Orange County Democrats were ecstatic when former Fullerton Mayor Sharon Quirk-Silva knocked off Chris Norby in 2012, in the 65th Assembly District. They partied hard but the party is over now that former Ed Royce staffer Young Kim has trounced Quirk-Silva in the 2014 General Election.
This was not a casual loss for the Democrats. It may well end up costing them their super majority in the State Assembly – an uncertain matter as several Assembly seats are still in close contention.
Make no doubt about it – retaining the 65th Assembly District was the major goal of the Democratic Party of Orange County in the 2014 General Election. They failed – and there are several good reasons for that.
Quirk-Silva proved to be a very liberal state legislator. She quickly piled up a terrible record and it was used against her to great effect by Kim.
State Senator Lou Correa, whose seat will now be held by Republican Janet Nguyen (who utterly defeated former Assemblyman Jose Solorio on Tuesday night), gave local Democrats a great example of how to succeed in Orange County. He was a moderate and he was pro-business. Sure he wasn’t always consistent – but he was far more conservative than Quirk-Silva and Solorio.
The message for Orange County Democrats is stop trying to elect liberals in Orange County. It simply isn’t going to happen. Liberals also got their teeth kicked in yesterday in Huntington Beach and in Irvine, cities that are now firmly in the grasp of conservative Republicans.
Orange County has more Democrats today but they aren’t liberals for the most part.
I don’t expect things to get better for the Democrats even with the changing demographics in our area. Several of the Republicans elected yesterday are Asian women, including Ling Ling Chang, Nguyen, Michelle Steel and Lisa Bartlett. They will firm up the GOP’s support in the County’s diverse Asian communities.
What about Latino voters? Well they didn’t show up yesterday – just as they skipped the June Primary election. Solorio and Quirk-Silva may have won otherwise. But once again we learned that the Democrats cannot rely on Latino support in Orange County.
Another lesson the Democrats need to learn is that trying to use Prop. 13 to attack Republicans is pretty lame when it is the Democrats who keep trying to undo Prop. 13. Solorio’s campaign tried that pitch against Nguyen and it was a dud.
Solorio’s consultant, Richie Ross, really botched his campaign. I personally advised Solorio to attack Nguyen in the Primary Election. Ross told him to hold his fire until November. Now the Democrats have lost their super majority in the State Senate. It is a loss they deserve. Ineptitude should not be rewarded.