Mission Viejo City Councilman Ed Sachs, seen here at a previous Memorial Day event in Mission Viejo, has joined the 73rd State Assembly District race. (Joshua Sudock, File Photo)
With accusations of sexual misconduct swirling around GOP incumbent Bill Brough, another familiar Republican just entered the 2020 race for the 73rd State Assembly District race.
And Mission Viejo Councilman Ed Sachs’ first touted endorsement? Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, who last month accused Brough of making aggressive, unwanted sexual advances toward her in 2011 — accusations Brough denies.
Sachs ran against Brough in 2018, garnering just 13.5 percent of the vote during the June primary. But Sachs told the Register on Monday that he put his name on the ballot last year only as a “stop gap,” so there would be a GOP contender for voters to choose in case news broke that might dent Brough’s re-election chances. When no such news became public, Sachs said he dropped his campaign. State records confirm he reported zero fundraising for the 2018 cycle.
But when Bartlett and three other women said last month that Brough had approached them in ways that made them uncomfortable in recent years — and that they had sought investigations of those incidents — Sachs decided he should be his party’s alternative candidate.
“Since a number of accusations have come out, I think it’s time for someone to run who can handle the position and doesn’t have some of the issues and problems that the current assemblyman has been running up against.”
Brough, R-Dana Point, has said all of the accusations against him are politically motivated. While complaints have been filed, no charges or sanctions have been brought against him. He declined to respond Monday to Sachs’ comments.
Brough is serving his third term representing CA-73, which covers south Orange County from Rancho Santa Margarita down to San Clemente. The former Dana Point council member first won the seat in 2014, with 67.9 percent of the vote. In 2018, he beat Democrat Scott Rhinehart in the general election with 56.2 percent of the vote.
Rhinehart is already running for the 2020 election. The only Democrat so far in the CA-73 race, he’s campaigning to stop offshore drilling, remove nuclear waste from San Onofre and create Medicare for all.
Sachs, who served in the Navy during Vietnam and retired in 2009 as president of Pioneer Electronics-USA, said he’s running to address pension reform and to steer funds away from causes that “waste money,” which he believes includes legislation aimed at tackling global warming. Instead, the two-term Mission Viejo councilman wants more money to help with homelessness and other issues that he said directly touch county residents.
Because California’s so-called “jungle primary” voting system sends the top two vote getters from June to the general election in November, regardless of party, there’s a chance Brough and Sachs could face off in November 2020 if both finish ahead of Rhinehart or some other challengers.
The district, which covers much of south Orange County, is still decidedly red. While the GOP now holds only a fractional 0.1 percentage point edge over Democrats overall in Orange County, the party’s edge in AD-73 is 13.5 points — down from 13.7 points three weeks ago.
The Republican Party of Orange County has not endorsed Brough this cycle, though it’s possible an endorsement could come later. At least one party heavyweight, former assemblyman and county GOP chair Scott Baugh, has already thrown his support behind Sachs.