In an unusual political twist, former Westminster Mayor Kathy Buchoz is attempting to garner support for a 1986 campaign against her one-time boss, Assemblyman Richard Robinson, The Times has learned.
Moreover, Buchoz on Monday accused Robinson of using his employment of her to pressure her on a 1983 Westminster City Council vote. In response, Robinson said Buchoz is “lying.”
Considering a Campaign
Questioned about her political plans, Buchoz said in an interview Monday that she is “definitely considering” a campaign against Robinson.
“I think I can do the job better than Robinson,” she said.
Referring to the 1983 council vote, Buchoz quoted Robinson as saying “I don’t keep people working for me who can’t follow instructions.”
Buchoz described Robinson’s remark as “tremendous pressure” but not a threat.
The issue involved a council vacancy caused when incumbent Guinn Hodges was convicted and sentenced to prison for his role in a loan fraud scheme. Robinson publicly supported the appointment of Jane Gerber, mother of state Controller Kenneth Cory, to fill Hodges’ unexpired term. Buchoz was part of a council majority in a 3-1 vote to seat former Navy officer Ralph Moore.
Robinson said on Monday that Buchoz’s account of the incident “is totally false.”
“I never had a discussion with her about it at all because of her position on the council,” Robinson said. “She got the same letter I sent to the entire council. I had my other aide, Bill Mack, testify in Jane Gerber’s behalf at the council vote. She’s lying.”
Buchoz, who works for her husband’s Westminster printing firm, said she resigned from Robinson’s staff shortly thereafter.
“We had reached a point where my loyalty to my constituents in Westminster outweighed my loyalty to Robinson.”
Staff members serve at the pleasure of the legislator for whom they work. “He owes me nothing, and I certainly don’t owe him anything,” Buchoz said of her former boss.
Last year Robinson said he and Buchoz “parted company” because she had “misrepresented some of my positions on legislative matters” in remarks to various groups in his district.
Buchoz, 45, lost a 1982 Democratic state Senate primary by only 388 votes. Mostly behind the scenes, Robinson, a five-term Garden Grove Democrat, supported Buchoz with campaign expertise and fund raising. Following the election, Robinson hired Buchoz for his district office staff, where she worked as a field representative until early last year.
A former Democrat who last year turned Republican, Buchoz would first have to win a bitterly divisive GOP primary against Richard Longshore, a Santa Ana real estate broker who has challenged Robinson twice and came within 256 votes of defeating the five-term Garden Grove Democrat in November, 1984.
Longshore has already declared his intent to once again seek the Republican nomination in the 72nd Assembly District.
A Buchoz-Robinson contest in the November, 1986, general election would set an Orange County precedent, according to Democratic and Republican activists.
“Lots of aides have loomed in the wings to succeed their bosses for an open seat, but I know of none who have run on the same ballot,” said county GOP Chairman Tom Fuentes.
“It would be a first,” agreed county Democratic Chairman Bruce Sumner.
Longshore, who GOP officials said currently works out of his home, was unavailable Monday.
Denying rumors that he intended to “plant” Buchoz in the GOP primary in order to have the eventual Republican nominee bloodied politically before the November general election, Robinson said he knew nothing about her potential candidacy until a Times reporter asked him on Monday.
Buchoz said she has not discussed the race with Robinson.
She left the Westminster council last November after deciding not to seek reelection.
Robinson said Buchoz’s candidacy would be “very interesting, but I don’t view her as a serious problem.”