Daigle Draws Fire for Skipping Forum

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Republican candidate Leslie Daigle reportedly will not participate in a candidate’s forum for the 74th Assembly District in Laguna Beach tonight, which will go on in Council Chambers without her, said an organizer.

An empty chair and nameplate will represent the candidate in absentia.

“I don’t think that’s unfair,” said Jean Raun, who is organizing the forum sponsored by the Laguna Beach branches of AAUW, the League of Women Voters, and the Woman’s Club of Laguna Beach.

Daigle, a Newport Beach councilmember, offered no explanation for not attending when she talked with Raun on Monday. She could not be reached for comment midweek – calls to two cell phone numbers were answered with “mailbox full” messages.

Daigle criticized last month’s “Feet to the Fire” candidate forum in Costa Mesa, where she did participate, in part because one of the panelists who questioned would-be officeholders had endorsed one of her opponents. Many observers thought she had performed poorly in that forum.

Others on the June 5 primary ballot include Newport Beach’s Robert L. Rush, a CPA by training and a Democrat, and Costa Mesa’s Allan R. Mansoor, a Republican and the unofficial incumbent since he was elected to the previous 68th District now partly absorbed by the new 74th.

State campaign finance records show Mansoor received $91,000 in contributions between Jan. 1 and March 22, including a $10,000 contribution from the Lincoln Club as well as from several political action committees including those representing car dealers, contractors and disability insurers. He did not return a call seeking comment.

“Daigle’s hiding is an example of a politician ducking the voters and avoiding having to take public positions, while letting Sacramento special interest money do her bidding and pull her strings,” said Rush, who has also criticized Daigle for accepting donations from city contractors, such as Ware Disposal and Waste Management, and for allegedly flip-flopping on positions.

State campaign records show Daigle with a $108,000 war chest as of March 22. She also has benefitted from more than $220,000 in independent expenditures by Republican activist Charles Munger Jr., mostly for TV advertising, according to the Orange County Register.

Rush collected $129,000 through May 19, including a $99,999 contribution from his own US Realty Group. He had a cash balance of $66,000.

Rush entered politics when drug rehab facilities began to concentrate in his West Newport neighborhood, which he blames on a relaxation of Newport’s land use regulations.

“The law says your community should have facilities based on local need; Newport allowed them to become profit havens,” said Rush, who believes out of state clientele make up half the residents of the 18 state-licensed alcohol and drug facilities in Newport.

At tonight’s forum, candidates will give opening and closing remarks and there will be a question-and-answer period. Audience questions will be screened to avoid duplication, Raun said. The moderator will come from outside the district, and will ask the submitted questions.

– By Andrea Adelson | Laguna Beach Independent











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  1. Daigle hiding out says a lot about what kind of person she would be in the Assembly.

    She absolutely did the worst among the three at “Feet To the Fire”…so either she’s being smart by not showing voters who she REALLY is…or this will come back to bite her because she won’t face the voters.

    If she does so poorly answering questions at the local level? How can she possibly do any better in Sacramento?.