CA-48: Inside the Steve Young Campaign

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For far too long, Republicans have assumed that they never have to worry about losing the 48th Congressional District in South County. But this year, the Steve Young for Congress campaign is doing something to give the GOP plenty of grief and heartburn over the 48th. And in this next installment of’s summer-long “Inside the Campaigns” series, I’ll be giving you a closer look inside Steve Young’s effort to unseat John Campbell this year.

Around 8:45 last Saturday morning, I arrived at Steve Young’s campaign office in Irvine, near the Irvine Spectrum Center. And not too long after I arrive and the candidate himself arrives, the volunteers start pouring in for the 9:00 AM campaign training. And shortly after 9:00, the training begins.

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Now I’m sure the campaign wasn’t planning for the Presidential Primary season to end just days before the training, but alas… That’s just what happened. So before the training could really get into full swing, we all had to watch Hillary Clinton give her final speech as a Presidential Candidate. We all stayed quiet and looked up to the projector screen to witness a historic end to a historic run… As well as the beginning of a united Democratic Party effort to elect Barack Obama this fall.

But since the entire purpose of the meeting wasn’t just to watch Hillary Clinton’s speech, the training resumed soon after the speech ended. Just before we paused for the speech, Steve Young began his presentation on the importance of person to person campaigning and local organizing. Oh yes, and after the Hillary Clinton speech we heard from another former Presidential Candidate: Michael Dukakis. No, he wasn’t at the office in person. But still, the video from his January appearance in Laguna Woods was a powerful testament to the importance of grassroots organizing. Everyone paid attention as Dukakis warned about not repeating the mistakes of the past by ignoring grassroots organizing.

After the Dukakis video, Steve Young spoke again and reinforced Dukakis’ point. He mentioned the many lessons learned from the last two campaigns he fought in 2005 and 2006. One was from an experience walking a Laguna Beach precinct with a local volunteer. She took Young around the neighborhood, talking to all the voters in the neighborhood and inviting them to a house party. Despite this area going for Republicans in the past, Young carried the precinct with 76% of the vote in 2006.

Young then shared with us some techniques on how to make our organizing efforts more effective. Everyone discussed the merits of walking neighborhoods, tips on making phone calls, and other ways to do personal outreach. I’d go into more depth and let you know the tricks of the trade, but I can’t give away too many secrets. You’ll need to attend one of these yourself. 😉

Still, one secret that I can share with you is that Steve Young is forging together an integrated Democratic effort that isn’t just helping himself. In fact, most of the people attending this training were local Obama activists that want to spread the word about the Democratic Presidential nominee. Also, there was plenty of discussion on how to help local candidates win. And since one of the mottos of the Steve Young campaign is that “a rising tide lifts all boats”, they were more than happy to help everyone.

Before we were all released to go, campaign manager Marion Pack went over our precinct kits with us. Now that we all knew how to take to the neighbors, how to register voters, and how to keep in touch with the neighbors and make sure they vote Democratic, we were ready to get our materials and go. And at 1:00 PM, the training officially ajourned.

I must admit that it’s difficult not to like Steve Young and the campaign operation he’s put in place in the 48th. Not too long ago, too many Democrats were unaware that something was happening south of the El Toro Y. But now, Democrats are aware that a whole lot is going on down here. And while many Democrats were working this area before Steve Young entered the scene, his campaign has helped in making people more aware and strengthening the Democratic presence in South County.

So will Steve Young unseat John Campbell this year? Well, I guess this year may be the best time to try. I just know that no matter how big the Democratic tsunami is in 2008, the Steve Young campaign is ready to make the most of it. 🙂

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  12 comments for “CA-48: Inside the Steve Young Campaign

  1. June 9, 2008 at 9:18 am

    Great job Andrew. Steve has been responsible for starting what’s happening in this part of the OC as much as anyone. Since the special to replace Christopher Cox he has built an infrastructure that I am others are trying to extend and leverage from to cover as much of red OC as we can. For what it’s worth he was the first to suggest that I run for office.

    We still have a long way to go but we’ve also come a long way and progress is clearly there thanks in large part to Steve and Marion.

  2. Busy Body
    June 9, 2008 at 9:27 am

    He has built quite an activist base in South OC, but someone needs to tell him not to meddle in Central OC affairs the way he did during the Hoa race. No one from Central OC comes and meddles in his little empire in South OC. Next time someone asks him to carry water for our business, tell him to call someone from Central OC like Carina Franck, Alicia Berhow, Tammy Tran, Mark Sussman or someone in the know and get the facts.

  3. just...asking?
    June 9, 2008 at 10:03 am

    I agree with busy body…

    If Steve wanted to personally support Hoa, thats ok and fine with me, but he should not have come in and told us how to be good democrats. Loosing a couple of elections does not make one the “voice of the party”.

