Badham Rebuffs Rosenberg’s Bid; Robinson Leads
Orange County voters gave Rep. Robert E. Badham (R-Newport Beach) a victory over a determined challenger Tuesday and appeared to be sending veteran Assemblyman Richard Robinson (D-Garden Grove) into a race for Congress, according to early returns from an Election Day marked by the lowest voter turnout since World War II.
In the race for a vacant seat on the Orange County Board of Supervisors, Orange Mayor James H. Beam was leading three candidates but, with only 41.7% of the vote, didn’t have enough to avoid a runoff. He would be facing Anaheim Mayor Donald R. Roth. Former U.S. Rep. Jerry M. Patterson, seeking a political comeback, was running a poor third in the contest. A runoff will be necessary if no candidate gets more than 50% of the votes cast.
Art Hoffmann, a supporter of political extemist Lyndon LaRouche, was leading by a 55% to 45% margin over county Democratic Party Chairman Bruce Sumner, who campaigned as a write-in candidate. County Democrats, stunned when Hoffmann became the only Democrat to file for the party’s nomination in the 40th Congressional District, tried to counter by having Sumner run a write-in campaign. The November opponent will be conservative Rep. Robert K. Dornan (R-Garden Grove).
Incumbents who seemed to be heading for easy reelection in the county included county Assessor Bradley L. Jacobs, Dist. Atty. Cecil Hicks and Sheriff-Coroner Brad Gates.
Irvine voters appeared from early returns to be choosing slow-growth proponents Larry Agran and Edward Dornan over pro-growth council candidates, deciding to limit officials to two consecutive terms, and deciding to elect the mayor directly instead of by council decision. Santa Ana voters in early returns were slightly favoring Measure C, which would require council candidates to run in wards instead of being elected in a citywide vote and would provide for a directly elected mayor instead of one chosen by the council.
On a sunny, summery election day, voter turnout was a dismal 42%, county Registrar of Voters A. E. Olson estimated. He blamed voter apathy, little opposition in many races and public disinterest in statewide initiatives for the poor turnout.
In the 40th Congressional District race, political newcomer Nathan Rosenberg put five-term Republican Badham on the defensive. Rosenberg, a management consultant, hammered away at Badham for globe-trotting at taxpayers’ expense, spending campaign money on dresses for his wife and allegedly missing key roll calls in Congress.
Aided by leading Orange County Republicans such as Gus Owen and Marion Knott Montapert, the former county Young Republicans’ president also put together a well-oiled campaign organization, with more than 200 volunteers, radio ads and a posh campaign headquarters in Corona del Mar.
Meanwhile, Badham attacked Rosenberg for running a “deceptive” campaign financed in part from the young candidate’s ties to est, a human potential movement begun by Rosenberg’s brother. Badham stressed his seniority, his knowledge of secret defense projects and his ability to bring jobs into his coastal district.
In the Democratic primary in the 40th District, Hoffmann, a technical writer, conducted a low-profile, $500 campaign that consisted of circulating a LaRouche-backed initiative against AIDs and distributing flyers claiming that his opponent, retired Superior Court Judge Sumner, was linked to organized crime.
Sumner, helped by local Democratic activists, called Hoffmann’s claims ludicrous, spent $50,000 to send mailers to regular Democratic voters and organized 200 poll watchers to educate voters in the complex process of writing his name on the ballot and then voting for him. He only began his long-shot write-in effort in March, after local Democratic leaders realized that Hoffmann was the only Democrat listed on the ballot. The party’s nominee for the November race earns a seat on the Democratic Central Committee.
The Peace and Freedom Party’s candidate, accountant Steve Sears, was unopposed in the 40th District.
In the 38th Congressional District, Superior Court Judge David O. Carter appeared from early returns to be losing to six-term Assemblyman Robinson. Democrats across the nation have targeted Dornan for defeat but weren’t expecting a contested primary to sap some of their resources.
Walking precincts with 200 volunteers, political newcomer Carter stressed his background as a homicide prosecutor and law-and-order judge. Meanwhile, most labor unions and key California legislators backed Robinson, who gave up his Assembly seat to run. Robinson largely ignored Carter, refusing to debate him and stressing his work on complex legislation in Sacramento. Photojournalist Lee Connelly was the Libertarian candidate.
Sheriff-Coroner Gates was far ahead of his challengers after a bitter reelection fight with Municipal Judge Bobby D. Youngblood and Sheriff’s Patrol Sgt. Linda Lea Calligan. Neither Youngblood, who took a leave of absence to campaign, or Calligan raised much money, but Calligan forced Gates to spend money on legal fees as part of a battle over charges about Gates that Calligan wished to insert in a ballot pamphlet statement.
In the county assessor’s race, incumbent Jacobs took a strong lead ahead of deputy assessor David J. Holbert, according to early returns. Holbert had mounted an expensive challenge, putting $210,000 from his mother’s estate into his campaign. Jacobs accused Holbert of trying to “buy” the election. Holbert accused Jacobs of failing to roll back some tax assessments, but Jacobs denied the charge.
The county’s hottest state legislative battle involved the 72nd Assembly seat being vacated by Robinson. Anaheim realtor Richard E. Longshore, a Republican, was making his third try for the seat after losing to Robinson by 256 votes in 1984. He took an early and commanding lead in the primary contest with George V. Heaney, a state workers compensation fund claims adjuster who collected 43% of the vote against Longshore in 1982.
In the Democratic primary, Santa Ana Mayor Dan Griset was unopposed, and so an expected Longshore-Griset battle had already begun, with Griset backed by Assembly Democrats and Longshore backed by Assembly Republicans in a race that could cost both sides $1 million or more by November.
Several other contests drew interest because their candidates included LaRouche Democrats. Although Hoffmann appeared to be headed for victory in the 40th, the county’s 13 other LaRouche candidates all faced ballot opposition and all appeared to be losing to mainstream Democrats. They included: one LaRouche candidate in the 64th Assembly District, one in the 67th Assembly District, one in the 39th Congressional District and 10 seeking central committee seats.
In other races for county offices, Clerk Gary Granville held a slight lead over Marshall Norris, one of his employees. Prosecutor A. C. Novick also appeared to be trailing his boss, Dist. Atty. Cecil Hicks. Public Administrator William A. Baker was far ahead of attorney Victor E. Hobbs, while Easter Seals director Greg Winterbottom and a deputy assessor, Larry L. Bales, were behind incumbent Recorder Lee Branch by a more than 2-1 margin, according to early returns.
Supervisor Thomas F. Riley was far ahead of Laguna Beach mayor Jon Brand in early returns, with businessman Kenneth Palmer Pratt a distant third, in south Orange County’s 5th District. Riley strongly denied his opponents’ charges that he favored developers. Meanwhile, Supervisor Harriett M. Wieder was far ahead of medical technician David J. Meslovich in the 2nd District.