Election 2020: Two Democrats aim to oust Republican John Moorlach in race for 37th state Senate District seat

Candidates in the 37th state Senate District, from left, are incumbent John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa), Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley and UCI law professor Dave Min.
(File Photos)

The 2020 race for the 37th District seat in the state Senate pits the Republican incumbent against two Democrats — a longtime local politician and a university professor.

The top two vote-getters in the March 3 primary will move on to the November general election.

The 37th District covers a swath of Orange County including Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Costa Mesa, Irvine, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Tustin, Orange, Villa Park and Anaheim.

The candidates are:

John Moorlach

Party: Republican
Currently: State senator, 37th District
Age: 64
Campaign fundraising: $446,864 (reporting period from Jan. 1, 2019, to Jan. 18, 2020)
Endorsements include: Assemblyman Tyler Diep; Orange County Supervisors Andrew Do, Lisa Bartlett, Don Wagner and Michelle Steel; Costa Mesa Councilwoman Sandy Genis; Huntington Beach City Attorney Michael Gates; Huntington Beach Mayor Lyn Semeta; Newport Beach Mayor Will O’Neill, Mesa Water District board members Fred Bockmiller, James Fisler, Jim Atkinson, Marice DePasquale and Shawn Dewane; Newport-Mesa Unified School District board member Martha Fluor

Moorlach won his first four-year term as state senator in 2016 after winning a special election for the seat the year before. He ascended to state office following two stints as an Orange County supervisor and as the county’s treasurer-tax collector. He serves as vice chairman of the Senate’s Governance and Finance Committee and is a member of the Budget and Fiscal Review Committee, Public Safety Committee and Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee.

Dave Min

Party: Democrat
Currently: UC Irvine law professor
Age: Unavailable
Campaign fundraising: $504,576 (reporting period from Jan. 1, 2019, to Jan. 18, 2020)
Endorsements include: Reps. Ted Lieu, Gil Cisneros, Pete Aguilar, Judy Chu, Alan Lowenthal and Scott Peters; California Controller Betty Yee; California Federation of Teachers; California Teachers Assn.; California League of Conservation Voters; Korean American Democratic Committee; Asian Americans in Action; Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence

Min is again throwing his hat in the political ring after losing a bid for Congress in 2018. Previously, he served as policy director at the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank, and as a congressional advisor. A resident of Irvine, he attended Harvard Law School.

Katrina Foley

Party: Democrat
Currently: Mayor of Costa Mesa and consumer attorney
Age: 52
Campaign fundraising: $431,547 (reporting period from Jan. 1, 2019, to Jan. 18, 2020)
Endorsements include: Rep. Harley Rouda; Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris; Costa Mesa City Council members John Stephens, Arlis Reynolds, Manuel Chavez and Andrea Marr; Huntington Beach City Councilwomen Jill Hardy and Kim Carr; Laguna Beach City Council members Toni Iseman, Peter Blake and Sue Kempf; California Labor Federation; Costa Mesa and Huntington Beach police officers associations; Newport Beach and Huntington Beach firefighters associations

Before becoming Costa Mesa’s first directly elected mayor in 2018, Foley was a councilwoman for a decade over two stints and a member of the Newport-Mesa Unified School District board of trustees for four years. Foley also is the founder and president of the Foley Group PLC, an employment law firm based in Newport Beach.

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