Goodbye, Mr. Moorlach
The dust has settled around the county after the most recent election. It looks like former senator John Moorlach has been trounced….again.
Moorlach will probably tell you (and he did) the reason he lost was due to those other silly Republican candidates that refused to drop out of the race. At the start line were five candidates three Republican, one Democrat and one pretend Democrat who later claimed she was running a non-partisan campaign. Huh….there hasn’t been a non-partisan race in Orange County in 50 years.
The non-partisan Democratic candidate, Janet Rappaport, has the qualifications if not the name recognition. She told other news outlets that she felt transparency was important and sadly lacking in the Supervisors’ office. Unfortunately, she was transparent enough in her campaign to show that she was heavily backed by the ultra-conservative Lincoln Club. That obviously outed her as a decoy to draw down the liberal vote. It was apparent she was out as any viable kind of candidate.
The three Republican candidates all had pretty good name recognition within the county. Kevin Muldoon, Mayor pro tem in Newport Beach, jumped into the race early on. Mayor of Fountain Valley, Michael Vo, waited a bit before signing on. Huntington Beach City Councilman, Michael Posey, was an early candidate but dropped out after pressure from John Moorlach and the OCGOP.
Katrina Foley was the only viable candidate to be fielded and endorsed by the Democrats. For a local candidate Foley, Mayor of Costa Mesa, has surprising name recognition in Southern California. She has served on the city council for more than ten years and before that she served on just about every committee and commission in Costa Mesa. She has shown she can do the job and, yes, we like her.
Then came John.
Fresh from a brutal beating at the state level, former Senator John Moorlach, was coming home to roost. A former county supervisor, he once said he was not a career politician and would not run beyond county office. Well, he must have forgotten that remark. When Moorlach ran for the senate in 2015, he handily beat his opponents, both of them Republicans, in a special election for Mimi Walters’ senate seat. He won the regular election again in 2016 against David Min. Unfortunately, in 2020, the tides changed in that part of Orange County and Min edged out Moorlach by a little over 12,000 votes. So what was an out of work former senator and blowhard supposed to do?
For Moorlach, any old port in the storm will suffice. Like the professional politician he has become, Big John saw an opportunity to sit it out in a nice comfy office at taxpayer expense. He (mistakenly) thought he was still popular among the literate, washed rabble. Hence, he ran for the open county seat left vacant by Michelle Steele’s ascension to the House of Representatives. There, he would be able to wait it out until another opportunity arose for higher office (Moorlach made an initial run for the 45th Congressional District in 2014 but wisely dropped out before spending his patrons’ hard earned money).
That was the plan.
Then came Katrina Foley and a host of other Republican opponents. Moorlach couldn’t do much about Democrat Foley (although the Lincoln Club made a sorry attempt). Not a problem in a solidly conservative district, right? The Republicans were another matter.
Instantly, Moorlach went on the offensive with the other candidates. Muldoon and Posey had come out early in the race. Moorlach made an attempt to quash both saying the Republicans needed to rally around one candidate…and that candidate should be him. Why not? It worked for him before. Only trouble is, Posey and Muldoon weren’t buying it. Well, Muldoon anyway. Posey did eventually drop out, saying on his Facebook page the Republican supermajority needed to be maintained on the BoS. Kevin Muldoon agreed with Moorlach. He just didn’t agree the proper candidate to rally behind was Moorlach.
So the stage was set and the players cards were in play. Foley kept pushing her message of transparency, something we agree is sorely lacking in the county) Muldoon, without saying it, was pushing a non-Moorlach agenda because, like most of us who are not out of touch with reality, he knew a vote for Moorlach was a vote for the same old-style (corrupt, non-transparent) county government. Muldoon also had what I would call a surprising approach to the pandemic.
Moorlach kept relying on the same old rhetoric that got him this far – You should vote for me because I have experience. I was an [innefective, beligerent to unions] OC Supervisor before. And even though I fled the county to make a run for the senate, you are lucky to have me here to take the reins and steer the county aright once again [until I can successfully run for higher office].
Moorlach, of course, lost his pants when the still unofficial results showed Foley ahead by more than 12 percent of the turnout. Turnout, by the way, was surprisingly good for a special election.
I will say in the fast paced (ho-hum) days leading up to the election, Moorlach did focus on other issues besides his enormous ego. He said he would (probably) wear a mask at meetings. He also said the state had botched the response to the covid crisis (duh) and that the governor should not be telling counties 400 miles away how to respond. So, there’s that.
In the meantime we now have, what I believe to be, the best makeup for an Orange County Board of Supervisors – slightly right with a heaping helping of left. If the conservatives left on the BoS can figure this out, they can reap a goldmine. I mean, if the board is truly non-partisan as it should be, then start working toward gaining fruitful alliances. That shouldn’t be too hard. Foley is an excellent addition to the board with an exceptional and diverse background in local politics. Costa Mesa’s loss is the county’s gain. And we will all be the better for it. And now maybe Doug Chaffee can have a friend on the dais.
And don’t worry about John Moorlach. Even as a has-been politician (did we mention his enormous ego?), he has his county public pension, that will amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, to help him through his grief. Need we say more?