CA-42: Inside the Ed Chau Campaign

First off, Happy Memorial Day to all of you, our wonderful readers! And hey, what better day than today to kick off our BRAND NEW series, “Inside the Campaigns”? Starting today, we at will give you a chance to take a sneak peek inside local Democratic campaigns all throughout Orange County… All summer long! And today, our series begins with a special look inside the Ed Chau for Congress campaign in the 42nd Congressional District.

The 42nd District encompasses a bizarre area that stretches from Whittier in Los Angeles County to Chino in San Bernardino County to Brea in North Orange County… Then it takes a wild ride down the 241 toll road all the way down to Mission Viejo and Rancho Santa Margarita. And today, I got to see much of the OC part of the district. My day began at 10:00 AM at the Ed Chau campaign office in Brea. I had a chance to look inside Chau’s quaint office in one of the many office complexes that line the many busy thoroughfares of the district… Then the volunteers arrived… Then the candidate himself arrived, and we quickly began our training session.

Ed Chau graciously began our session by saying how much he enjoyed everyone there and appreciated their help. He then stated why he’s running. “I want to make a difference. Public
service is my calling. I have the ability to help others, to help those in need… I want to devote the rest of my life to serving the public.”

Chau then mentioned that in addition to everyone in OC, there were three more people walking precincts in LA County. He concluded by saying, “We can’t take anything for granted. This is the home stretch. We want to go out and knock doors.”

After the training was concluded, I went out with Aaruni Thakur and a local volunteer to follow them as they walked a South County precinct. After the campaign told me about the mailers
going out to 28,000 OC Democrats in the district, I wanted to see for myself how well that was working out. And after the campaign told me how well voters were resonding to Ed Chau while they hadn’t heard anything about Ron Shepston, I wanted to see these voters for myself.
(Note: Later this week, I will be going inside Ron Shepston’s campaign for the 42nd District.)

You have new Picture Mail!

By high noon, my team and I had arrived in Mission Viejo. Just minutes after we exited the 241 toll road, we had reached our destination near Marguerite Pkwy and Santa Margarita Pkwy. Despite the cool and cloudy weather outside, my team was pumped up and ready to walk.

We walked up and down the hills, and through the planned single family home communities and through a giant apartment complex up another hill. I was amazed to see so many Democrats in this area, and to see so many of them totally aware of Gary Miller’s corruption and his inability to disagree with Bush-Cheney on just about everything… From Iraq to climate changevto health care to education. For being such a “red” district, I was pleasantly surprised to discover so much hidden blue.

And to my astonishment, I was finding almost exactly what the campaign had described to ne true. Democrat after Democrat was telling us that he or she would gladly vote for Ed Chau. One said he liked Chau’s endorsements, while another said she liked that all her policy questions were answered at Chau’s web site. Now yes, we also encountered many Democrats who still hadn’t made their decision yet. But still, I only found two Democrats in the entire walk who seemed like Shepston supporters. I was just stunned to find that just up the road from Shepston HQ, I was finding a whole lot of Chau Democrats.

Shortly after 3:30, the team concluded the walk. All in all, we knocked on 100 doors just in our Mission Viejo precinct. Ed & Candice Chau personally knocked on some 60 doors in a nearby Mission Viejo precinct. And finally, another team knocked on another 100 doors in a Yorba Linda precinct. The campaign was sure that they met their goal for voters targeted for the day.

You have new Picture Mail!

You have new Picture Mail!

You have new Picture Mail!

You have new Picture Mail!

You have new Picture Mail!  

All in all, I must say that I’m quite impressed with Ed Chau’s operation. Out of nowhere, Chau’s arisen to become a serious contender in CA-42. And while the Chau campaign still must deal with issues like residency (Chau lives just outside the district currently.) and recent problems with Montebello schools (Chau’s on the school board there), they’ve overall done an amazing job of overcoming the hurdles initially facing them to make a real race of the Democratic Primary and possibly make Gary Miller’s reelection bid a little tougher than initially planned.

But hey, my job isn’t over on the 42nd… Far from it! Stay tuned here at this week for a look at the Ron Shepston for Congress campaign. Today you’ve seen what’s happening with the Chau campaign, nut be prepared to hear Shepston’s side of the story very soon as he prepares to launch a serious campaign to unseat Gary Miller. 🙂

You have new Picture Mail! 

