Anaheim Council Districts 1, 4 and 5 were among the numerous races the Republican Party of Orange County Central Committee took up during its marathon endorsements exercise on Wednesday. Central committee members got it right two out of three times. I mean “right” in the sense that the OC GOP should get out of the business of endorsing in local races in which multiple Republicans are running – even in cases like District 1 where only one Republican candidate (Steve Chavez Lodge) is qualified to hold elected office.
In each case, Chairman Fred Whitaker urged committee members to follow common sense and act in the interests of party unity by not dragging the Republican Party into the bitter, expense campaign fracas taking place in Anaheim – reminding them such a path would only sow division within the party. Committee members followed that advice in District 1, voting to remain neutral among Steve Chavez Lodge, Orland0 Perez and Denise Barnes (whom the mayor has plucked from obscurity to stand as his candidate there.) It’s plain to any reasonable person who watched and listened to these three that only Chavez Lodge possesses the knowledge and experience to serve competently as councilmember for California’s 10th largest city. Neither Perez nor Barnes are remotely qualified for the position. That is not a criticism of them as people or as Republicans, but a fair assessment of whether they should be making policy in a city as large and complex as Anaheim. At candidate forums, they barely get beyond bland talking points when answering questions about serious policy issues. Chavez Lodge is the conservative Republican with the best chance of winning this seat.
Still, within the framework of what is best for the party, this was the proper course.
In District 4, the Endorsements Committee had voted to send Mayor Pro Tem Lucille Kring’s name to the full Central Committee with no recommendation. Chairman Whitaker reminded the members that the purpose is to elect Republicans and defeat Democrats – and since Kring was the only Republican candidate and her principal opponent is a far-Left Democrat, the party should endorse Kring. Despite self-interested efforts by water-carriers for Mayor Tait, the committee did the obviously right thing and endorsed Kring.
Unfortunately, the committee turned from the path of common sense when it came to District 5, in which there are three Republican candidates: Steve Faessel, Mark Lopez and Sandra Angel. The Endorsements Committee had recommended the full committee remain neutral. Chairman Whitaker exhorted the committee that the right and proper path was to remain neutral, rather than drag the OC GOP into an intramural war that would only engender bitterness and division within the county GOP. Eminently sound and sensible advice, which committee members then ignored.
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