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Wu: Fire to my feet

October 20, 2012|By Jack Wu

So this past Monday was the third and final Feet to the Fire Forum for this election cycle, and I must say that I've learned tremendous amounts about the Costa Mesa-Newport Beach electorate, the importance about doing well at such forums, and a lot about myself.

This was also the third forum that I was honored to be a panelist for and the third one where I had the honor to be summarily insulted. As forum co-founder, my mentor and friend, Barbara Venezia, told me, out of all the emails that she receives about the forum, I have the proud distinction of being the most hated of all the panelists.

I'm No. 1! Yeah!

So let's take a look at the three for the year.

On April 5, 10 days before tax day Armageddon for me, Orange County Register columnist Tom Johnson, Voice of OC Editor Norberto Santana, the Newport Beach Independent Editor Roger Bloom, and myself joined the Feet to the Fire co-founders John Canalis, Daily Pilot editor, and Venezia, a Register columnist, to grill the 74th Assembly candidates, Assemblyman Allan Mansoor (R-Costa Mesa), Newport Beach City Councilwoman Leslie Daigle and Newport Beach resident Robert Rush.

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Coming in, the drama surrounding the primary was great as Mansoor was running in a newly redrawn district, which included only 20% of his previous district, but it also included his home city of Costa Mesa. This was also the first election in more than a decade that the top two vote getters in the primary would move onto the general election in the fall, regardless of party affiliation. Seeing an opportunity, moderate Republican Daigle jumped in to challenge the more conservative Republican Mansoor, and, for months, it seemed as though Daigle would be the favorite because of her cross-over appeal to middle-of-the-road voters. Enter Democrat Rush to foil those plans.

So this was the first opportunity to see all three together in a room. By most accounts, Rush impressed the 300 attendees and, with such a strong showing, jump-started his campaign to become a serious candidate. Mansoor was informative, performing as expected. The real surprise was Daigle's lukewarm performance.

As we all know, Mansoor and Rush were the top vote-getters and moved onto the general election.

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