With the hotly anticipated November general election just a few months away, local Republican candidates are jockeying hard for that most-cherished of endorsements from the Orange County Republican Party.

This year, Voice of OC has obtained an early glimpse of the actual questionnaire that candidates are asked to fill out.

While the questions are intended to vet local candidates for local offices, many focus on ideology as well as on national issues.

Some of the most noteworthy questions include:

  • Do you support removing safe-drilling restrictions from California’s coast and within its borders?
  • Should schools teach their students that homosexuality is an “alternative” or “normal” lifestyle?
  • Should California give free education (or in-state tuition rates) at the secondary level (college or higher) to illegal aliens?

While party leaders insist the questions are not a “litmus test” for candidates, they are illustrative about what central committee members want to see in elected officials.

“It’s designed to philosophically reveal where a person is coming from,” said local GOP Chairman Scott Baugh. “There’s no litmus answer sheet that has the perfect answer.”

Baugh noted that many candidates have taken their own approach to the largely yes-no questionnaire. Many have detailed answers to questions such as “do you support removing safe-drilling restrictions from California’s coast and within its borders?”

“There is no single determinative answer of what qualifies you and what doesn’t,” Baugh said. It’s designed to begin a conversation.”

That conversation is expected to last through September.

On Aug. 20, Baugh said, nearly 30 endorsements will be discussed at the monthly central committee meeting. By next month, endorsements should be finalized.

Despite Baugh’s comments, county Democratic Party Chairman Frank Barbaro had his own opinion of the Republican questionnaire. “If it looks like a litmus test, smells like a litmus test and tastes like a litmus test, it is one,” Barbaro said.

Barbaro said county Democrats are issuing their own questionnaire for candidates. Voice of OC will feature that questionnaire Friday.


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