There’s an old expression that if you want a friend in politics, buy a dog. And the current election cycle is pitting old friends against each other when it comes to support and endorsements.
Case in point: Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido is a longtime friend of Rancho Santiago Community College trustee Mark McLoughlin. With resdistricting, McLoughlin, an incumbent, will face off against another incumbent trustee in Dave Chapel and Santa Ana Mayor Pro Tem Claudia Alvarez who jumped into the race for District 5 which includes the North end of Santa Ana, West Santa Ana and parts of Garden Grove and Fountain Valley.
Before Alvarez jumped into the race, Pulido found himself at McLoughlin’s home on August 2 asking assistance from family members of his longtime friend to gather signatures in Santa Ana’s Floral Park neighborhood to be back on the ballot for another term as Mayor. That night, McLoughlin was driving home from a business trip in Las Vegas and traffic was bad. He called home to say he’d be late and wound up on the phone with Pulido. The Mayor explained he was getting help gathering signatures with McLoughlin’s wife and told McLoughlin, “Mark, I’m supporting you and we’re going to get you re-elected.”
Then, Alvarez announced she was running for the Rancho Santiago District seat on August 3.
McLoughlin has been friends with Pulido’s family for years. And with the announcement by Alvarez, Pulido couldn’t even knock on the door to tell McLoughlin he had a change of heart. Pulido left a voice mail for McLoughlin that Sunday and the message went something like this: “I can’t endorse you. I have to endorse Claudia. It’s a problem, but I hope you didn’t file candidate’s statement yet because I can’t endorse you, I can’t have my name on your candidate’s statement.”
McLoughlin has since endorsed Councilmember David Benavides for Mayor. It can be argued in Floral Park and North Santa Ana, McLoughlin carries a significant amount of clout and Pulido no longer has four votes on the council to run the city has he has for so many years. But Pulido can count on support from Alvarez on the dias and every other councilmember’s vote is iffy at best.
Like we said. If you want a friend in politics, get a dog. And if this case, it looks like the Mayor is Claudia’s bitch.