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Tuesday March 3, 2020 — Primary Election
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California State SenateCandidate for District 37

Photo of John M.W. Moorlach

John M.W. Moorlach

California State Senator
132,275 votes (47.3%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Addressing California's unfunded financial obligations
  • Reform and improve the mental health system of care in California
  • Solving the homeless crisis



Profession:California State Senator
State Senator, 37th District, California State Senate — Elected position (2015–current)
Orange County Supervisor, Orange County Board of Supervisors — Elected position (2007–2015)
Orange County Treasurer/Tax-Collector, County of Orange — Elected position (1995–2007)
Vice President, Balser, Horowitz, Frank & Wakeling Accountancy Corporation (1976–1995)


California State University Long Beach Bachelor of Science, Accountancy (1977)


John M. W. Moorlach began his public career in 1994, when as a CPA and Certified Financial Planner, he warned that Orange County’s highly leveraged investment strategies would lead to fiscal disaster. Orange County filed for bankruptcy protection that December, incurring an historic $1.64 billion in investment losses. The incumbent County Treasurer resigned in disgrace and would be convicted and serve time. Appointed to turn around the mess, John Moorlach quickly reorganized the Treasurer’s office, lowered risks, cut costs, and made it more efficient and transparent.  As an officer of the County, he assisted in its exit from Chapter 9 bankruptcy in 18 months without the need of a sales tax hike. Moorlach also played a significant role in obtaining more than $800 million in litigation settlements, the largest in U.S. history at that time. John Moorlach’s sound planning and diligent work ethic helped bring Orange County back to fiscal health and restored the peoples’ trust. He earned a national reputation as an accessible expert in municipal finance. Grateful voters twice re-elected John Moorlach as Treasurer-Tax Collector, then in 2006 to the first of two terms as an Orange County Supervisor. In 2015, he won his State Senate special election outright in the Primary. In the Senate, Moorlach has warned that serious problems lurk behind California’s seeming prosperity. He produced balance sheet analyses of all California cities, counties, and school districts, communicating how pension and retiree medical liabilities are putting hundreds of budgets at risk for fiscal distress, should an economic down cycle occur. The effort has been one of measuring the fiscal conditions in order to manage toward sounder financial policies. Building on a concern for policies on mental illness, including leading the state’s implementation of Laura’s Law and funding for psychiatric hospital beds, John Moorlach is a recognized leader at the state and county in working for solutions to homelessness. John and Trina live in Costa Mesa and are proud grandparents. When his children were younger, John and his family spent family vacations traveling all over beautiful California, visiting every county and photographing nearly all its 1,114 historical landmarks.

Who supports this candidate?

Who gave money to this candidate?


Total money raised: $2,193,410

Top contributors that gave money to support the candidate, by organization:

California Republican Party
Farmers Insurance Group
Republican Party of Orange County
Employees of J. Derek Lewis & Associates
California Chamber of Commerce

More information about contributions

By State:

California 90.36%
Texas 1.43%
Illinois 0.99%
Nevada 0.90%
Other 6.32%

By Size:

Large contributions (99.70%)
Small contributions (0.30%)

By Type:

From organizations (71.75%)
From individuals (28.25%)
Source: MapLight analysis of data from the California Secretary of State.

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