SANTA ANA — A rematch of the Gil Ferguson-Ross Johnson GOP slugfest for a state Senate seat and a three-way fight among Republicans in northwest Orange County's 67th Assembly District will be the local highlights of the March 26 primary, according to nominating papers filed by Friday's deadline.
Primaries will also be held in two county supervisorial districts, with the winners taking office if they capture more than 50% of the vote. If no candidate achieves that margin, a runoff will be held Nov. 5 between the top two vote-getters in each district.
For the Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday January 3, 1996 Orange County Edition Metro Part B Page 3 Orange County Focus Desk 1 inches; 32 words Type of Material: Correction
Democratic candidate--The name of Tina Louise Laine, a Democratic candidate for the 47th District congressional seat, was misspelled in a Saturday listing of candidates for congressional, state and supervisorial offices.
A total of 16 candidates have taken out papers for the two races, for which the filing deadline is Wednesday, the same day candidates must submit papers to run in another key race, the 71st Assembly District.
Assemblyman Mickey Conroy (R-Orange) will leave office because of term limits and run for county supervisor, leaving the seat to a field that could include six Republicans and two Democrats.
Once again, primary races will be the real test in GOP-dominated Orange County. And nowhere in the state is there a more bitter rivalry than in the 35th state Senate district, which runs along the coast from Seal Beach past Laguna Beach.
That is where Gil Ferguson, a former 10-year assemblyman from Balboa Island, lost a nasty primary fight in March 1995 to current state Sen. Ross Johnson (R-Irvine) to fill the seat vacated by Marian Bergeson, who became a county supervisor.
The 400,000 voters in the wealthy, staunchly conservative district were treated to a barrage of mailers and hit pieces last time, and many political insiders say they do not expect anything different.
"It's going to be an old-fashioned war," said Dan Woolridge, a Santa Ana political consultant. "Ross Johnson brings credibility and money to the race, but you never count out an old Marine like Gil Ferguson. He's a street fighter with a hard-core cadre of supporters."
Voters only last month recalled Assemblywoman Doris Allen and elected Assemblyman Scott R. Baugh (R-Huntington Beach) to succeed her in northwest Orange County's 67th Assembly District. But two Republican candidates, Cecilia L. Age, a Cypress councilwoman, and Barbara A. Coe of Huntington Beach, a leader of the Proposition 187 campaign, are hoping that the many questions surrounding Baugh's first campaign will doom his reelection.
Baugh is facing an investigation by the Orange County district attorney's office for campaign finance irregularities in last month's special election. The district attorney's office is also probing Baugh's links to the ill-fated candidacy of Democrat Laurie Campbell, who was removed from the ballot by a judge who concluded that she had filed falsified her nomination papers.
"Baugh is very vulnerable," Age said Friday. "As time goes on, I expect even more bad publicity on Scott."
Only one of the county's six incumbent congressmen may confront a potent primary challenge. Rep. Jay C. Kim (R-Diamond Bar) will again face challenger Bob Kerns of Upland, who received 19% of the vote in the 1994 primary against Kim.
Kim's tenure has been marked by an ongoing federal probe into alleged financial irregularities during his first campaign for Congress in 1992. Hyundai Motor America and Korean Airlines were recently fined for making illegal contributions to his campaign. No charges have been filed against Kim.
County Democrats are fielding four candidates in the primary in the 46th District, home of Rep. Robert K. Dornan (R-Garden Grove).
"It's an interesting cross-section of people," said Jim Toledano, chairman of the county Democratic Party. "Each one will give voters a somewhat different take on what the Democrats stand for."
Candidates Mike Farber and Jim Prince are considered the favorites to meet Dornan in the November general election.
Final word on the candidates for the seats held by Supervisors Donald Saltarelli and Roger R. Stanton will come Wednesday, the deadline to file for races in which no incumbent is running.
Seven candidates have taken out nominating papers for Stanton's 1st District seat. The favorites include Garden Grove Councilman Mark Leyes, Westminster Mayor Charles V. Smith and Fountain Valley Mayor George B. Scott.
As many as nine people could run for Saltarelli's 3rd District seat, including Conroy, the favorite, and college trustee Charles W. "Pete" Maddox, political activist Bruce Whitaker of Fullerton, Lake Forest Councilwoman Helen Wilson and Mission Viejo Councilwoman Susan Withrow.
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Set to Run
Orange County candidates for congressional, state and supervisorial offices:
Incumbent: Rep. Ed Royce (R-Fullerton) running for reelection
Challengers: R.O. "Bob" Davis (Buena Park), Democrat; Jack Dean (Fullerton), Libertarian
Incumbent: Rep. Jay C. Kim (R-Diamond Bar) running for reelection
Challengers: Richard L. Waldron (Anaheim), Democrat; Bob Kerns (Upland), Republican; Richard G. Newhouse (Garden Grove), Libertarian