So you’d think Barbaro the Democrat and Baugh the Republican would be bitter rivals.
Would you believe they’re friends?
It’s an odd relationship given that both men are also playing the part of presidential kingmakers this year. But they’ll have dinner together on election night just like they did four years ago as they watched the returns roll in on the President Bush vs. John Kerry race.
“Frank is just a gentleman,” Baugh said. “We can sit down and have an open dialogue about the strengths and weaknesses of our parties. It’s always a candid conversation.”
“There’s so much in the country that’s not a partisan matter at all,” Barbaro said, referring to how the two sometimes actually work together on common causes.
In fact, when Baugh was working to bring the annual Orange County marathon to Costa Mesa he called Barbaro for help. Baugh wanted all of the City Council candidates to back it before he went forward with the deal, meaning he would have to lobby Councilwoman Katrina Foley, a Democrat. Just in case Foley was a bit suspicious why the Orange County Republican chairman was calling her, he asked Barbaro to call on his behalf. It worked. Foley backed the marathon.
But they do most of their work at cross purposes politically. And this year the stakes were very high — the country’s top job.
California’s votes don’t matter much since it’s a reliably blue state. That’s why you almost never see candidates canvassing for votes here.
But they need California for fundraising. And if you want to raise money in Orange County you have to go through Baugh or Barbaro to organize it.
Newport Beach, jokingly referred to by politicos as the presidential ATM, is one of the more popular destinations.