OC GOP chairman Scott Baugh will leave his position in January 2015 according to a story in the Orange County Register. Baugh cites demands on his available time from his real estate business and law firm, and has taken on a larger role in running his family’s Northern California ranch due to his father’s declining health. Under Baugh, the county’s GOP continues to dominate elective office but its a party is serious decline as voter registration numbers are down and Baugh has had to fight off Tea Party extremists who want to take Republicans further to the right.
From Martin Wisckol’s story:
But Baugh was unable to reverse the party’s declining share of the county electorate, which was 56 percent in 1990, 48 percent when Baugh took over in 2004 and is 41 percent today. The growth of the Latino community is central to the sliding numbers in the county and statewide. And while the GOP has a 9-point advantage over Democrats in the county, it was twice that when Baugh became chairman.
“A lot of that is birth rate and people moving to the county,” said former state Senate GOP Leader Dick Ackerman of Irvine. “Even the chairman of the Republican Party can’t control that,”
Under Baugh’s watch in 2012, Democrat Sharon Quirk-Silva upset incumbent Chris Norby, R-Fullerton. Norby had won the primary by 17 points, and the county party, the state party and the candidate were all caught off guard in the general election.
While Baugh has many staunch supporters and has largely kept the internal debates from the level of tumult seen under Fuentes, he inevitably has critics as well.
“Things have not been going well under his leadership,” said Villa Park Councilwoman and tea party activist Deborah Pauly.
Possibel replacements include Ackerman and Newport Beach lawyer Fred Whitaker.