Ashleigh Aitken Announces 2nd Run For Mayor

Attorney Ashleigh Aitken has announced her candidacy for mayor of Anaheim, setting up a re-match with Mayor Harry Sidhu, who defeated her in 2018. Aitken filed her initial paperwork yesterday.

Aitken, a liberal Democrat and former federal prosecutor, is a member of the Orange County Fair Board, a post to which she was appointed in 2012 by Governor Jerry Brown.

In a press release issued yesterday, Aitken stated:

“Anaheim is my hometown–an incredible city where neighbors look out for one another and diverse families come together to realize the American dream. But that dream is getting harder to achieve for many residents, and Anaheim’s mayor is more focused on making backroom deals to benefit his politically connected friends than he is on improving the quality of life in our neighborhoods. I’m running for Mayor to advocate for our neighborhoods by protecting taxpayers against waste and giveaways, tackling the homelessness crisis with urgency, protecting public health, and helping local businesses and workers recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic. I’ll bring much needed honesty, transparency, and a spirit of cooperation with me to City Hall, and I’ll work hard every day to listen and deliver results for our city’s residents. I am excited to announce my candidacy, and I am looking forward to the campaign ahead.” 

Harry Sidhu, who had previously served on the Anaheim City Council from 2004 to 2012, narrowly prevailed over Aitken in a multi-candidate field in 2018, which included former Councilwoman Lorri Galloway and council critic Cynthia Ward (Aitken and Ward were co-endorsed by outgoing Mayor Tom Tait):

A year later, Aitken announced she would challenge 3rd District Supervisor Don Wagner’s bid for a full term on the OC Board of Supervisors, but defeated in a head-to-head contest in the March 2020 primary, 52.3% to 47.7%.

Sidhu and Aitken are thus far the only two declared mayoral candidates.

The dynamics are different going into 2022 than they were in 2018. Four years ago, it was an open seat, while this year Sidhu is running as the incumbent mayor with a record of accomplishments to communicate to voters. While Aitken will dispute that record, she can’t make it go away.

Sidhu’s campaign will presumably re-assemble a coalition of business owners, public safety, pro-economic development groups like the Building Traces Council (which endorsed Sidhu last week), and others. Aitken can count on support from the Democratic Party of Orange County, progressive activists and interest groups such as trial lawyers and militant unions like UNITE-HERE Local 11.

Both candidates are proven fundraisers who will have the resources to talk to voters.

The make-up of the candidate field is still an X-factor in the race. In 2018, Sidhu ultimately benefited by the presence of two serious female Democrat candidates on the ballot.  Galloway was polling strong until the Orange County Employees Association (which was backing Aitken at the time) attacked her with a blistering independent expenditure campaign.

Tilting in Aitken’s favor is the strong citywide Democrat voter registration edge:

  • 44% Democrat
  • 27.3% Republican
  • 23.4% No Party Preference

That’s a slight change from November 2018, when the numbers stood at 41% Democrat, 28% Republican and 26% NPP. What has changed significantly is the national and state political climate, which bleeds into down-ballot races in these polarized times. Anti-Trump feeling was running at fever pitch in 2018, enabling Democrats to sweep every congressional seat in the county.

Now Trump is out of office, and the two top Democrat office holders – President Joe Biden and Governor Gavin Newsom – are beset by a host of troubles. Next month, Newsom faces a recall for which support continues to grow – particularly among traditionally Democrat constituencies.  Biden’s approval continues to slide in the wake of unprecedented spending, his inability to control the border, growing inflation, the totally mismanaged withdrawal from Afghanistan – plus growing voter perception that the Democrats are increasingly the party of defunding the police and radical educational ideologies like Critical Race Theory.

While these issues aren’t necessarily determinative in local races like that for mayor of Anaheim, they frame the political environment in which those races take place.

One thing there is little disagreement on among political observers: the 2022 Anaheim mayoral race will be hard-fought, expensive and close.

15 comments

  1. Harry owes his narrow 2018 victory over Ashleigh to the kabuki of billionaire Angels owner Arte Moreno, who announced a month before the election that he was giving up his lease here and leaving with his team. Moments later Harry announced “ONLY I CAN KEEP THE ANGELS IN ANAHEIM!” He won by 400-something votes, and his first order of business was giving away the stadium for a fraction of its worth.

    The Angels weren’t going anywhere. Long Beach wasn’t gonna build a stadium for them, Tustin wasn’t gonna build a stadium for them. I’ve talked to hundreds of Anaheim voters in the last half year, and I’d say 80 to 90% have a bad feeling about this, the feeling they’ve been SWINDLED. Hopefully they’ll use their brains next year and pull the lever for Ashleigh.

