Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley casts eyes on open Orange County Board of Supervisors seat

Mayor Katrina Foley in front of Costa Mesa City Hall.
Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley announced Thursday she’ll run for the District 2 seat on the Board of Supervisors, soon to be vacated by Michelle Steel.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley has announced she will run for an open seat on the Orange County Board of Supervisors soon to be vacated by Chairwoman Michelle Steel, who won a congressional seat in the November election.

Foley’s move comes one month after she was reelected to a second term on the Costa Mesa City Council, earning 52.2% of the vote in a race against four other contenders. Two years prior, she made local history as the city’s first-ever elected mayor.

Now, Foley will shift gears once more as she campaigns for a seat representing the county’s 2nd Supervisorial District, which includes Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, Fountain Valley and Newport Beach, among other cities.

Foley said she’d originally planned to term out as mayor in 2022, then run for Steel’s seat when the Surfside resident would also be terming out.

But when Republican Steel edged out incumbent U.S. Rep Harley Rouda (D-Laguna Beach) in the race for the 48th Congressional District, the Costa Mesa mayor decided it was time to act.

“What I’ve learned in 2020 is that you have to be flexible, adaptable and able to pivot,” Foley said in an interview Thursday. “I feel like I’m prepared for this moment in time to lead Orange County well as a supervisor and support my colleagues on the Costa Mesa City Council to continue the good work we’ve begun.”

Although the Board of Supervisors has yet to call for a special election, which determines the period during which candidates can file to run for office, a handful of candidates have expressed interest in the District 2 seat.

State Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) — a former District 2 supervisor from 2006 to 2015 who just lost a bid for reelection in the 37th District to Democrat Dave Min — recently announced he would run.

Huntington Beach Republican Councilman Mike Posey and fellow GOP candidate Kevin Muldoon, a Newport Beach city councilman, also plan to throw their hats in the ring.

A Democrat, Foley supported Rouda’s 2018 bid for Congress and has appeared alongside the politician at numerous events.

Though she would be a political minority in a five-member supervisorial board occupied by four Republicans, including three members of Orange County Republican’s Central Committee, Foley said Thursday she didn’t see the office as a partisan one.

“It’s not about a D or an R behind your name,” said Foley, 53. “It’s about who’s the best qualified, who has a proven track record of actually doing work that benefits the community and who’s going to roll up their sleeves and make it about people and businesses and not about politics.”

In a release issued Thursday, Foley said she would help guide Orange County residents and businesses through the coronavirus pandemic with a science-based approach and common-sense solutions.

“The status quo within county government is no longer good enough,” she said in the statement.

An attorney and president of the Foley Group, PLC, Foley has served on the Costa Mesa City Council for 14 years and previously served on the Newport-Mesa Unified School District board of trustees.

She cited her role in responding to the pandemic by securing emergency financial assistance and loans for small businesses and her ability to build relationships at all levels of governance as attributes she would bring to bear at the county level as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations climb.

“We need to have people in that role who have relationships at the city, county, state and federal level who can help secure funding and help our county come out of this pandemic successfully,” she said.

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