Jose Solorio, Union-Friendly Democrat, Accuses GOP Foe Janet Nguyen of Being Union Friendly

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Former Assemblyman Jose Solorio (D-Santa Ana), a longtime friend of labor unions, is taunting his Republican opponent for state Senate, Orange County Supervisor Janet Nguyen, for snuggling up to a union. Wait ... what?

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I mean, if Solorio owes part of his long political career to donations from unions and union members, how can he take a swipe at the $4,000 his 34th Senate District opponent Nguyen accepted from the Santa Ana and Orange County Professional Firefighters Association political action committee?

Because it's not that Nguyen has opened a channel of influence from a union, Solorio would note, but because taking any union money--and most especially government employee union money--is a big no-no to Orange County Republican power brokers.

Just ask Wendy Leece, the Costa Mesa city councilwoman, who went from conservative darling to target in 2010. After receiving the OC GOP Central Committee endorsement for reelection, Leece voted in October of that year for pay and benefits hikes for city workers even though her fellow GOP council members had been claiming employee pensions would swallow up the city budget. The next day, the Costa Mesa Police Officers Association spent $12,122.72 on slate mailers for Leece.

As Leece was winning her race that election night, Nguyen's dais-mate, Supervisor John Moorlach, a longtime hard-right Republican out of Costa Mesa, said on live television that the campaign against Leece ever winning office again had begun.

They actually have a name for the doctrine that forbids giving into government worker union demands: "The Baugh Manifesto," in honor of OC GOP Chairman Scott Baugh.

Enter Solorio, who recently told City News Service: "I saw my Republican opponent interview right after I did with the Orange County Professional firefighters, Union Local 3631, on Wednesday, April 9, at 9:30 a.m. They've provided financial support for my Senate race in the past, but I guess my opponent was also able to make the case she'd also be a good labor vote for their members.''

Dave Gilliard, Nguyen's spokesman, brushed off the criticism.

"Janet Nguyen is proud to have the support of men and women who risk their lives keeping the communities she represents safe,'' he told the news service. "The fact that groups such as these support Janet demonstrates her political strength as the only Republican candidate who can defeat Jose Solorio and break the Democrats' super-majority in the state Senate."

Ah, no wonder Solorio's pissed.

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!


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