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In a new bit of the continuing flood of bad annual for California Republicans, Democrats are now the arch affair in Orange County, the acclaimed home of the Reagan Revolution and longtime bastion for the GOP.
According to numbers from the Orange Canton registrar’s office, as of Wednesday there were 89 added Democrats registered in the canton than Republicans, appearance the aboriginal time aback 1978 that the GOP has trailed its political rival.
Democratic leaders were quick to avowal about axis the canton blue, or at atomic blue-ish.
“Republicans’ ‘Orange Curtain’ is in accouterment at the anxiety of Democrats’ abiding grassroots organizing,” Andy Orellana of the Democratic Aldermanic Campaign Committee said in an email.
The change is added about aloof rights than any absolute about-face at the acclamation box. After flipping four GOP House districts aftermost year, Democrats already authority every Orange Canton aldermanic bench and bisected the county’s seats in the Legislature. And they’re attractive to up that cardinal in 2020.
Times accept changed, but that doesn’t beggarly they won’t change back, said Fred Whitaker, armchair of the Republican Affair of Orange County.
“Orange Canton is still a bourgeois canton but it’s now a amethyst county,” he said in an email. “It’s now a action for the No Affair Preference voters who accept developed exponentially throughout the accompaniment afresh and Orange Canton isn’t allowed to that trend. It aloof hit us after than the blow of the state.”
But while the cardinal of detached voters has soared, both in Orange Canton and beyond the state, that doesn’t annual for all of the canton GOP’s problems.
In 1994, 53% of Orange Canton voters were Republicans, compared with the 34% who were Democrats. Aback then, there’s been a abiding accelerate in GOP registration, while the Democrats backward appealing abundant the same.
“Democrats accept been acceptable by not losing, and not alone in Orange County,” said Paul Mitchell of Political Data, which provides aborigine advice to political groups and campaigns. “Their allotment has been appealing abiding for the accomplished 20 years, while independents accept risen and Republicans accept dropped.”
Ten years ago, Republicans fabricated up 44% of canton voters, with 32% of the voters Democrats and 20% independent. That gave Republicans 187,867 added voters than Democrats.
But while absolute voters now accomplish up 27% of those registered, Democratic allotment has risen in that decade to 34%, alike as GOP numbers accept skidded to 34%, abatement their edge.
Whitaker approved to put the best circuit on the numbers, adage that aback the percentages for Democrats haven’t afflicted abundant over the years, “voters aren’t active out to accompany the Democrat Party. ... We still authority aborigine allotment advantages in the seats we are focused on in the abutting election.”
Republicans are angry not alone adjoin Democrats, but additionally adjoin demographics. In contempo years, abounding of the newest voters accept been indigenous minorities such as Latinos and Asians, forth with abounding adolescent people. All are groups that are abundant added acceptable to abutment Democrats.
“The growing Latino citizenry has been alienated by Trump,” said Mitchell. “And adolescent Asian voters are amid the best advanced in the state.”
In politics, demographics can be destiny. In 2016, Orange Canton voters backed Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump, 51%-42%. It apparent the aboriginal time the canton had gone Democratic aback Franklin Roosevelt won in 1936.
John Wildermuth is a San Francisco Chronicle agents writer. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @jfwildermuth