County GOP chairman to endorse Mansoor

Orange County Republican Party Chairman Scott Baugh plans to ask the party on Monday to endorse state Assemblyman Allan Mansoor in the upcoming state Assembly race.

Mansoor (R-Costa Mesa) faces two Republicans: Newport Beach Councilwoman Leslie Daigle and Keith Carlson, the former treasurer of the California Republican Party.

While the party often endorses incumbents, this election is unusual because the district lines were recently redrawn, and the new 74th District is substantially different from Mansoor’s existing territory.

The new district spreads across Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Irvine and Laguna Beach.

Daigle and Carlson have both criticized the move, saying Mansoor, a former Costa Mesa mayor, should not be considered an incumbent.

“It doesn’t change our policy,” Baugh said Thursday. “We have a long tradition of endorsing our Republicans who are in good standing.”

Baugh pointed to Mansoor’s vote to end the state’s redevelopment agencies and his position for public employee pension reform as additional reasons for support.

This election will be held under a new open primary law, which will advance the two top vote-winners, regardless of party affiliation. So far, no Democrats have indicated that they plan to enter the race.

Daigle argued that the GOP endorsement is a move to infuse cash into Mansoor’s campaign, which, as of mid-2011, was in debt about $22,000.

“It enables entrenched interests to contribute to the party, without the same disclosure as contributing to the campaign,” she said.

Conversely, Mansoor said the likely endorsement shows his opposition to special interests.

“The special interests have run California into the ground, and since I won’t take their support, they’ve recruited Leslie,” he said.

Carlson said he was surprised by the move. The county party’s central committee plans to meet Monday, and he heard about it less than a week ago.

“It seems premature for the central committee to endorse when we don’t even know who all the competitors are,” Carlson said.

Both Daigle and Carlson contend that state Republican Party rules prohibits county committees from endorsing in primaries, but Baugh contests that claim.

Twitter: @mreicher