Businessman and former Councilman Harry Sidhu filed campaign paperwork on July 3 to run for Mayor of Anaheim in 2018, becoming the second candidate to throw a hat into the mayoral ring. Anaheim Hills attorney Ashleigh Aitken, a liberal Democrat, formed a mayoral campaign committee this May.
Sidhu, a Republican, first ran for Anaheim City Council in 2002 and finished fourth. He ran again in 2004 and won, and was handily re-elected in 2008. Sidhu ran unsuccessfully for state Senate in 2006, losing the GOP primary to Assemblywoman Mimi Walters in 2006. He lost a bid for 4th Supervisor District in 2010 against then-Fullerton Councilman Shawn Nelson and fellow Anaheim Councilmember Lorri Galloway. Last year’s 68th Assembly District election eluded him; Sidhu led for almost a week after Election Day but Irvine Mayor Steven Choi crept past him in the late ballot counting.
Mayor is now the only city council office that is elected at-large, and Sidhu has the advantage of having twice been elected at-large to the city council. Furthermore, he is familiar to voters due to numerous ballot appearances.
Sidhu scored plaudits with Anaheim Hills residents last week by making a personal donation of $7,500 to the annual Anaheim 4th of July festivities and community fireworks show that takes place in Anaheim Hills. Volunteers wearing Sidhu for Mayor shirts were visible at the event. Although all city council districts are equal in population, the Hills carry disproportionate weight in city-wide elections since it is home to a disproportionate (and heavily Republican) number of Anaheim voters. Like Aitken, Harry Sidhu lives in Anaheim Hills.
The former councilman is a prodigious fundraiser who also has the ability to invest significant personal funds into his campaign.
At this early date, the Anaheim mayoral contest is between a conservative Republican businessman and a liberal Democratic attorney, both of whom live in Anaheim Hills and will be able to raise large campaign warchests.