    • No on Ashleigh Aiken. Do you need a bigger red flag than an endorsement from Vern Nelson? No on anyone from the Jose Moreno group, this means so far NO on Aiken and No on Jabbar.

    • Matthew Cunningham

      “Harry owes his narrow 2018 victory over Ashleigh to the kabuki of billionaire Angels owner Arte Moreno, who announced a month before the election that he was giving up his lease here and leaving with his team.”

      That is pure conjecture – and I’m being charitable. I get it – that’s your spin, Vern. And you’re sticking to it.

      When you have a narrow margin, it’s almost impossible to ascribe to a single factor. One can make a plausible case for any number of factors in that race.

      “giving away the stadium for a fraction of its worth.”

      More bunkum. You and Tait and Jose Moreno, et al, cherry-pick appraisal, compare apples and oranges, or just make up valuation out of thin air (such as Jose Moreno’s $1 billion price tag). If Tom Tait had negotiated the same deal, you’d be singing its praises.

    • If you claim you didn’t send drunk tweets, why does your wife say that in her voice mail?

  2. Biden is following in the footsteps of the worst president in history. Afghanistan is a repeat of Vietnam. Should not have been there. The liar signed a “peace treaty” with the Taliban. Biden extended it once and is absolutely correct. If a country runs away from a fight, we have no reason to stay. He has made tremendous strides against COVID. Unfortunately Republican governors are resisting and their states are now leading the country in new infections. And I suppose all of the jobs that are not being filled is because Americans do not want to flip burgers or work in the fields. Immigrants need a logical path to citizenship. Why are they given ITIN numbers, if they are not allowed to work. Why are their salaries dinged with taxes, if they are not allowed to work. This has nothing to do with Sidhu or Aitken , just as your comments had nothing to do with the election in Anaheim. Stop the recall better things to do with the $ and vote in 2022.

  3. No on Ashleigh Aiken and No on Jabbar, both have ties to Jose Moreno and are BAD for Anaheim. We need to rid Anaheim of all those involved with Jose Moreno’s group.

  4. maureen Blackmun

    Yes on Sidhu. He’s lead with grace and strength. Garden Grove is lucky to have him as a neighboring city’s mayor.

  5. Anaheim Resident

    Re-Elect Mayor Sidhu! He built a shelter and cleaned up the homeless issue on the riverbed and parks within 2 weeks. Aitken will allow homeless to take over our public spaces again. She supports the needle exchange program. That program is an invite for homeless and drug addicts to flood our parks and neighborhoods. Nobody affiliated with Former Mayor Tait or Jose Moreno will serve us well.

  6. Hey guys it’s too late to save the city. It’s been run over by people winning elections with no real experience in how to run a large city. I will say Sidhu has been good in his position and has done well, the city council is a real mess and has been for over a decade. These positions are non partisan so these arguments are child like and are not coming adults. lol

  7. I wonder if she’ll get Vern and Donna’s endorsement?

    Check this mess out:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdgbLj0fRvU

    • Holy Smokes. I knew there is no love lost between you and The Nelson’s and I always thought they were a little off ( well more than a little) but this takes the cake!

      I went back and read EVERYTHING the woman in the videos said and posted on FB. By God, these people are literally insane. By count six women who have NEVER met the Nelson’s have been contacted.

      Jose, Ashley, Denise, Cynthia Al, Jose and company need to CHIME IN.

      It’s gonna be a ROUGH Primary for Moreno when Lou drops this and the Izzy letters!!!!!

      HYPOCRITES

    • I would vote for Harry before I would ever vote for a rich princess who buys her way into power of the Magic Kingdom.

  8. I just watched the video accusing Vern and Donna of sexually harassing several women.

    This is ironic given their vapid pursuit of Jordan Brandman. Yet there is NO mention or apology on his blog.

    The BLOGS credibility is ZERO. Including his defenders there.

    On what planet is this acceptable? Maybe Jose, Larry Larsen, the always mouthy Jeanie Robbins can explain why this is acceptable.

    I won’t hold my breath
    But I am going to share this video with EVERYONE I know in progressive circles.

    I

  9. Well Verns shill over at the VOC touched on this. Naturally getting the FACTS wrong.

    What an unbelievable coward Vern is. Blaming his sick wife for his drunken antics.

    Note to Brandon, NOWHERE on that voice message does she mention Verns addiction to “Local Politics” rather Mr. Pho she says plainly: “HE’S DRUNK” “………..When he’s drinking”

    Ada joined the clown car too, what does Jose Moreno and Mrs. Moreno a Jr. High principal have to say?

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