  11 comments for “CA-42: Inside the Ed Chau Campaign

  1. May 26, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    I’m a high propensity voter in CD 42.
    So far I’ve gotten 2 mailers from the Chau campaign (both 8-1/2 by 11 oversized postcards), a doorhanger (from a precinct walk – I wasn’t home), and multiple slate mailers listing Chau (both paid and unpaid). No phone calls – live or recorded.
    From Shepston campaign – 2 robo call messages. No mail.
    Let’s see which strategy works.

  2. May 26, 2008 at 2:13 pm


    Thanks for letting us know about your own experience in CA-42! So may I ask, what more would you respond to? Does the phone message get you to examine the candidate more? Or do you like the personalized doorhanger placed on your front door?

    Just curious… 😉

  3. OC Watcher
    May 26, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    I think what TLC writes shows who was the better organization for November. With Shepston being in almost twice as long as Chau I expected more from him. I hear his cash on hand is not looking good, so I doubt we will see any mail from him.

    To give my answer to Andrew’s question I would say the one who sends mail and comes to my door. Robocalls get your name out but are not the same as a knock on the door.

    TLC, has this changed your position on Ed not having residency in the district?

  4. May 26, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    Not at all OC Watcher. Are you employed by the Chau campaign, by any chance?
    I’ve said before, Chau doesn’t meet my BASIC requirement for running for Congress in CD 42. I’m a bit insulted that he has the gall to try to represent ME without living in the district. So he’s welcome to waste time, printing on postage on my vote.
    Chau has raised more money and can afford more mail. But (with one exception) both campaigns have focused their efforts on what I call “One Way Communication” with no feedback. So without knowing which voters are supporting you, how on earth do you plan a useful GOTV?
    BOTH sides (I have yet to hear a word from Williamson) have proven to be campaign amateurs. I still think neither has a real shot in November, unless Miller gets some major negatives from a third party.

  5. OC Watcher
    May 26, 2008 at 4:23 pm

    I wouldn’t waste my time working for one of the candidates in this district.

  6. May 26, 2008 at 4:33 pm

    TLC & OC Watcher-

    OK, so who do you think is worthy of our support? I’m curious. I’m just glad that we finally have two good Democrats who are doing something in a district where no Democrat ran in 2006. So if you don’t think CA-42 is worth our efforts, then which Congressional District(s) should we focus on? And no, I’m not trying to be a “smart ass”… I’m really curious about what the two of you think about where we as Democrats should be focusing our resources.

  7. OC Watcher
    May 26, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    It is good that the 42nd has a candidate but our money and energy are best spend elsewhere like Doolittle’s seat up north. Closer to home, Cook has a better chance against Rohrabacher than Chau and Shepston have against Miller.

    The 42nd is an interesting primary race, but after next week that will be over.

  8. May 26, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    I keep forgetting to say this, but I think you’re doing a great job covering these campaigns “from the inside,” Andrew.
    I don’t think CD 42 is a waste of time in any way. As long as the goal is turning out more Democrats in November, I’m all for it.
    I’m thrilled that Democrats in OC have all of our bases covered for partisan races in November. People should be encouraged to donate time and money to their local candidates at every level.
    But I think we can certainly improve at the local level – providing support for candidates (and Democratic incumbents) at the city council, school board, water district, community college board level. These races often go ignored in favor of more glamorous contests. Who’s building the farm team? Where are the Democrats with experience fundraising, precinct walking, and campaigning that might be successors to Loretta, Lou, and Jose when they retire or term out?
    And the party should be providing a structure through which these candidates can work hand in hand – from school board and city council to state senate and assembly to congress and president.
    That, I think, is where we Democrats should be focusing our resources.

  9. May 26, 2008 at 6:15 pm


    Thank you. I’m always glad to hear that you & the other readers are satisfied with my work. And yes, I agree with you that we need more Dems to run in more local level (city council, school board, County Supervisor, water board, etc.) races so that we can build “farm teams” all over OC so that we can eventually start winning MORE Assembly, State Senate, and Congressional races around here. If this strategy worked for the GOP, I think we can retool it to work for us. 🙂

  10. May 27, 2008 at 8:28 am

    This is what drives me crazy. No candidate should be abandoned because they have “no chance’. Of course not, because Dems continue to think that and don’t support them.

    If we can’t raise the money to compete then we will continue to be marginalized in this county and nothing will change.

  11. just...asking?
    May 27, 2008 at 3:29 pm


    What comes first, a quality candidate or the money to compete?

    I think a quality candidate, especially a new one, needs to work their tail off to get their message out. Just having your name in the contest with a ‘D’ or ‘R’ behind it should not be enough to start the cash flowing.

Comments are closed.