In an exclusive conference call to LiberalOC editors late last night, Anaheim City Council member Lucille Kring announced a surprising twist in the 2014 election for Mayor of Orange County’s largest city. She is dropping her challenge of Mayor Tom Tait.
In November Kring announced that she was challenging Tait claiming “We need a mayor who unites, not divides,” Kring said. “I will be that mayor.” At her press conference she was surrounded by supporters from current Council members Kris Murray and Gail Eastman to representatives from the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce and major business interests Kring argued that Tait has failed to build consensus around important issues; has allowed council meetings to become hostile environments with opponents of council policies berating council members from the audience; and ha been disrespectful of staff publicly and privately.
While her opinion of Tait’s performance as mayor has not changed she tells us that the dynamics of the race have. Kring admitted that her recent comments related to the “clearly justified” shooting and killing of a suspect who fired on Anaheim police officers, injuring K-9 officer Bruno, has created a distraction in the race that jeopardizes the chances of unseating Tait in November. Kring told us that her withdrawal from the race will “provide the unifying focus needed for Anaheim, bringing together business and labor interests, to end the divisive and failed leadership of Tom Tait in support of Lorri Galloway,” Kring added, “By endorsing Lorri, I am helping to unify forces in support of new leadership for the city.”
In addition, Kring told us that withdrawing from the race will allow her to focus on the passage of the Mayoral term limits measure on the ballot in November, and the reelection of her two closest allies on the council. “I want to focus on maintaining the strong pro-business majority on the council that my colleagues Kris Murray and Gail Eastman bring to the city,” Kring said. “My leaving the race will allow for the resources that would have funded my campaign to be directed to limiting the length of time that our city has to suffer under such failed leadership as Tom Tait’s.”
Clearly, the withdrawal of Kring from the mayor’s contest will allow for a more focused campaign to unseat Tait. And maintaining the current Kring-Murray-Eastman-Brandman voting block on the council would likely be able to keep Galloway in line if she falls out of favor, assuming she defeats Tait. While the dynamics of the race are clearly changing, and this story is continuing to develop, Kring left us with this as she ended our conversation.
“I know as well as anyone, the power of Anaheim’s major business interests to sway the positions of members of the council. I’m confident that Galloway will follow her previous inclinations towards those interests just as she did as a member of Curt Pringle’s majority when he was mayor,” Kring said.