Scott Baugh, Orange County Republican Party Chairman, To Run For California State Senate?
When the band stops playing next in Orange County's continual musical chairs game, Irvine-based state Senator Mimi Walters will probably replace retiring Congressman John Campbell.
That concept isn't new, but look at who might want to plop down in Walters' warm seat: Scott R. Baugh, veteran chairman of the Orange County Republican Party and a onetime Republican Assembly Leader.
Baugh, a successful attorney and Newport Beach lobbyist, told me tonight he's considering a run but announcing a campaign now "is premature."
Multiple Republican insiders say the 51-year-old Baugh will definitely run for the Sacramento post.
If Baugh formally announces for Walters' seat, the move might not elate Irvine's state Assemblyman Don Wagner, who is known to have an interest in moving up the GOP food chain but doesn't have Baugh's political clout or access to campaign contributors.
The biggest impact of a potential Baugh campaign for senate, however, would most likely be felt inside Orange County Republican headquarters, where he has been boss since 2004.
A Baugh departure there could launch a brutal fight for the leadership among various bitter factions inside the party about what Republicans need to do to reach young and minority voters.
The state senate district cuts through the middle of Orange County from east Anaheim to Irvine to Laguna Beach and up to Costa Mesa, Newport Beach and Huntington Beach.
Walters' political career includes serving on the Laguna Niguel City Council as well as in both bodies of the California legislature. If she replaces Campbell, she'll be OC's second female representative in the nation's capital. Her husband, David, has been at the center of several business scandals.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter