Nine of the 38th Congressional District's 12 Democratic city council members have endorsed Superior Court Judge David O. Carter for Congress over Assemblyman Richard Robinson (D-Garden Grove), Carter announced Thursday.
However, one of Carter's backers paid a price for the endorsement. Late Thursday, state Senate candidate Sal Sapien's campaign manager quit because of the action.
Dennis de Snoo, president of the Broadway Group of Santa Ana, said that the endorsement by Stanton Mayor Pro Tem Sapien was "not a timely decision" and that "we felt it was more important to focus on his own campaign" for the 32nd District state Senate seat.
In four years of managing candidates, this was the first time he had resigned during a campaign, de Snoo said, but the endorsement was "a major issue."
Might Hurt Campaign
Sapien conceded that the endorsement might hurt his race, possibly by persuading Robinson to work against him and for county school board member Francis Hoffman, his opponent in the June 3 Democratic primary.
Without a campaign manager, "I'm just going to have to reassess my situation," said Sapien, who said he learned of de Snoo's resignation from a reporter. "I don't have a firm decision as to what I'm going to do."
Still, Sapien said he was glad to be supporting Carter whom he described as "a tough, honest man who will be a good representative for us even though he has no experience in legislative matters."
Although most Democratic city council members in the 38th District are backing Carter, the remaining three--Santa Ana Mayor Dan Griset and Santa Ana Councilmen Dan Young and Wilson B. Hart--are firmly for Robinson.
Said Young: "He's been effective in representing the city of Santa Ana and extremely responsive. He's taken my phone calls every time I've placed them. . . . He has significant influence in Sacramento and he's willing to use it on behalf of the city."
Several Carter backers have claimed the reverse--that when they called on Robinson, he ignored them.
"We've had delegations from the community go up to Sacramento and he has been unavailable," said Westminster Councilman Melvin M. Jay.
Garden Grove Councilman Milton Krieger said that when he was in Sacramento with the League of Cities, Robinson was "impossible to corner. He would not make himself available. He focuses on issues of statewide significance and does not do much for local constituencies."
Robinson campaign manager Hope Warschaw called the complaints "ludicrous" and said Robinson must have had scheduling problems.
She then reeled off a long list of local leaders supporting Robinson, including Santa Ana Educators Assn. president Gail King Burney, the Garden Grove Firefighters Assn. and county Treasurer-Tax Collector Robert L. Citron.
Besides Sapien, Jay and Krieger, those endorsing Carter include Anaheim Mayor Pro Tem Irv Pickler, Buena Park Mayor Pro Tem Don R. Griffen, Buena Park Councilwoman Donna Chessen, Cerritos Councilwomen Diana S. Needham and Ann Joynt and Westminster Councilman Edward L. Allen.