Fair Game


The Lincoln Club enters the OC Supervisor fray and names Pat Bates as their candidate

Fair Game Toms new headshotOkay conservatives, get your seat belts on. This weekend, the race for one side of the Orange County Board of Supervisors 5th District underwent a major upheaval.

But before we go there, let’s review.

Several months ago, Newport Beach City Councilmember and former two-time Mayor Diane Dixon was the announced candidate to battle for the Supervisor spot, then the 2nd District, opposite incumbent Democrat Katrina Foley

Republican Diane Harkey, a longtime politician from South County, was at the same time in the race for the 5th District.

Then, District lines were redrawn, moving Newport Beach from the 2nd District into the 5th. It also pulled the rug out from under incumbent Foley and forced her to also move to the 5th and run as not truly an incumbent.

At that time, Dixon was approached by the OC GOP to jump out of the Supervisor race, in order to clear the field for Harkey and put up a united front against Foley. So, Dixon moved over to run for the also newly redrawn 72nd Assembly seat, where the OC GOP figured she’d be the best candidate, with the best chance to win.

But before Dixon made the move, she reportedly did some polling of her own and let the party know that the numbers didn’t look good for Harkey and that she probably couldn’t beat Foley.

Still, the OC GOP encouraged the move. 

Then, lo and behold, John Moorlach, you remember him, former Supervisor and State Senator from Costa Mesa? Well, the story goes that John mentioned that he, too, wanted to run, again, and his polling showed he could beat both Harkey and Foley.

Oh, and did I also mention that Newport Beach Mayor Kevin Muldoon was also in the race all along? Kevin, if you remember, had been pretty much ostracized by the OC GOP since not getting out of Moorlach’s way in the last Supervisor election, perhaps allowing Foley to cruise in.

Okay, deep breath, now here’s where it gets interesting. Over the last few days, enter the Lincoln Club. You know them, the conservative/elite arm of the GOP? So, the Lincoln Club summons both Harkey and Muldoon and asks them both to exit the race so that they could, wait, not go with Moorlach, but instead recruit longtime party favorite Pat Bates, the current State Senator from the 36th District and a former OC Supervisor (2007-2014), to run for the office.

Both Harkey and Muldoon, however, told them that they’re not going anywhere.

In the meantime, nobody bothered to tell the OC GOP leadership that this was all going on, so they were caught off-guard, after previously endorsing Harkey.

But Bates, who unsuccessfully requested up front, when approached, to have the GOP slate for Supervisor cleared for her effort, reportedly raised some $100,000 just over the weekend, with another reported $100,000 coming her way from the Lincoln Club.

For those counting that’s $200,000 in just a couple of days. It sounds like they mean business.

So, what happens from here?

Does the OC GOP stay with their endorsement to Harkey, or perhaps attempt to reconvene their 60-member committee to somehow change their support to align with the Lincoln Club? What about the all-important OC Sheriff’s union that has also previously endorsed Harkey, along with OC Sheriff Don Barnes?

In the meantime, Foley continues to fly under the radar, unscathed, on the other side of the card with a party totally united behind her.

Assuming things stay the same, Harkey, Bates and Muldoon will have to spend big in their efforts to get out of the June primary, with the hopes of earning one of two spots for the November runoff. 

The only way November goes away is if one candidate gets 50%+1 of the vote in June. One would have to assume that the GOP will just split their party, with the winner facing Foley come November…assuming Foley somehow doesn’t get the 50%+1.

Meanwhile, Harkey, Muldoon and Bates, after spending all their money battling for June, and possibly beating each other up, will then send their winning, battled-and-bruised candidate off to challenge Foley…and then have to replenish their war chest at the same time. 

• • •

Reminds me of my old high school days. Three Newport-Mesa Unified School District students earned perfect ACT scores and one also went perfect on the SAT. Oh, no, I never came close to perfect, but I knew kids who did.


Newport Harbor High School junior Kent Wanlass is the one with the perfect ACT and SAT. He also runs cross country and track, and someday plans to study engineering.

Hey Kent, I love trains, too!

Schoolmate Zak Robertson, a senior, also got a perfect ACT. He’s been playing boys’ basketball at NHHS for four years, he’s president of the Lion’s Heart Club and is the campus lead for the Assistance League. He, too, plans to pursue a degree in engineering.

Across town, Alexandra Law, a junior from Corona del Mar High School, earned a perfect ACT, too. She’s been a competitive swimmer since she was young and will pursue a business degree at the next level.

Impressive stuff. Congrats to all of you!

• • •

Still on schools, the NMUSD Board of Education meets this afternoon/evening. It begins with a 3:30 p.m. Closed Session, followed by the Regular Meeting at 6 p.m. You can check out the full agenda here.

There’s a lot of good stuff on the agenda about a variety of interesting issues, but one that caught my attention was the adoption of re-drawn trustee area boundaries that follows the most recent census figures.

It seems that four maps are up for consideration. Area 6 Trustee Krista Weigand said, “I like the maps that get us into compliance with minimal disruption to the current boundaries.”

Area 4 Trustee Karen Yelsey seemed to concur, “I would prefer making as few changes as possible based on the new census information.”

While Board President and Area 5 Trustee Michelle Barto added, “I think the demographer did a great job with the first map submitted at balancing the original intent of representing neighborhoods and attendance areas.”

I agree, so I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that they will adopt the proposed map below, which is titled Conceptual Trustee Areas Scenario 1.

However, to check out all four, you can go here

Fair Game Conceptual District Map Scenario 1

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of NMUSD