SD37 Watch: Wagner-Moorlach Battle Getting Uglier; New Wagner TV Ad

The Mail Keeps Coming
According to the OC Registrar of voters, 48, 389 vote-by-mail ballots have been returned, out of 260,063 VBMs issued to date. Keep in mind, VBMs will likely account for 70% of the ballots cast in the special election for the 37th Senate District.

VBM returns March 9

And so the mail keeps coming in.  On Saturday, we received this mailer from the John Moorlach campaign:

March 7 Moorlach mailer 1

March 7 Moorlach mailer 2

March 7 Moorlach mailer 3

The “Orange Taxpayers Association” (OTA) logo would seem to indicate this piece targeted SD37 voters in the City of Orange. The OTA was an real organization back in the 1990s, when it was led by Carole Walters and Corinne Schreck, and was largely focused on standing up for property rights in Old Towne against preservationist encroachment. Nowadays its essentially a phantom organization limited to having its logo slapped on political mailers.

The tone and messaging from the Moorlach campaign has become pretty defensive and reactive, which this mailer reflects. “My opponent is lying about me” is the dominant them: I received a Moorlach campaign robocall last week in which an voice announcers rattled so rapidly through a stream of message points that the only things that really stuck in my mind were Moorlach is the only one who can protect us from illegal immigration and that Wagner is lying about Moorlach.

Also arriving on Saturday was this pro-Wagner mailer from the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association IE Committee and the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs IE Committee:

March 7 public safety IE for Wagner 1

March 7 public safety E for Wagner 2
And arriving yesterday was this anti-Moorlach mailer from the Wagner campaign:

March 9 Wagner hit on Moorlach 1


March 9 Wagner hit on Moorlach 2


And today, this hit against Wagner arrived from the Moorlach campaign:

March 10 anti-Wagner mailer from Moorlach 1

March 10 anti-Wagner mailer from Moorlach 2

Is John Moorlach a liberal? Of course not. At the same time, Don Wagner is not the “public employee union candidate;” he is not “owned by Sacramento special interests;” he does not exchange votes for campaign contributions; he does not support amnesty for illegal immigrants — all of which are false claims being made by the Moorlach campaign.

This tends to be the dynamic in contests in which the philosophical differences between two candidates are small to non-existent. Campaigns try to accentuate difference and create doubt in voters’ minds about the opponent. Wagner just has a much bigger megaphone.  The main difference is the Moorlach campaign loudly complains about unfair attacks even as it engages in the very behavior it denounces, while the Wagner campaign just hits away without whining about being on the receiving end.

New Wagner TV Ad
One benefit of having a massive fundraising advantage is the Wagner campaign isn’t limited to communicating with voters via direct mail, but can afford to advertise on cable. Wagner went up recently with a second cable TV ad:

More Independent Expenditures On The Way
Shortly after the vote-by-mail ballots were sent out, the California Homeowners Association independent expenditure committee sent out two mailers hitting Moorlach. Last week, the committee reported a $13,500 expenditure for a targeted comparison mailer. I haven’t received it, so I imagine it is in the mail.

According to its reports, CHA has received $56,000 since January 1 from this sources:

  • Long beach Police Officers Association IE Committee:  $2,500
  • Riverside Sheriff’s Association Public Education Fund:  $10,000
  • Silva for Senate 2018:  $10,000
  • Quality Health Care for Californians Sponsored by CAHHS:  $10,000
  • California Medical Association IE Committee:  $13,500
  • California Correctional Peace Officers Association IE Committee:  $10,000

To date, the CHA has spent $45,922 in the SD37 special election. The remaining $10K-and-change could be used in this race or in one of the other two state Senate special elections being held the same day (although CHA hasn’t yet played in those races). For readers surprised, alarmed or intrigued by the contribution from former OC Supervisor Jim Silva’s state campaign committee: there has been no love lost for many years between the two former Supes for the 2nd District.

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