    I hope the best for Steve and his many hard working supporters, but they are up against some significant numbers in the 46th.

    My money will be on Debbie Cook’s race against “panty on head” Dana! Think its dem’s best chance at taking a seat in the OC.

  4. June 9, 2008 at 10:03 am

    Busy Body-

    Give me a break. First off, you’re hijacking my thread and violating the terms of use. This is your first warning to stop posting off-topic items in this thread.

    And secondly, if it weren’t for Steve Young NOTHING would have come out of that special session of the Central Committee. So what would you have preferred, Steve’s resolution calling on Hoa’s campaign to clean up their act or ABSOLUTELY NOTHING? Just let it go already, and move on with your life. The 1st Supe race is over, and we all need to move on to support our Democrats running this fall.


    Yes, totally agreed. Steve Young’s campaign is a real powerhouse for good in South County. 🙂

  5. Busy Body
    June 9, 2008 at 10:44 am

    Wow, how typical of Blue County to limit what people can say on this blog. The topic was Steve Young and I am expressing my issues I have with him. I had no idea we cannot ever criticize Steve Young, that appears to violate the terms of agreement.

    You completely miss the point Andrew. He had no business carrying water for Frank Barbaro. What is most offensive is another Dem from Mission Viejo was asked first to carry the kumbiya proposal. I would rather nothing come from the meeting than this proposal, we appeased Edgardo rather than punish him.

    Steve has created an impressive activist base in south OC, I never deny that fact, but my point is he should stay there instead of interfere in OUR affairs. It would be equally wrong if Mark Sussman and Loretta interfered in a South County issue before the Central Committee without at least calling Steve Young, Larry Agran or Gila Jones to get their input. That is where Steve was wrong and I have a 1st Amendment right to express that Andrew without you and Dan silencing critics like you like to do.

  6. Heather Pritchard
    June 9, 2008 at 11:07 am

    I guess I’m at a loss here, I thought we were all in this together as Orange County Democrats? Yes?

  7. Busy Body
    June 9, 2008 at 11:14 am

    We are Heather, which is why we should always try to communicate with people in different areas of the county to get an idea on the specific issues affecting that issue. Steve acted unilaterally without discussing this with anyone from the Santa Ana or Little Saigon area. All Iam saying is we should have courtesy of working together with people from a certain region of the county instead of just budding into their business.

    If I was ever asked to carry water on a compromise motion for a major issue effecting the 48th CD or some rogue candidate, I would have the courtesy of contacting Marion Pack or Steve to get their thoughts since I am from Anaheim and not Irvine or Laguna Hills.

  8. June 9, 2008 at 11:52 am

    Busy Body-

    Again, please stop violating the terms of use by hijacking this thread. This thread is NOT about Hoa Van Tran or Edgardo Reynoso or even Paul Lucas… It’s about the Steve Young campaign in CA-48. If you don’t want to talk about the subject at hand, then please don’t comment in this thread.


    Agreed. Will the 1st Supe gossip EVER end? We have better things to do with our lives!

  9. Northcountystorm
    June 9, 2008 at 12:40 pm

    Andrew—These are nice posts you are putting up describing the campaigns. Young is certainly toiling hard in the Republican wilderness and deserves kudos for his hard work. In addition to working his own campaign he was on the Obama speakers bureau and appeared a number of times for Obama, even outside of the 48th C.D.

    And you’re right about hijacking the thread. So I won’t go on about how Steve was made aware at the time he was asked to make the motion that some very important Central OC Dems were contacted and were ok with the position in the motion.

    Looking forward to move campaign reports. Thanks for giving Steve and other Democratic candidates some great visibility.

  10. June 9, 2008 at 1:19 pm


    Thank you. I appreciate the chance to cover these campaigns and talk about the races and the issues not always covered by the MSM. I’m also looking forward to finding more great local campaigns to cover here. 🙂

  11. rebecca
    June 9, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    Busy Body, you seem to want to continue the infighting that’s been roiling the local Democrats, to VERY ill effect. Steve Young is a member of the Central Committee. Why should he have to get the permission of some perceived gatekeeper to make a motion? With all the respect in the world to Alicia, Mark, Carina and others, they are not the boss of the Central Committee or the district. I’m honestly not trying to start yet another flame war; I’ve had about enough of those. I hope you’ll listen to what I’m saying with an open mind. Enough with the infighting. Enough with the fiefdoms. Enough with the backbiting because someone didn’t bow and scrape properly. Meddling? The district certainly didn’t seem to be policing itself. I’m glad a grown-up stepped in.

  12. June 9, 2008 at 11:20 pm

    *sigh* Deja vu all over again.


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