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Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley kicks off virtual campaign for O.C. supervisor seat

A virtual campaign kickoff held by Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley
Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley, who’s announced she will run for the 2nd District seat on the Orange County Board of Supervisors, presides over a virtual campaign kickoff Saturday.
(Screenshot by Sara Cardine)

With a special election for an open seat on the Orange County Board of Supervisors set for March 9, one hopeful — Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley — wasted no time pressing virtual flesh Saturday in an online campaign kickoff.

Supporters, volunteers and friends of the Democratic candidate gathered in a video conference call to learn what Foley has in store in the 60 days leading up to the election and her plans for the county if the campaign succeeds.

The recently reelected mayor took a moment to recognize riots Wednesday in Washington, D.C., in which five people were killed as a mob breached the U.S. Capitol, and the election Tuesday of U.S. senators Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff in Georgia that gave Democrats a potential advantage in Congress.

“America was under siege this weekend. We all survived, but we have much more work to do,” she told a video crowd of nearly 150 people. “Now, we have to turn to Orange County — we have to galvanize more people.”

Foley vowed to support organized labor and described her priorities in office would be overseeing COVID-19 vaccine distribution, getting businesses back up and running and protecting public employees and essential workers, in part, by continuing to support mask wearing in public.

Mayor Katrina Foley in front of Costa Mesa City Hall.
Mayor Katrina Foley announced in December her plan to run for an open seat on the Orange County Board of Supervisors. With a special election set for March 9, Foley Saturday kicked off her campaign.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

She said she’d also side with teachers on education and mental health issues, work with cities to reduce homelessness and focus on creating a climate action plan to reduce greenhouse emissions.

Those views would place her in a minority on the five-person board, whose remaining members favor the Republican party 3 to 1. Undaunted, Foley said Saturday the county is due for a change.

“We cannot forget all the people who are suffering right now from poor leadership, from the very top all the way down to the county,” she said. “We need better leadership.”

Foley is one of three candidates who’ve taken initial steps in filing with the Orange County Registrar of Voters to fill the 2nd Supervisorial District seat left vacant by Michelle Steel who now represents California’s 48th District in U.S. House of Representatives.

“Three of five is the magic number and you can’t get to three until you get to two. Katrina’s election is our Georgia.”

State Sen. Josh Newman (D-Fullerton)

Former state Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa), who lost a reelection bid in November but previously served as a 2nd District supervisor from 2006 to 2015, publicly announced his candidacy in November and pulled candidate papers on Jan. 6.

Huntington Beach Councilman Mike Posey has announced his intentions to run but has yet to take action, while an online candidate filing log maintained by the Registrar of Voters lists another candidate, Janet Rappaport.

Several Democratic lawmakers vowed to support Foley’s candidacy Saturday, including Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (D- Laguna Beach), state Sen. Josh Newman (D-Fullerton) and state Sen. Dave Min (D-Irvine), who unseated Moorlach in the Nov. 3 election.

Petrie-Norris said the stakes of the March 9 special election will be incredibly high, given what she called the board’s “deep failure” during the coronavirus pandemic.

“They have politicized this pandemic. They have jeopardized public health, and they have deepened this crisis for workers, for families and small businesses across the county,” she said. “It is time for a change — Katrina Foley is the right leader to elect to the board right now.”

A virtual campaign kickoff for Katrina Foley's bid for a seat on the O.C. Board of Supervisors.
About 150 people tuned in Saturday for a virtual campaign kickoff supporting Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley’s bid for a seat on the O.C. Board of Supervisors.
(Screenshot by Sara Cardine)

Min said a vote for Moorlach would further the board’s radicalized, anti-science agenda, while Newman shared his hope Foley’s election could help Orange County Democrats make further inroads in an erstwhile GOP stronghold.

“There are five people on the board, and who those five people are makes a huge difference, especially on the most important issues of our time,” Newman said. “Three of five is the magic number and you can’t get to three until you get to two. Katrina’s election is our Georgia.”

The hour-long kickoff raised more than $9,300 for Foley’s campaign, while volunteers eagerly signed up for volunteer phone- and text-banking shifts in the months ahead.

“It’s an incredible time in Orange County,” Foley told supporters. “There’s so much work to do, and I am ready to do the work.”

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