Not long along, Michelle Steele, a conservative Board of Equalization member, attended a fundraiser for Irvine Mayor Sukhee Kang.Â Steele and Kang have known each other for years and there’s a healthy degree of mutual respect and friendship between the two.Â That’s a good thing and a healthy thing.
But this appearance launched much teeth gnashing among the conserverati in Irvine and Orange County.Â Sources tell us this pressure against Steele began in Irvine Council member Steven Choi’s office and extended to last weekend’s Western CPAC meeting where longshot conservative political hopeful Megan Barth complained about Steele’s apperance at the Kang fundraiser.Â
Under pressure, Michelle Steele emailed a statement to Red County on this issue.
The statement reads:
As a proud Republican with a strong record, I continue to show my unwavering support for the conservative principles that are the core of the Republican Party. I challenge anyone to find a Republican elected officialâ€™s record of support for Republicans in Orange County that exceeds mine.
I made a mistake by appearing at a political fundraiser for Mayor Sukhee Kang. My decision to go to Kangâ€™s event was wrong, period.
I want to be clear that I have not and will not endorse Sukhee Kang for Mayor of Irvine. Â
No Republican candidate has come to me to ask for support in the Irvine Mayoral race. If a credible Republican candidate enters the race, I will endorse and support that candidate.
Board of Equalization Member
My first thought is “Why Can’t We Be Friends?”Â
Under political pressure from her party, Steele is throwing her friendship with Mayor Kang under the bus simply because he isn’t a conservative Republican.Â Mayor Kang has a strong track record of being inclusive and a commitment to diversity.Â He continues to enjoy strong support from Irvine’s Korean community and works well with Republican leaders.
The pressure applied to Steele by the conserverati in OC and Irvine is downright shameful.Â And quite frankly, if this is the sort of thing that speaks poorly on the chracter of Ms. Steele and Republicans here who place party over everything else.Â No one can tell you who you’re allowed to be friends with.Â If you are friends with Ms. Steele, watch your back.Â If she lacks the backbone to tell herÂ party where to stick it when it comes to her own personal relationships, what sort of friend can you expect her to be?Â Certainly not someone you can count on.Â
There’s an important distinction Ms. Steele makes.Â ”When a credible Republican steps forward to run to mayor,Â I will endorse and support that candidate.”Â Is Barth credible? Nope; she exaggerated the number of Tea Baggers protesting in Santa Ana on April 15.Â Is Christina Shea credible?Â Only if you’re number one goal is to make Irvine a more romantic city.Â Steele’s endorsement isn’t worth the breath it takes to utter.Â Be careful what you ask for Republicans.
This weekend, during Irvine’s Harvest Cup tournament (won by my daughter’s team), one of the teams we beat was coached by a friend of mine.Â WeÂ coached togetherÂ when our daughters were 5.Â He’sÂ a former Lincoln Club board member and we had good spirited rubs at each other’s party over the years. ButÂ if someone were to suggest that I couldn’t be a “good Democrat” by being his friend, I’dÂ tell that person exactly where to stick it.Â
It’s time MichelleÂ Steele assesses the value of friendships over political party affilitation.