Former State Senator John Lewis has such a hold on the Republican Party of Orange County that he was able to force the withdrawal of Robert Hammond, their candidate for the 69th Assembly District, so as to pave the way for his Democratic pal Tom Daly. And Lewis also ran the failed campaign of Chris Norby, for the 65th Assembly District. With the loss of Norby’s seat, and the 69th, the California Republican Party ceded a supermajority in the State Assembly to the California Democratic Party.
But Lewis is not the only one to blame. OC GOP Chairman Scott Baugh (a political consultant) and OC Supervisor Janet Nguyen were personally involved in pulling Hammond out of the race for the 69th. And neither of them helped Jose “Joe” Moreno, the Anaheim Republican who, at the last minute, filed for the 69th rather than concede the victory to Daly. Moreno was however undone by allegations that he violated an obscure Federal law – the Hatch Act. Moreno, an employee of the O.C. Health Agency, was accused of this by labor, even though he is a longtime union member.
The argument some Republican made in withdrawing from the battle for the 69th, which is a majority Democrat district, was that they could thus focus their firepower on Norby’s opponent, Sharon Quirk-Silva. But their guns ran dry at the end and Quirk-Silva was very capably assisted by U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez.
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