A combination of campaign experience, political savvy, and mis-steps by younger and less experienced opponents, combined with the self-destruction of the only Republican in the race, seem to be giving an edge to the AD-69 candidacy of OC Clerk Recorder Tom Daly.
While’s he’s been running behind Labor leader Julio Perez and Santa Ana Council woman Michele Martinez in the money hunt, Daly has still raised a respectable amount of money and has picked up a number of endorsements of key groups that cross party lines. In the past few weeks, Daly has secured the endorsement of The Business Council of Orange County, the Anaheim Neighborhood Association and the SOAR PAC — all of which suggest Daly’s experience in local government best positions him as the candidate with the right experience and track record of bringing jobs to the district.
Both Perez and Martinez have some experience in the private sector. One could argue labor unions function very much as a service based industry that collects fees in exchange for delivering service to its membership. Martinez has held some positions in the private sector, but they don’t appear on her LinkedIn page and its unlikely that they were anything more than middle management at best. Francesco Barragan, a fourth candidate for assembly, had a successful small business practice and has turned to community activism in the past few years. Daly’s term as Anaheim mayor involved multiple discussions with Disney, the Angels and Ducks and the build up of the Anaheim Resort.
Perez is being dinged about his personal finances and lawsuits associated with uncollected debts. Martinez had a short sale of her condo in 2011, the theft and recovery of a $6,000 bike, an appearance on a Vietnamese talk show with the anti-Latino former Assemblyman Van Tran and the viral “Tweets on a Train” story where a respected political editor overheard a loud Martinez discussing IEs from the Pala Indian Tribe on a train ride to Northern California.
There have been attempts to paint Daly as a government official with a track record of wasteful spending regarding a building the county purchased for the county’s archives, but the stories written about this and the facts don’t really add up. From a post we did in 2010:
On April 20, 2010 the Orange County Board of Supervisors directed the CEO to review the acquisition of a building at 433 W. Civic Center Drive for use by the Clerk-Recorder for the County Archives program. Supervisor Moorlach was concerned that all relevant information was not provided to the Board before it approved the purchase.
A review of the transmittal of the request to the Board of Supervisors indicates that renovations would be necessary to make the building ready for occupancy by the program. While the projected costs were not included, the document provides enough information for the Board to reach a conclusion about the proposed purchase, and the opportunity for Board offices to request details of the renovation costs, as they were not directly related to the purchase of the property which was the matter before them. The purchase of the facility had been budgeted and any renovations would need approval by the Board prior to moving forward. CEO Tom Mauk’s review concludes that the purchase of the property was a “positive outcome” for the county.
So much for the big scandal on Daly. While his office will be the chief beneficiary of the building in question, which does need considerable work, critics of the project should probably point their accusatory fingers at County CEO Tom Mauk first if they believe the purchase of said building was wasteful. The facts making Daly the sole person responsible for this building’s purchase are just not there.
As we’re weeks away from the June primary, I’m reminded about a chat with a Martinez volunteer at a Drinking Liberally event in February who proclaimed “Nobody who lives there (pointing to apartments near the Memphis Bar in the Santora Building) read your blog.” I’ll counter that a lot of the people who live in those apartments won’t find their way to the polls to vote in June either. I’d also counter, no one reads the pro-Michele blog posts either. The difference is our posts are getting picked up by state and national media outlets while other Santa Ana blogs don’t.
As far as feet on the street and GOTV efforts, Daly and Perez probably have the best teams in the race. Daly’s base is well established and has been through this sort of thing before. Perez has a legion of union supporters who will knock on doors and deliver votes. Martinez has little recognition beyond Santa Ana and in a low turnout primary, Santa Ana voter turnout is pretty poor — typically in the 30 percentage range. Some experts predict Santa Ana turnout will be in the mid-20s this time around. Anaheim and Garden Grove usually draw higher. Look to the 2008 June primary election for a barometer (no the presidential primary, but the legislative one).
Daly’s voters will be out in force and he benefits from the attempted aborted campaign of Republican Jose Moreno. While still on the ballot, Moreno faces a possible Hatch Act violation and has tried to withdraw. Conservative voters who know Moreno is no longer an option but still on the ballot will likely pull Daly’s way.
A few months ago, we sent a questionnaire loaded with softball questions to Perez, Daly and Martinez. Perez and Daly responded while Martinez never did. We ran the responses word for word…and they were softballs. A second round of questions were sent to Daly, Perez and Barragan about two weeks ago. These questions are more hardball in nature addressing weaknesses, vision, and direction for the district. We await those responses. We didn’t send a questionnaire to Martinez because her campaign refuses to respond to anything we ask. So much for the “I’ll talk to anyone” claim she makes publicly but doesn’t stick to privately.
A lot can change between now and election day. We still want to see a meaningful debate among the candidates.