There were 51 incumbent city councilmembers on the ballot in Orange County this November, and 82% of them were re-elected to another term. Here is a list of the nine councilmembers who ran and lost:
- Anaheim Councilman Jordan Brandman
- Costa Mesa Councilman Steve Mensinger
- Lake Forest Councilman Adam Nick
- Los Alamitos Councilman Dean Grose
- Mission Viejo Councilwoman Cathy Schlicht
- San Clemente Councilman Robert “Bob” Baker
- Santa Ana Councilman Roman Reyna
- Westminster Councilwoman Diana Lee Carey
- Yorba Linda Councilman Craig Young
In every case (with the possible exception of Dean Grose), the losing candidates faced well-resourced opponents and found themselves on the receiving end of a significant volume of negative mail and other negative voter communications. In Dean Grose’ case, he appears to have been a victim of the whims of the voters: there were only three candidates for two seats, and each grabbed about one-third of the vote:
Six of the defeated incumbents lost close races: Brandman, Mensinger, Nick, Grose, Baker and Young. The other three – Schlicht, Reyna and Carey – were beaten by large margins.
Incumbency remains a huge advantage. Even when voters are in a “throw the bums out” mood, they usually don’t throw many out.