Given the desperation of the Republicans to prevent another Democratic supermajority in the California Assembly, it is remarkable how weak a candidate they have fielded in their effort to unseat 65th Assembly Member Sharon Quirk-Silva. With virtually no pedigree other than two decades as an aide to Congressman-for-life Ed Royce, Jr., Young Kim is evidently the best thing the GOP could come up with to challenge the former Fullerton Councilmember and Mayor. One has to wonder how, with all of their resources, the Republicans couldn’t find an experienced local elected official to back in such a crucial election. Instead, the power of the Ed Royce, in a move reminiscent of George W. Bush nominating Harriet Meirs to the Supreme Court, has thrust forth an unknown and inexperienced political insider—and somehow it has become a head-to-head race anyway.
Sharon Quirk-Silva has become something like the Barack Obama of her district. Without being anything close to a progressive left wing legislator, she is nonetheless intensely disliked by conservatives. Her surprise upset of incumbent Chris Norby was no doubt helped by cross over Republicans who didn’t mind seeing the former County Supervisor and Fullerton Mayor and Councilmember sent packing after achieving his ultimate political goal of ending Redevelopment in California. But now, with Mr. Norby safely gone, Republicans can throw out Ms. Quirk-Silva in favor of a nobody with nothing to say in the form of Young Kim.
It’s not a good idea to side with political mailers, but the Quirk-Silva campaign has it right to point out that Young Kim claims to be a businesswoman, but has no income from her consulting “business,” and that she “moved into” the district to run here, having previously resided in La Habra. Carpetbagging is its own special form of insincerity, but some voters just look the other way sometimes, even when it is obvious that the candidate doesn’t really even live in the new home they claim as their residence (think Linda Ackerman in 2009).
I know many Republicans, and it is hard for me to imagine most of them having much enthusiasm for Young Kim or her hollow, predictable campaign rhetoric. It is not hard for me to imagine them voting for her, though, because, above all, she is not Sharon Quirk-Silva, the Democrat, who capitalized on the last redrawing of Assembly districts that created a 65th with roughly even numbers of Republican and Democrats, and enough of the ever-growing “Decline to State” voters to narrowly swing things her way in 2012.
Young Kim’s strategy has been to attack Sharon Quirk-Silva for supposedly threatening Proposition 13, the sacred cow of California politics that created a terribly uneven property tax structure for homeowners, and for voting in favor of a bill that allowed children to choose the school bathroom they wanted to use based on their self-identified gender. When you have nothing to say, say it as often as possible and hope it sounds like something, or so I assume is the tactic of the Young Kim campaign’s repetitive mailers, which have spawned endless counter-mailers from the Quirk-Silva camp. The Rag household received a record eleven in a single day. Honestly, it’s tiresome to even write about a campaign so void of character and meaning when there are so many important things a real candidate should be saying at a time like this.