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Tea Party On!

The county's GOP central committee is in hot water with the tea party movement

Many of the new candidates say they can make up for their inexperience with enthusiasm and principles. Mike Munzing, a 46-year-old mortgage broker from Aliso Viejo running for central committee, says he has loved shaking hands and passing out stickers at rallies and meetings over the past few months. Blond, chipper and friendly, he admits that he’s not yet “100 percent” on what the central committee actually does, but, he says, he knows he’ll be able to serve the party well by bringing in some honesty. He talks giddily of his “I Like Mike” campaign slogan and the idea of returning the country to the idyllic 1950s. “We’re just a bunch of people who grew up loving Leave It to Beaver,” he says of the tea party. “We’re not an angry mob.”

Central committee member Tim Whitacre says the tea party is shaking things up—in a good way. He has little doubt that there’ll be a few new faces sitting on the committee after the election. “The pressure they’re bringing to bear is fantastic,” Whitacre says of the grumbling tea partiers. “It’s a good thing because it brings transparency.”

As for Baugh, he’s glad to see the new energy. He understands it’s part of an anti-establishment wave sweeping the country, but, he says, he’s not worried about what may happen come June.

Tea-party central committee candidate Mike Munzing of Aliso Viejo
Christopher Victorio
Tea-party central committee candidate Mike Munzing of Aliso Viejo

“There’s a remnant that wants to get rid of incumbents everywhere,” Baugh says. “The question is making a distinction between incumbents who have ignored the voice of the people and incumbents who are trying to make it better. And incumbents who have ignored the voice of the people should be thrown out.”

skornhaber@ocweekly.com

This article appeared in print as "A New Tea Leaf: The Orange County GOP Central Committee is in hot water with local tea party activists."

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