Moorlach headed to general election, with 2 Democrats vying to challenge in 37th state Senate District

Candidates for the 37th state Senate District seat are, from left, incumbent John Moorlach, Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley and UC Irvine law professor Dave Min.
(File Photos)

John Moorlach will continue to shoot for his second full term representing the state Senate’s 37th District, but who will challenge him in November appeared too close to call early Wednesday, according to early results of the primary election.

Incumbent Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) had 50% of the vote as of 1:05 a.m., with 27% of precincts reporting. Dave Min (D-Irvine) and Katrina Foley (D-Costa Mesa) were close together with 25.5% and 24.5%, respectively. The two candidates with the most votes in Tuesday’s primary advance to the general election Nov. 3.

The Orange County registrar of voters website projects the next results update at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

The 37th District includes Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Costa Mesa, Irvine, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Tustin, Orange, Villa Park and Anaheim.

Moorlach won his first four-year term as a 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 is 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.

Before Foley became Costa Mesa’s first directly elected mayor in 2018, she 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.

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

Vote percentages for 37th state Senate District candidates (as of 1:05 a.m. Wednesday)
Katrina Foley: 24.5%
Dave Min: 25.5%
John Moorlach (incumbent): 50%

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6:08 a.m. March 4, 2020: This article was originally published at 9 p.m. Tuesday and has been updated with new information.