Capitol Alert

Republican declares victory in Orange County Senate race

Republican John Moorlach claimed victory Thursday in the state Senate special election held Tuesday to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of recently elected Rep. Mimi Walters, R-Laguna Niguel.

Moorlach, a former supervisor in Orange County, drew 50.3 percent of the vote in the four-person race, just enough to avoid a May runoff with Assemblyman Don Wagner, R-Irvine, who drew 44 percent in an updated tally released late Thursday.

Wagner lost despite forging political alliances with most of the region’s leaders and influential donors in Sacramento. Republican Naz Namazi and Democrat Louise Stewardson, a write-in candidate, rounded out the field.

Moorlach, 59, is well-known in the district that stretches across Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach and Orange for his decades in local office. A fiscal hawk, he famously predicted the fiscal morass that gripped the county in the mid-1990s would lead to bankruptcy.

Tim Clark, Moorlach’s strategist, said all of the remaining votes from Tuesday’s special election have been counted. Moorlach plans to be sworn in Sunday at a ceremony held in the 37th District, Clark said.

Call Christopher Cadelago, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 326-5538. Follow him on Twitter @ccadelago.