OC Supervisor Shawn Nelson’s ambitions to be a judge are no secret. According to multiple sources, one of the reasons he ran for the Board of Supervisors was to further those ambitions.
Nelson launched an abortive run for the Superior Court in early 2016, before bowing out of a race that was ultimately won by Larry Yellin, the former head of the assistant district attorneys union. At the same time, Nelson was criticized for raising money for a potential judicial race using a committee for a race he was legally barred from running: re-election to the Board of Supervisors in 2018.
The rumor making its way around Orange County political circles is Nelson may be under consideration for a federal district court judgeship, thanks to the accession of the Republican Trump Administration. If that is indeed the case and Nelson were nominated and confirmed for a federal judgeship, it would scramble to timetables of the numerous candidates vying to succeed him next year.
However, a conventional schedule hitched to the timetable of Nelson’s terming out is more likely. Supervisor Nelson12 has a 2018 judicial campaign committee open with $60,000 – all of it transferred from his supervisorial campaign account and no reported campaign fundraising activity for a year.