impacting working families. Democrats, as the puppets of the unions, own the underperforming, bottom in the nation public schools. Yet, we spend more on schools per capita than any other state. Democrats own the culture of disrespect for law enforcement, Prop 47 and now Prop 57 that are driving rising crime rates in our local communities and neighborhoods. Democrats also own the train to nowhere, our lack of water storage, and lack of infrastructure repair.
The Republican Party is squarely focused on offering alternative, limited government, local government, common sense proposals in contrast to the massive bureaucratic state and “government as savior” approach of the Democrats. We will also be warning voters of oncoming Democratic efforts to tax small business into oblivion by splitting Prop 13, and tax everyone out of using their cars with the likely implementation of a statewide mileage tax. These destructive policies would harm everyone across the board.
There is a lot of work that needs to be done in order for the Republican Party to be successful in 2018. I look forward to rolling up my sleeves alongside our volunteers to deliver Republican victories throughout Orange County. The historic Republican approach to good governance has always made Orange County the best place in the country to live, work and raise a family.
Fred Whitaker has served as the Chairman of the Republican Party of Orange County since January 2015 and on the Orange City Council since 2010. He is the Managing Partner at the law firm Cummins & White, LLP, a Newport Beach based business law firm.
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