The old, Orange County (semi) joke representing the lack of competition in our elections is that Congressman Dana Rohrabacher–hardly an impressive character–can easily remain in office for eternity unless he's caught submitting (again) to an underage male goat on the roof his Costa Mesa home.
We're about to test such a notion because Scott Steiner, a sitting Republican judge with fervent, historic police union financial backing, faces a challenger, Senior Deputy District Attorney Karen Schatzle.
Steiner, himself a former prosecutor elected as a judge in 2010, and Schatzle were longtime colleagues. Local prosecutors from the same office rarely fight each other for bench positions, but the contest for Superior Court Judge Office #2 is destined to be messy.
In 2014, the California Commission on Judicial Performance censured Steiner, who is married with young kids, for having sex in his chambers with Chapman University law school students; attempting to get one of the women a taxpayer-funded job with his former boss, DA Tony Rackauckas; and failing to recuse himself from a case involving an attorney who was one of his close friends.
Steiner admitted the commission's findings were true.
The California Attorney General's office declined to press criminal charges against Steiner, but his challenger isn't holding back.
"I'm running for superior court judge to restore integrity to the seat and ensure that Orange County's judicial system is fair and accessible for everyone," Schatzle said in a press statement. "I believe my nearly three decades of experience, as a deputy probation officer and prosecutor, make me uniquely qualified for the bench and I'm looking forward to the campaign ahead."
In April, Weekly editor Gustavo Arellano reported that Steiner–the son of a former county supervisor–isn't letting the censure derail his career and was raising campaign cash that month at a Fullerton fundraiser sponsored by the likes of DUI lawyer Randy Longwith, ex-prosecutor Mike Fell and John Barnett, who specializes in defending accused dirty cops–including ones involved in the Kelly Thomas killing as well as the Rodney King beating.