Mayor Jim Beam of Orange said Monday that he will form a committee later this week to seek support for a campaign for the 4th District seat held by Orange County Supervisor Ralph Clark.
Beam, 51, said he is convinced that Clark will not seek reelection next year. Clark has been linked to former fireworks magnate W. Patrick Moriarty, who recently agreed to become a federal government witness after pleading guilty to a variety of corruption charges.
Moriarty allegedly provided prostitutes to several politicians, including Clark, according to authoritative sources including people who say they were present on occasions when prostitutes were provided. Clark has denied the allegation.
Clark Says He'll Run
"I'm convinced that Ralph Clark will not be a candidate," Beam said Monday. Referring to the investigations involving Moriarty, Beam said, "In order to be perfectly honest, I'd have to say that, sure, that's one of the considerations" in deciding to form an election committee.
Clark, 67, said Monday that he will run for re-election.
Clark added, "I've known and worked with Jim Beam for many years. I like him and I have a lot of respect for him. However, I won this seat four times in the past and I'm proud of my record on behalf of residents in the 4th District. So I expect to continue my winning ways in 1986."
Clark also said of Beam: "He assured me that he wasn't going to be running against me, but that (mounting a challenge) is his prerogative. It's a free world."
A Beam-Clark contest would be the first serious election battle for a board seat since 1980, when Roger Stanton, then a Fountain Valley councilman, won an upset victory over incumbent Phil Anthony, who had been indicted on charges of laundering campaign money. Anthony outraised and outspent Stanton 30 to 1.
Joined Board in '71
There have been few serious challenges to incumbent supervisors in recent years, partly because the incumbents have been able to build up big war chests that discourage opposition.
Clark, a Democrat, is a former Anaheim mayor who joined the board in 1971.
Beam amassed more than $75,000 last year in a lackluster City Council contest in which he outpolled his three opponents combined. He raised more money than any council candidate in the county. Beam admitted at that time that he had his sights set on higher office.
Beam is a Republican Party activist who lost a 1974 Assembly primary race to Bruce Nestande. Nestande is now a county supervisor.
A City Council member for the past nine years, Beam is also former executive director of the Orange County Building Industry Assn.