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West Newport activist gets into Assembly race

Bob Rush, a frequent Newport Beach council critic, files papers to challenge Assemblyman Mansoor. Councilwoman Daigle is also in the race.

February 21, 2012|By Mike Reicher

A West Newport Beach community activist known for needling city officials over the proliferation of drug rehabilitation homes has entered the 74th Assembly District race.

Real estate broker Bob Rush filed his papers to run on Tuesday and has pledged $100,000 of his own money to fund his campaign to unseat Assemblyman Allan Mansoor (R-Costa Mesa) in a recently redrawn territory that includes swaths of Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, Irvine and Huntington Beach.

The first Democrat to declare candidacy, Rush could draw some independent voters away from Newport Beach City Councilwoman Leslie Daigle, who has raised considerable cash but failed to win support of the local Republican establishment. Daigle is viewed as a more moderate choice for swing voters.

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The Orange County Republican Party's leadership supports Mansoor, a former Costa Mesa mayor.

Though the 74th District is strongly Republican, Rush could also appeal to Democrats in Irvine, where the City Council is majority Democratic.

Huntington Beach Councilman Joe Carchio, a Republican, has also said he intends to run.

Rush is perhaps best known for fighting the proliferation of drug and alcohol rehabilitation homes. In recent years, the number of homes has shrunk dramatically after outcries from him and other residents.

Rush has also been a persistent critic of some Newport council members and the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce.

He recently criticized Daigle and others on the council for their support of the chamber. The business group's political action committee (PAC) donated to council candidates who won and later voted to fund Chamber of Commerce events.

Rush also filed complaints with the state and federal tax agencies against the chamber, alleging it violated its nonprofit status by commingling money with its PAC.

In 2008, he accused Councilman Steve Rosansky of profiting from the drug rehab homes. Rush helped fund a campaign against Rosansky's reelection. Rosansky denied the allegations.

mike.reicher@latimes.com

Twitter: @mreicher

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