One prominent Orange County Republican group has rescinded its endorsement of Assemblyman Bill Brough in the race for the 73rd Assembly District, while another has endorsed challenger Ed Sachs.
Brough is facing allegations of sexual assault and an investigation by state ethics officials over his use of campaign funds. Brough has repeatedly denied wrongdoing in both cases. But with those issues in the background, the Orange County Congress of Republicans, a grassroots organization chartered by the state GOP, formally is backing Sachs.
And on Thursday, Sept. 12, board members for the Lincoln Club of Orange County — a decades-old, influential conservative political group — unanimously voted to rescind their prior endorsement of Brough and evaluate other AD-73 candidates.
“Serious allegations have been made against Assembly Member Brough, and the Lincoln Club takes them seriously,” organization president John Warner said. “Republicans need strong, unencumbered leadership, undistracted by disturbing accusations about personal behavior.”
Brough is the only GOP incumbent not currently endorsed by the Republican Party of Orange County, though the local GOP also hasn’t yet endorsed any of Brough’s challengers.
But at the group’s monthly Central Committee Meeting on Monday, Sept. 16, in Costa Mesa, the featured speaker will be Patricia Wenskunas, founder of Irvine-based non-profit Crime Survivors. Wenskunas was quoted in a recent Sachs’ press release that called for Brough’s resignation after the assemblyman sent an email to OCGOP members that named two women who had filed complaints accusing him of sexual harassment but had chosen to stay anonymous.
“Such tactics have a chilling effect on victims of sexual assault and are intended to intimidate them into staying quiet,” Wenskunas wrote.