The secretary of state's office ruled Thursday that former Assembly Speaker Doris Allen is ineligible because of term limits to run for her former seat in Orange County.
Allen, who filed a candidacy declaration late Wednesday and paid a $786 filing fee, said she will challenge the ruling in court for the right to run for the 67th Assembly District seat she lost after a contentious November 1995 recall campaign.
For the Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday February 8, 1998 Orange County Edition Part A Page 3 Metro Desk 2 inches; 62 words Type of Material: Correction
67th Assembly District--A story Friday about former Assembly Speaker Doris Allen's attempts to enter the June primary in the 67th Assembly District contained an erroneous headline. The secretary of state's office ruled that Allen was ineligible to run because of term limits. The story also inadvertently left out the name of one candidate. Longtime Democratic activist Marie Fennell of Huntington Beach filed a declaration of intent to run.
"I believe I can serve another term," Allen said from Sacramento, where she moved after selling her Cypress home in 1996 to pay debts accumulated during the recall race. She registered to vote Tuesday at an address in Westminster.
The state Republican Party launched the recall against her after Allen joined with Democrats to keep the GOP majority from controlling the Assembly. In exchange, Democrats backed her for speaker.
The state's term-limit law, passed in 1990, restricts members of the Assembly to three two-year terms. Allen was less than halfway through her third term when she was recalled on Nov. 28, 1995.
Secretary of State Bill Jones' office said the state Constitution is specific that a term is counted when a legislator takes office. The only exception is when a member is elected more than halfway through an existing term, spokeswoman Shirley Washington said. In that case, the member can serve three more terms.
Allen was replaced by Scott Baugh (R-Huntington Beach). He faces charges of misreporting campaign funds and is set to go on trial six days after this year's June primary. Four GOP aides working in his 1995 election campaign and the Allen recall were convicted of illegal activities that helped a spoiler Democrat to qualify for the race. That candidate, a friend of Baugh's, was later removed from the ballot by a judge.
Baugh said Thursday that he would not fight an attempt by Allen to be placed on the ballot and noted that 65% of the voters cast ballots for her recall.
"Doris' best argument is, 'I'm not termed out because I was thrown out of office,' " Baugh said. "Being recalled is a harsh reality for her to face. I wouldn't raise a hand to stop her frivolous complaint to the court. We'd welcome an opportunity to beat her again even if she were on the ballot."
If Allen prevails, six Republicans would be on the ballot for the June primary: herself; Baugh; Huntington Beach businesswoman Haydee Tillotson, who also ran in the Allen recall election; Seal Beach Mayor Marilyn Bruce Hastings; Orange County Board of Education member Felix Rocha Jr. of Fountain Valley; and first-time candidate Charles Conlosh of Fountain Valley.
Democrats who have filed primary candidacy declarations for the Assembly seat are Rima Nashashibi, a member of the county central committee, and Joseph E. Ribal of Seal Beach. Libertarian Autumn Browne of Westminster has also filed. Candidates may begin collecting nomination signatures Monday and have until March 6 to return them to qualify for the ballot.
Among the flood of candidates declaring for the state ballot this week was Democrat Gail Farber, the wife of two-time unsuccessful congressional candidate Michael Farber. Defeated by then-Rep. Robert K. Dornan (R-Garden Grove) in 1994, he lost the Democratic nomination to Loretta Sanchez in 1996.
Gail Farber, chief of engineering services with Caltrans in Orange County, took out nomination papers to run for the 69th Assembly district seat now held by Jim Morrissey (R-Santa Ana). Also running is Democrat Lou Correa, who lost to Morrissey by just 93 votes in 1996.
Correa, a lawyer, was in Sacramento on Thursday to speak with legislative leaders and lobbyists about his campaign. He said he welcomed the challenge and added: "I was outspent last time by hundreds of thousands of dollars and came within 93 votes. That ought to tell people I am a viable candidate."
Others filing candidacy papers in the central-county Assembly district were Libertarian Bolynda Schultz of Santa Ana and Reform Party candidate Jim Benson, a businessman from Anaheim.
Also facing an intraparty challenge in June could be Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach). Republican college professor Charmayne Bohman and Long K. Pham, owner of an engineering company in Newport Beach, have taken out papers to run against the four-term conservative.
Bohman, the better known of the two, is a teacher and administrator at Cal State Dominguez Hills. She formerly served on the Huntington Beach City Council and the high school district board. She has hired GOP consultant Eileen Padberg to run her campaign.
Pham finished last in a field of eight in a 1995 special election won by state Sen. Ross Johnson (R-Irvine).