Orange to Hold November 5 Special Election for City Council

Cross-posted from OC Political

Yesterday, the Orange City Council voted unanimously to hold a special election to fill the vacancy on their Council that resulted from the election of Mark Murphy (R) as Mayor of Orange.

The special election will take place on Tuesday, November 5, 2019, less than one year after the regular election for Mayor and City Council.  The regular election for the next term for the same City Council seat will be less than a year later on Tuesday, November 3, 2020.

After winning 57.4% of the vote in the November 6, 2018, election, Murphy was sworn in as Mayor on December 11.  His former Council seat will be vacant for nearly 11 months, with the special election winner holding the seat for just over a year before the term expires.

The Council special election is also less than eight months after the March 12 special election for Third District Supervisor, which includes the entire City of Orange.  This means voters in the City of Orange will have six elections in three years:

  • June 5, 2018 Primary
  • November 6, 2018 General
  • March 12, 2019 Special (Supervisor)
  • November 5, 2019 Special (Council)
  • March 3, 2020 Primary
  • November 3, 2020 General

Voters in Orange are certainly used to special elections, with the Council special election slated to be their fourth special election in just over four years.  They previously voted in a March 1, 2016 special election for the Orange Unified School District, just 3 months before the 2016 primary.  20% of Orange’s registered voters turned out in that special election.  They also previously voted in a March 17, 2015 special election for the 37th State Senate District, which included 96% of the City of Orange.  16% of Orange’s registered voters turned out in that special election.

The last special election for an Orange City Council seat was on June 5, 2001, when future Mayor Carolyn Cavecche (R) defeated future Judge Scott Steiner (R) 61%-35% (a third candidate, Michael Vogelvang, won 3% of the vote).  19% of registered voters turned out in that special election.

In a case of déjà vu, the 2001 special election was held to fill the vacancy on the City Council that resulted from the election of Mark Murphy as Mayor of Orange in the November 2000 election.

Murphy had first been appointed to the City Council on March 30, 1993, to fill the vacancy on the City Council that resulted when Councilman Bill Steiner (R) (Scott Steiner’s father) was appointed to the Orange County Board of Supervisors by Governor Pete Wilson (R) after the resignation of Supervisor Don Roth (R).

The Orange City Council had previously considered on January 8 whether to make an appointment or hold a special election, but opted to delay its decision to January 22.

City staff in Orange had proactively solicited applications for the vacancy before this vote, and 20 people had submitted them.  The application process was not mandatory, and even if the City Council had opted to appoint, it was not limited to considering only those 20 applicants.  The applicants consisted of 11 Republicans, 6 Democrats, and 3 No Party Preference registrants.  Six defeated 2018 candidates applied, including both of Murphy’s opponents from the mayoral election and four of the six defeated Council candidates:

  • John Aust (NPP)
  • Robert Baca (R)
  • Arianna Barrios (NPP), a Trustee of the Rancho Santiago Community College District who won 55% of the vote in her 2016 re-election
  • Connie Benson (D)
  • Zachary Collins (R), a defeated 2018 Council candidate who won 5% of the vote
  • Douglas Cohen (R)
  • Jon Dumitru (R), a former two-term Orange Councilman and defeated 2018 Council candidate who won 14% of the vote
  • Michael Eagan (R)
  • Adrienne Gladson (D), a former Orange Planning Commissioner and defeated 2018 Council candidate who won 11% of the vote
  • Ernest Glasgow (R), Chairman of the Orange Planning Commission
  • Windy Horton (R)
  • Adnan Maiah (D)
  • Mark Moore (D)
  • Robert Roman (D)
  • John Russo (R), a defeated 2018 Mayoral candidate who won 21% of the vote
  • Corey Schulz (NPP)
  • Betty Valencia (D), a defeated 2018 Council candidate who won 14% of the vote
  • Christian Vaughan (R), an Orange Traffic Commissioner
  • Doug Vogel (R), a defeated 2018 Mayoral candidate who won 21% of the vote
  • Brett Wyland (R)

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