Political newcomer Josh Newman is running as a candidate for SD-29 and in many ways, his candidacy resembles that of Bernie Sanders going up against Sukhee Kang (in the Hillary Clinton role) and State Rep. Ling Ling Chang (portraying Donald Trump) with a small exception. Sanders has years in Government; Newman is a political novice. Bernie’s raising lots of money — something essential for running for an office like State Senate. Kang leads here with Chang close behind. Newman has raised $88,324 so far — and $81,079 is a loan from — Josh Newman.
In fact, Newman’s remaining $7,245 raised shows only $1,650 from contributors in the District itself (no contributions from Greg Diamond, imagine that). And while much is being made of Sukhee Kang’s new home in a Fullerton gated community, Newman’s small contributions comes from such toney addresses as New York City, Wellesley, MA, Mill Valley, CA, Scarsdale, NY. Greenwich, CT, and White Plains, NY.
Vern Nelson writes: “But last year, with this stellar record under his belt, Sukhee found himself termed out as mayor, and, restless for higher office, look what he found up in Northwest OC – an open state senate seat in a district with a growing percentage of high-propensity-voting Asian Americans! “I could maybe win that seat, and get the Democrats a super-majority!” said Sukhee to himself, and flew up to Sacramento to impress this notion upon the Democrat bigwigs.”
Kang has been out of office since 2012 and making up a quote, along with facts is just a couple of the mistakes Nelson’s made. Another is when Newman moved to Fullerton. At one point, Nelson correctly states its been four years and later, it’s five years. Kang has lived in Orange County for well over 25 years including in Anaheim for 10 years prior to moving to Irvine. Nelson also suggests Kang was a an automatic Larry Agran yes vote on the Irvine City Council. For those who don’t know Agran, Beth Krom and Kang, they time on the city council might be marked by similar votes but each are three strong personalities– no one was anyone’s “puppet.” Maybe Nelson can ask Beth Krom if she was an Agran puppet next time he speaks with her.
Nelson writes: “Noticing, as the others in this story, that there was a state senate seat open where he lived, Josh concluded that he could do a better job in it than most others. But when he approached the local Democratic leadership, that leadership hemmed and hawed, went out of the room for a bit and came back in with a pained expression: “Josh, you’re great, but we’ve already got a guy. Why don’t you run for school board or something instead?”
In chatting about Newman’s candidacy at a DPOC meeting, I heard that when the idea of running for school board of city council in Fullerton instead of State Senate was presented to Newman, it was rejected by the candidate because he “needed an office that paid.” I reached out to Newman’s campaign and posed that question. They never returned the message.
You have to wonder, why Newman gets such fawning advocacy from the guys at OJ over a candidate who has secured every important Democratic endorsement and has raised the most money for the race and has generally outclassed the last Party candidate for SD-29 (spoiler, Greg Diamond who raised about $13,000 in 2012 for the same seat, or nearly twice as much as Newman has without his loans to himself). It could be two reasons — Diamond is upset that Kang is just running the superior campaign of a candidate committed to winning, or that Newman’s hired the firm Diamond’s step-daughter is a partner; and every client of hers gets favorable coverage in the OJ blog. Now I’m sure they’ll say that has nothing to do with it, but evidence suggests otherwise.
So is Newman the best Democratic candidate for SD-29? Money raised says no. Endorsements say no. On issues, he and Kang largely agree. Newman’s candidacy, which uses the “Hello Newman” line from Seinfeld, seems about as welcome as Jerry’s neighbor on the show.