oc gop logoThe Endorsements Committee of the Republican party of Orange County meets tonight to consider a slew of local government candidates who have applied for the county GOP’s endorsement.  The committee starts its work at 6:00 p.m. and is tentatively scheduled to consider Anaheim council candidates at 7:45 p.m. – a timetable that could easily go sideways depending on how much discussion preceding candidates and measures generate.

Council Gail Eastman, Kris Murray, James Vanderbilt and Doug Pettibone all have applied for the party endorsement (the OC GOP last month voted to endorse Mayor Tom Tait for re-election; although, the members elected from AD65 – which includes Anaheim, voted in opposition).  The right course would be for the party to endorse Kris Murray and Gail Eastman, since they are Republican incumbents in good standing with conservative voting records. Plus, they have been strong opponents of the union-progressive political campaign to carve Anaheim into single-member council districts and structurally tilt the council toward a permanent Democratic majority. The OC GOP has been alternately clueless and paralyzed on this issue, and thus ought to endorse Murray and Eastman if for no other reason than they have been fighting to save the GOP from being marginalized in OC’s largest city.

Pettibone and Vanderbilt have a tall mountain to climb. For one ting, they are asking the Republican Party of Orange County to support their campaigns to defeat two Republican incumbents. That is something the party should do in only the most extraordinary circumstances, and no such circumstance exists in this case. 

Furthermore, why should the committee endorse Vanderbilt over either Murray or Eastman? In 2012, Vanderbilt endorsed the Democratic candidate, Tom Daly, over his GOP opponent, Jose “Joe” Moreno, in the 69th Assembly District.  During the same election, Vanderbilt also endorsed Democrat Jordan Brandman for Anaheim City Council.

A few months ago, the Endorsements Committee gave Mission Viejo Councilman Frank Ury a rough time for endorsing, Dave Leckness, a conservative Democrat for the MV City Council a few years ago – even though the Leckness subsequently re-registered as a Republican. Councilman Brandman is still firmly rooted in the Democratic Party, and a few days ago Assemblyman Tom Daly voted in favor of the statewide ban on plastic bags.

Given it’s record on the subject, the Endorsements Committee would be hard-pressed to find a rationale to endorse Vanderbilt over either Murray or Eastman.  

As for Pettibone: again, why should the Endorsement Committee recommend supporting his campaign to take-out a Republican incumbent? Pettibone is a political blank slate who appeared out of the political ether in June, and has no political track record upon. His primary credential is he lives down the street from Mayor Tait, who recruited him to run for council. I’m biased, but I don’t see any compelling reason for the party to make such a radical departure from past practice and endorse an unknown quantity over a Republican incumbent in good standing.

The outcome most consonant with the OC GOP purpose for being would be an Endorsement Committee recommendation to endorse Murray and Eastman for re-election, and failing that, for no endorsements at all.