The Orange County Employees Association (OCEA) – which represents 16,000 county employees as well as Anaheim city employees – is opening its campaign warchest to help mayoral candidate Cynthia Ward and District 3 candidate Robert Nelson – both Republicans.
Anaheim voters today received an independent expenditure from a committee called the “California Taxpayer Protection Committee,” attacking Harry Sidhu and praising Cynthia Ward. The mailer is paid for by the OCEA, which dumped $100,000 into the California Taxpayer Protection Committee in August:
The same committee is also using government union money to promote the candidacy of Robert Nelson in District 3.
OCEA’s real purpose: try to split the opposition and help the union’s chosen candidates win the election. In the mayoral race, that means liberal Democrat Ashleigh Aitken. One of her political mentors is Nick Berardino, who ran the OCEA until handing the reigns over to Jennifer Beuthin a few years ago. Berardino serves on the OC Fair Board of Directors with Aitken, and has a handsome consulting contract with his old union to provide political direction and advice.
In the mayoral race, the goal is to help Aitken by knocking Republican voters from the Sidhu into Ward’s column. Ward can’t win, but with the help of IEs like this, she can play the spoiler by siphoning votes from Sidhu.
OCEA is taking a page from the national Democratic playbook playbook. Faced with the nightmare scenario of two Republicans on the November ballot in CD48, House Democrats spent $100,000 mailing Republican voters urging them to vote for an also-ran GOP candidate named Paul Gabbard – more than doubling the vote share Gabbard would otherwise have received and likely keeping Scott Baugh off the November ballot with Dana Rohrabacher.
While OCEA and Ward have been allies in the past, the left-leaning county employees union is all in for progressive Democrat Ashleigh Aitken. This pure and simple a ploy to help Aitken into the mayor’s office.
Likewise the independent expenditure for Robert Nelson – a ploy to split the anti-Jose F. Moreno vote and help OC’s most left-wing local elected into a second term.