Wu: Battle of the campaign press releases

This past week has been the week of 74th Assembly District press releases, and with each passing one, I couldn't help but laugh.

This really is "silly season."

So I'll start with the gift that keeps on giving, Republican Leslie Daigle's announcement in a freakishly long press release that fellow Newport Beach Councilman Rush Hill endorsed her.

First, I wanted to address Hill and his insistence to insert his connection with his former mentor and former boss, at one point saying, "Her instincts are consistently conservative, but her approach to problem solving is open, constructive, creative and collegial," and, "In that respect, she reminds me of the best qualities of Ronald Reagan."

Wow, right? Are those shivers running through my body the end result of my month-long flu?

Hill then continues to discuss his own 2010 City Council run (an interesting thing to do in another person's Assembly race press release) and goes on to criticize Republican Party of Orange County Chairman Scott Baugh for backing Hill's opponent, Ed Reno.

I guess he gets so caught up in the Daigle-Reagan comparison that he forgot Reagan's 11th Commandment, "Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican."

Anyway, after Daigle's press release, very predictably, came Democrat Bob Rush's press release accusing everyone of being sleazy, although he did bring up a very interesting point that some members of the Newport council were cited by the California Fair Political Practices Commission.

In the past year, Daigle and Newport Beach City Councilmen Rush Hill and Steve Rosansky and Leslie Daigle have all been probed and issued FPPC letters of violation by the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) for violating a state ethics law that bars officials from voting themselves onto paid boards or committees. The law has since been changed, mind you, but letters of violations were still issued under the old code, apparently violated unknowingly.

Endorsements can be tricky. The members of the Newport Beach City Council who have endorsed Daigle are Hill, Henn and Rosansky, but Daigle does not enjoy universal support.

Mayor Nancy Gardner, Mayor Pro Tem Keith Curry and Councilman Ed Selich — none of whom were cited or investigated by the FPPC — are not publicly backing her. They aren't backing her opponents — Rush or Assemblyman Allan Mansoor (R-Costa Mesa) — either for the matter.

When asked why they would not be endorsing Daigle, Curry wrote in an email, "I consider all three candidates to be friends and have told them all I will not be endorsing."

Gardner, a former Green Party member, responded that she would never consider endorsing a Republican, and pointed out that she is not backing Rush either.

Selich told me that he was going to stay neutral.

And speaking of endorsements, by reading the headline of Daigle's Sunday's column (which the newspaper adapted from a recent campaign speech) in the Daily Pilot, "I run in the tradition of Bergeson, Brewer," you would have thought that in order to bring up the names of such highly esteemed, and still very much alive, former state Assembly members, that both would be endorsing Daigle, right?

Well, this seemed to also make O.C. Register columnist Barbara Venezia — who six years ago ran for council against Daigle but withdrew from the race — a bit curious too, as she actually asked both Marian Bergeson and Marilyn Brewer about being mentioned in a Daigle fluff piece.

Bergeson echoed her support for Daigle, while saying that her race would be very difficult to compare anyone's against, especially since her 1978 opponent "…claimed he had proof Bergeson had been a prostitute in Texas." Bergeson had not even been to Texas at the time.

Yeah, as ugly as this race has gotten, I cannot even imagine anyone being called a hooker.

But it was Brewer's response that made Daigle's inclusion of her in her published speech puzzling.

Not only is Brewer not going to endorse Daigle, but she appears to be hinting at a Rush endorsement, saying, "Just maybe ... in today's environment ... a smart, middle-of-the-road Democrat can better serve the district."

So Daigle tries to compare her campaign to that of Brewer's, who isn't even supporting her.

Can't wait to see next week's press releases …

JACK WU is an accountant who lives in Newport Beach and practices in Costa Mesa. He is a longtime Republican Party loyalist and a volunteer campaign treasurer for Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa). His column runs Sundays on the Daily Pilot Forum page. He can be reached at jack@wubell.com.

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