Supervisor Candidates Refuse to Back Down as Steel Vacates Seat

Supervisor Candidates Refuse to Back Down as Steel Vacates Seat
Former state Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) speaks in opposition to a measure that would increase California's minimum wage, in Sacramento, Calif., on March 31, 2016. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Drew Van Voorhis

The Orange County Board of Supervisor’s (OCBS) seat of newly inaugurated Congresswoman Michelle Steel is officially up for grabs, and local Republicans are vying to fill it.

Despite the Orange County Republican Party endorsing former state senator John Moorlach for the job, other party candidates have said they’re determined to remain in the running. An upcoming special election, expected to happen in mid-March, will decide the next District 2 supervisor.

Steel officially resigned from the position Jan. 3, when she was sworn into U.S. Congress, serving California’s 48th district.

Huntington Beach City Councilmember Mike Posey—among three Republicans running for the position—said he has no plans to back down.

“I was already in the race and raising money before Moorlach got in the race,” Posey told The Epoch Times, adding that his current council seat is set to expire next year.

“I've been consistent; I opened up my committee for the [OCBS] seat ... because I knew I'd be termed out in 2022. ... John Moorlach loses his senate seat, and he pivots to run for a seat where there are already qualified, solid conservative Republican candidates who have already started working on this.”

Posey said he believed Moorlach was ultimately endorsed by the GOP due to better name recognition, which could help him to more easily beat Democratic Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley in the election.

Posey said he’s confident in his campaign’s success largely because of his popularity in Huntington Beach, the largest city in District 2. When he was reelected to city council in 2018, he came in first place, and was the only candidate to grow his voter base above the 2014 election.

“To do that, you have to attract conservative Republicans and Independents, and I would even posit that I probably was able to attract some Democrat voters as well,” Posey said. “Since the city council is a nonpartisan race, just like the [supervisor race], you have to appeal to a broad range of voters with demonstration of good governance. That happens through compromise and not being too partisan to the right or too partisan to the left.”

The fact that Moorlach has already served as a supervisor from 2006 to 2015 was one of Posey’s biggest concerns about him.

“My biggest issue is that, if you've already served in the seat, and you termed out and you're in for another seat, it's like trying to relive your high school glory days when you were the captain of the football team.”

John Moorlach, a former state senator and former supervisor for the second district, announced his candidacy for his old seat after losing reelection for the 37th senate district during the Nov. 3 election.

Kevin Muldoon, mayor pro tem of Newport Beach, told The Epoch Times that he'll be staying in the race regardless of the GOP’s endorsement.

“It is time for the next generation of Republican leaders,” Muldoon said via email. “Former Senator Moorlach has been in office since President Bill Clinton’s first term."

Muldoon thought he was the best candidate for the job due to being a former prosecutor, six-year city councilman, and businessman.

“My professional experience ranges from working in the White House to working in the private sector,” he said. “I believe I am the best candidate to find creative ways to solve problems and get real results for our county.”

Like Posey, Muldoon said he wasn't afraid of Foley winning the race due to votes being split among the three Republican candidates.

“It’s too early to know all of the candidates entering this race, but we do know Katrina Foley is too liberal for the district,” Muldoon said. “Funding law enforcement is a higher priority for residents than making political statements at the expense of public safety. Her goal of defunding the police makes her unelectable.”

Muldoon believed that the GOP decided to endorse Moorlach due to the party process not allowing the consideration of other candidates.

“Party leaders were encouraged to slow down and let all candidates debate the issues before scheduling the endorsement vote. They chose a different path without debating his record on public safety or bills he passed in Sacramento,” Muldoon said.

“As a city councilman, I deal every day with Governor [Gavin] Newsom’s overbearing COVID restrictions that are destroying our families, businesses, and communities. As a county supervisor, I can make a difference in pushing back on Newsom.”

Drew Van Voorhis is a California-based daily news reporter for The Epoch Times. He has been a journalist for six years, during which time he has broken several viral national news stories and has been interviewed for his work on both radio and internet shows.