In every election, there are gracious winners and bad winners; gracious losers and sore losers. And former State Assemblyman Chris Norby has a signed confession that he’s a sore loser in the letters to the editor section of today’s OC Register editorial pages.
Norby was the big winner in the June primary over Sharon Quirk-Silva; his campaign coasted over the summer while Quirk-Silva walked neighborhoods, did extensive polling, refined her message and registered new voters. In November, Norby lost in what was one of the biggest upsets in state and local elections. In a “Thank you” letter to the voters in the new AD-65, Norby reflects on the election and his record as the AD-72 assembly rep. Norby blames unions, the Democratic Party and OC Republicans “distracted” by the presidential race for his loss.
Redistricting made re-election this year more difficult, and a tidal wave of money and negative mail narrowly ended my tenure. I’ve been in negative campaigns before, but this was the first one devoid of any exchange of ideas or give-and-take public forums. Voters and community groups never got to compare directly the candidates’ actual ideas, rather than just the formulaic hit mailers from PACs.
All this money showed the Democrats were dead serious about carrying this seat, while many O.C. Republican were distracted by the presidential race and statewide propositions. Their new two-thirds legislative majorities means payback to the public employee unions who financed their victories.
Perhaps Mr. Norby can look to the private sector for new employment opportunities instead of relying on the public dime as he has for so many years. The suggestion that voters and community groups never got to compare candidate’s ideas insults the voters. Both Norby and Quirk-Silva had well documented records to run on. Both were teachers (though Norby hasn’t worked a classroom in years), but which candidate struck a more powerful cord with those voters who value education?
Perhaps it was Norby’s track record of showing up late for meetings, saying something for the record, and leaving early (a trait that a number of elected officials in OC from both sides of the aisle share) that soured voters. Maybe it was his close association with the Pro-Tony Bushala crowd in Fullerton where Norby and Quirk-Silva were neck and neck when Norby crushed her in Fullerton in the primary. Maybe it was Norby’s proud role in killing redevelopment agencies which is now costing those Norby once represented in Fullerton $7.6 million, Orange $19.5 million, Anaheim $13.8 million, and Brea $7.9 million. The truth is Norby ran a lazy, bad campaign and caught incumbentitis, where he frankly expected to win.
Norby wraps his letter with:
For me, as some doors close, new ones open. People serve in different ways in different phases of their lives. I thank my constituents for allowing me to serve them and for my dedicated staff who did so much for their state and communities. We all gave it our best.
Norby’s “best” wasn’t good enough. If he’s interested in continued public service, there are a host of worthy charities out there to serve the public as Mr. Norby draws on his generous government pensions. Or perhaps he can get a job in the private sector; perhaps the Bushala Brothers are hiring?