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Primary Candidates Hurry to Beat Deadline : Politics: Much of the talk focuses on who isn't running as filing period ends. Several Republicans drop out for sake of party unity, while 1994 offers Democrats 'hope for upsets,' official says.

March 12, 1994|GEBE MARTINEZ | TIMES POLITICAL WRITER

SANTA ANA — Candidates seeking to run in the June 7 primary rushed to beat Friday's filing deadline, but the talk among political watchers centered more on those who decided not to run.

Fearing the outbreak of intraparty squabbles in two Assembly races, several Republican candidates withdrew Friday, the filing deadline for candidates seeking local, state and congressional races.

Orange County GOP Chairman Thomas Fuentes lauded the candidates for setting aside their own political ambitions for the sake of "party unity."

For county Democrats, 1994 offers the "hope for upsets," Orange County Democratic Party Chairwoman Dorianne Garcia predicted. "We have a wonderful set of candidates this year," she said.

The Democrats' quest to expand their political base is most evident in the 46th Congressional District in central Orange County, where six Democrats have lined up to take on the incumbent, Rep. Robert K. Dornan (R-Garden Grove).

But Dornan was one of three of the county's Republican congressmen who will not face any opposition in the primary.

The other two are Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach), who drew only one Democratic opponent, and Rep. Ed Royce (R-Fullerton), who will face a Democrat and a Libertarian in the November general election.

The incumbent Republican drawing the most opponents in the June 7 primary was freshman Rep. Jay C. Kim (R-Diamond Bar), who is under federal investigation for alleged campaign finance irregularities during his first election in 1992. Four Republican challengers signed up for the primary. The Democratic primary drew one candidate.

But most of the attention was focused on the 70th Assembly District seat being vacated by Assemblyman Gil Ferguson (R-Newport Beach).

Republican power brokers met with some of the candidates in recent days to whittle down their number in an attempt to diminish the risk of losing the nomination to a moderate Republican. Their efforts proved successful when three previously announced candidates--attorney Phillip B. Greer, business owner Scott McDougle, and attorney Bruce Peotter--abandoned the race.

Those Republicans remaining in the hunt include Marilyn C. Brewer, a businesswoman who also serves as an aide for Supervisor Thomas F. Riley; Irvine Councilman Barry J. Hammond, who picked up additional political endorsements as Greer left the race; and Newport Beach attorney Thomas G. Reinecke.

"It's important there be a unified and joint effort for the sake of the nomination of conservative candidates," Fuentes said. "I think there will be a very clear choice of liberal versus conservative candidates" in the Republican primary.

State Sen. Rob Hurtt (R-Garden Grove), who was among those trying to talk candidates out of running, said: "There was a consensus that some of the people were spinning their wheels and it didn't make a lot of sense for them to be in the race."

Greer's short-lived candidacy had drawn significant financial and political backing but became a lightening rod of controversy among conservatives. He said in a prepared statement that he withdrew out of concern the conservatives would split the vote and allow "a moderate or even liberal Republican to win the nomination. I could not allow that to happen."

Peotter echoed the sentiment. "I don't feel that the conservative vote should get split and allow someone who's not conservative to win," he said.

The conservative Republicans' target is Brewer, who describes herself as the "only conservative mainstream Republican" in the race. She was the founding president of a bipartisan political group designed to help female candidates in local and state races.

In the 69th Assembly District in central Orange County, a heavily minority area where the Republican Party hopes to take away the only legislative seat now held by an Orange County Democrat, Santa Ana school board member Rosemarie Avila did not return her nomination papers. She had been the only Latina seeking the Republican nomination.

Friday would have been the filing deadline for three seats up for election on the Board of Supervisors. But with two incumbents choosing not to seek reelection, the deadline for those two seats was extended until Wednesday.

Of the three supervisorial races, the most competitive contest is the 2nd District seat being vacated by Supervisor Harriett M. Wieder. Businesswoman Haydee Tillotson and Huntington Beach City Council members Linda Moulton-Patterson and Jim Silva are widely considered the main contenders.

Wieder, the first woman to serve on the Board of Supervisors, is retiring in January after 16 years on the board.

In the 5th Supervisorial District, state Sen. Marian Bergeson (R-Newport Beach) was the first to announce her candidacy to succeed Riley, who is retiring. Bergeson so far is the only candidate seeking the seat.

In other races:

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