Orange County's representative on the state Board of Equalization officially began her campaign this week for a seat on the county's Board of Supervisors.
Michelle Steel, a Surfside resident, is running for the District 2 seat during the June 2014 primary election that will be vacated by Supervisor John Moorlach, who is prevented from seeking another term after serving on the five-member board since 2006.
District 2 includes Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Seal Beach and portions of Fountain Valley.
"In these tough economic times, and as governments on all levels are struggling to tighten their belts while preserving excellent service, I believe that my experience as one of California's fiscal officers, and an advocate for taxpayers, will help keep Orange County on a strong path for economic freedom and sound public policy," Steel, a Republican, said in her campaign announcement Thursday.
Assemblyman Allan Mansoor (R-Costa Mesa) of the 74th District has also expressed interest in running for the position. The former Costa Mesa mayor sent out an email May 8 that sought opinions about whether he should run for supervisor or reelection to the 74th.
"For over a year, a number of people have asked me if I was interested in running for county supervisor in 2014," Mansoor wrote. "I hadn't given it much thought, but there are many people who believe that our next supervisor should come from the community. ... I think that my experience representing the region locally and in Sacramento will make me a strong candidate and [I] have been discussing the idea with my family, friends and supporters."
On Friday, Mansoor sent an email statement to the Daily Pilot: "I've been overwhelmed by the amount of responses I've received from asking folks for their opinion on this. A lot of people took the time to send me well thought-out responses, and I'm going to take my time to go through them before I make a decision.
"I'm strongly considering it."
Huntington Beach City Councilman Joe Carchio has also said he may run for the supervisor seat. Like Mansoor, he too has sent out exploratory letters to his constituents asking for their input.
"I'm waiting for their responses," Carchio told the Huntington Beach Independent earlier this week. "If it comes back positive, I will make an announcement. If it doesn't, then I will think of something else to do."
No 'firm commitment'
Past media reports have said Moorlach, a Costa Mesa resident, wants to run for county auditor-controller or as a Republican against Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown next year.
The former county treasurer told the Pilot on Friday, however, that he has not made "any firm commitment" regarding his political future or whether he is eyeing something at the local or state level — including Steel's seat on the Board of Equalization.
"One of the options is just to get out," Moorlach said. "I've given my public service. I'm getting a lot of friends together next week and we'll make a decision."
While he has not made any formal endorsements in the race yet, he expressed some support for Mansoor and Carchio, but some reservation about Steel, who moved to Surfside in recent years from the Palos Verdes Peninsula in Los Angeles County.
"Michelle Steel is a fine individual," Moorlach said. "My disappointment is that she is someone from L.A. County, and it would seem to me that someone of her stature on the state Board of Equalization would either move up to a statewide position or at least try to run for Assembly or Senate there in the Rancho Palos Verdes area."
The Republican Party "needs someone at the state level," Moorlach added. "And we need to regain some districts here in the L.A. area."
Mansoor, however, is someone who "pretty much grew up in the district. That has a real appeal," Moorlach said. "There won't be much of a learning curve for Allan. He could hit the ground running."
"He's a good, longtime resident with a good portfolio of public service here in the county," Moorlach said.