Jeff LeTourneau's Grassroots Revival

The legendary LGBT activist hopes to become chairman of the Democratic Party of Orange County

Barbaro, on the other hand, always made it a point to have dinner with GOP chairman Scott Baugh on election night.

Outside of party politics, whoever ends up replacing Barbaro has a formidable challenge in front of them. Besides the state senate, assembly and congressional districts that roughly cover Santa Ana, Anaheim, Fullerton and Garden Grove, as well as Santa Ana's city council and school board, the Democrats have failed miserably at recruiting viable candidates, as Republicans continue to hold the vast majority of elected positions in Orange County. Part of the problem, LeTourneau feels, is a lack of outreach by the Democratic Party outside its traditional constituencies. "Those groups that have stood on the outside, it's time to let them in and tell them, 'This isn't something that ignores you, but something that needs your voice,'" he says. As chairman, LeTourneau says, he'll push for standing committees "that have gender and racial equity. You're putting a face on the party that's reflective of the county as a whole, and now more people will be inspired to vote and run for office. It's not rocket science—it really isn't. It's just basic community organizing."

Democratic Party delegates for each assembly district will convene Jan. 28 at the Carpenter's Union Local 2361 Hall in Orange to vote for either Vandermeir or LeTourneau, and LeTourneau feels confident he'll claim victory. He'll spend the coming weeks meeting activists and bigwigs alike.

LeTourneau: Ready to work
John Gilhooley
LeTourneau: Ready to work

"We [the Democratic Party of Orange County leadership] can be a tool of reform that has never been seen before," LeTourneau concludes. "And now is the time."

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I've had the distinction of working side-by-side with Jeff for nearly a decade.  You couldn't ask for a better man.  I wish him all the best!

paullucas714 topcommenter

Jeff Letourneau is the best choice for this position. hnery V is a good guy and good activist. But the leadership of the County Party needs the experience skills and reach that Jeff has in spades over the challenger. Jeff is a principled hard working true blue Activist that always puts principles over personalities. He has the fund raising acumen, the campaign experience, the networks in Sacramento and Washington DC, as well as all over the nation that is going to be instrumental in gaining Democratic victories in the OC and in California. Bar none, Jeff Letourneau is the best choice for the Chairmanship of the DPOC.


The DPOC is blessed in having two strong candidates for Chair -- especially ones with complementary skills.  With luck, they'll both be deeply involved in our leadership team, along with Nick Anas, this term.  Henry is a visionary when it comes to electoral strategy and tactics; Jeff excels at the sorts of tasks -- from fundraising to managing internal factions and beyond -- that are the major parts of a Chair's job.  It's going to be a great year.

One small correction: Tom Daly did not "narrowly" win AD-69.  He finished the primary in a solid first place.  Jose (not "Dr. Jose") Moreno narrowly won the second spot in the Top-Two primary over Julio Perez, after Republican PACs funded by Chevron, Philip Morris, and their ilk spent a million bucks battering the union and consumer activist Perez, whose absence from the legislature was their primary goal.  Moreno was not competitive in the general election.


Perez had no business running for the 69th.  He should have gotten elected to a city council or a school board first.  He is the main reason we are now stuck with Daly.  In two years I expect a legitimate Latino Democrat will take out Daly.  That cannot happen soon enough.  As for Perez, I hear he is done running for office but I would love to see him run for an office he can win, such as the Anaheim City Council. 


(The latter is in reference to your sentence "And in a move that infuriated labor groups—long the financial lifeblood of the party—Barbaro pushed for the party endorsement of county Clerk-Recorder Tom Daly over labor activist Julio Perez in the spring primary for the 69th Assembly District; Daly won by a slim margin."  I should not have put "narrowly" in quotes.)

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