Aitken Formally Concedes Mayoral Contest

This evening, the out-going Anaheim City Council will formally declare Harry Sidhu the winner of the mayoral election, and Jordan Brandman, Jose F. Moreno and Trevor O’Neil the victors in Districts 2, 3 and 5 respectively. The four will then be sworn in.

In a Facebook post published last night, Ashleigh Aitken formally conceded her narrow loss in the mayoral contest:

Here’s the full text:

To my friends,

Thank you for the opportunity to run for mayor of my hometown, Anaheim. Your steadfast enthusiasm got us to the one-yard line, and while I am disappointed in the final result, please know that I am sad, but I sure as hell am not sorry.

I was able to stand along side some of the most committed warriors for economic justice I have ever met. I came out of this race a stronger and better person because of you – educators, electeds, activists, #momsquad, volunteers and, especially, my hotel worker friends and their allies. You inspire me every day. If I had to choose tomorrow between winning the mayor’s race, and passing the living wage ordinance, I would choose Measure L each time. Congratulations to the Coalition of Resort Labor Unions. Anaheim’s working families won.

Trial lawyers fight for justice for a living. We are used to being demonized for inflicting discomfort on the comfortable. I knew the political arena, unlike a courtroom, is not safeguarded by the rules of decorum and ethics. Just imagine…the Resort Area special interests and the greedy hotel owners spent millions on a patently false smear campaign that is beneath their brands, yet we still were within .6% of victory. All that money and their candidate garnered only 478 more votes than our side out of 81,407 votes cast. And we just stuck to the facts. I am proud of what we were able to accomplish.

What do we take away from the fight?

• Anaheim is anti-subsidies and crony capitalism. My campaign, and the campaign of the two main candidates behind me, all fought against the corporate giveaways to wealthy hotel and luxury developers. The majority of the voters don’t support taxpayer giveaways, a fact the current council will have to contend with when those special interests come hat in hand.

• Anaheim supports its working families. Measure L passed, and the voters placed value on the hard work of a primarily female and Latino workforce. Bravo to all the union leaders and volunteers that stood together to support working families and help a cause that was not necessarily their own.

• Voters are watching. The turnout this year was incredible. This means the promises made by my opponent—to quickly house the homeless, increase our public safety numbers in police and fire without adding to unfunded pension liability, and grow our economy to reinvest money into long-neglected areas of central and west Anaheim, will be followed closely, and any detour into the “old ways” of raiding the city’s coffers for the wealthiest among us will not be supported.

I came into this race with a passionate love for my city and its residents, and I leave this race even more committed to making it better. If we stay vigilant, if we continue to shine light on the dark corners of city hall, we can and will protect the quality of life in our city for ALL residents.

Si se puede.

God Bless and take care,

Ashleigh Aitken

Ashleigh Aitken ran a very strong campaign for a first time candidate, coming within a whisker of being elected mayor of Anaheim. She worked very hard at both the grass-roots and fundraising aspects of campaigning. She ought to be proud of her showing.

Her strong finish is also another manifestation of how powerfully the Democrat re-write of election rules benefited Democrat candidates, and how much better the Democrats at vertically integrating their efforts with other Democrat candidates up and down the ballot.

She also has no monopoly on rough treatment in the mail box. Harry Sidhu, Trevor O’Neil, Mitch Caldwell, Jose F. Moreno, Patty Gaby – all were on the receiving end of blistering attacks.

At the same time, Aitken praises the passage of Measure L, the $18 minimum wage measure. The Measure L campaign was based on the patently false message that it applied to the Disneyland Resort. The Resort unions lied to voters and – despite the buoying Democratic tide and the late start of the “No” campaign – Measure L garnered  less then overwhelming 54%.

Demonizing local business owners as “greedy” is wrong, given that they are defending their freedom and ability to operate their business ventures against radical labor unions trying to use the police power of government to impose wage demands they could not obtain through free negotiations. Furthermore, the labor unions that invested heavily in the campaigns of Democratic council campaigns did not act altruistically – if victorious, they expect a policy return on their investment.

“Crony capitalism” is the distorting rhetorical grenade that has been tossed into Anaheim municipal elections for the past several years, but it is a stretch to claim Anaheim voters oppose tax rebate agreements that incentive economic development that wouldn’t occur, and that create jobs and additional tax revenues with no downside for the city. If that were the case, Jordan Brandman would never have become a member of the city council, Kris Murray would have been defeated for re-election, and neither Harry Sidhu nor Trevor O’Neil would be taking the oath of office in a few hours. In her run for mayor, Lorri Galloway did not campaign against the hotel deals; she did not mention them in her candidate statement and her voter communication focused on other policy matters.

It’s also important to note that Aitken’s union and progressive allies such as UNITE-HERE and OCCORD do not oppose tax rebate agreements for spur hotel development. For example, in 2016 they supported Santa Ana’s adoption of TOT rebates for luxury hotel developers because it included a “labor peace agreement” requirement. The hospitality unions love “subsidies” and “crony capitalism” if it includes mandatory unionization.

The Anaheim council elections this year were conducted under a district system engineered by the Left, using a Democrat-drawn district map, and with a Democratic wind blowing. And under those circumstances, voters elected a pro-business council majority. There will be another election two years from now, but this year, the progressive Left, for the most part, did not carry the day in Anaheim city campaigns.


  1. David Michael Klawe

    One of the first things the new Council should do is bring back Kris Murray’s additions to the Sunshine Ordnance Dr. Moreno wrote, so that Unions, Non-profits and other groups trying to get something from the city has to play by the same rules as Businesses currently need to do, to create a level playing field

    Also, since Measure L will become law today, when certified by the council, be prepared for lawsuits from all sides as to whether Measure L is legal, and doesn’t void contracts made with the TOT agreements, to who is actually subject to the Living Wage. I am worried about the costs the city will incur for the administration of the ALWI, along with dealing with the lawsuits.

    Looking forward to attending the Swearing In tonight.

    • David Michael Klawe

      At the Swearing In. The new positions of the Dias are now known. Starting at the left, Kris Murray’s old seat, they are.

      Denise Barnes
      Trevor O’Neil
      Luciele Kring
      Mayor Harry Sidhu
      Stephen Faessel
      Jordan Brandman
      Dr. Jose Moreno

  2. Ashleigh Aitken missed an opportunity to be gracious and classy. She didn’t even mention Harry Sidhu by name, let alone wish him success. Just tired class warfare rhetoric.

  3. Lets not forget that had Ashleigh Aitken not gone negative herself against Lorri Galloway, she likely would not have even come in Second. She was polling behind Lorri Galloway prior to her going negative.

  4. Aitken and UNITE hERE spent more than a million dollars, largely from the dues (pockets) of low income hotel workers, to falsely attack candidates in this election and to pass Measure L that will cause long term damage to Anaheim’s local economy. It already cost Anaheim thousands of local jobs and tens of millions in city revenue that would most directly help the workers who need it most. Thank goodness Anaheim voters chose candidates who will work to rebuild what Tait worked for 8 years to destroy. Aitken could have conducted herself with grace in this message despite her disappointment but chose the path of nasty, political rhetoric, cementing the wise choice of Anaheim voters in choosing Harry Sidhu.

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