2020 Orange County Local Elections

Your Moment. Your Time. Own your Power --- it is yours to own!

Register today for Welead OC's Candidate/Political Development Training Program!

Register HERE.





Thanks to the thousands of first-time ever Progressive activists and volunteers, labor union brothers and sisters, women’s groups and community organizations:

  • 71% eligible voters turned out to vote in the November 2018 mid-term election --- the first time since 1970; 4 Congressional seats were flipped bringing Democratic Congressional representation to all 7 of our County’s seats;
  • Cottie Petrie-Norris and Tom Umberg were successful in wresting control of an Assembly and State Senate seat from Republican incumbents;
  • For the first time in its history, Costa Mesa held by-district elections, heralding in Katrina Foley at it's Mayor bringing with her 3 new councilmembers, putting Democrats in control of the Council;
  • Aliso Viejo elected its first Democratic woman, Tiffany Ackley, to serve on its city council; and
  • Irvine elected its first Woman of Color and first Muslim-American, Farrah Khan, to serve on its city council --- Farrah also holds the distinction of being the first Muslim-American woman ever, to be elected in Orange County.

Orange County Democrats have much to celebrate following the November mid-term election --- despite our stunning victories at the Congressional level, the OC GOP has a stronghold on 30 city councils, the OC Board of Supervisors, the OC Board of Education and our county's school boards.

In anticipation of the November 2020 election, Welead OC will be hosting its in-depth 2019 Candidate/Political Development Training Program over 3 weekends, beginning Saturday April 13th, Sunday, April 14th; we will skip Easter Weekend; Saturday, April 27th, Sunday, April 28th, ending Saturday May 4th, Sunday, May 5th. Training will be held at the offices of UNITE HERE Local 11, 13252 Garden Grove Blvd., Suite 200, Garden Grove, CA  92843 - 10:00AM - 5:00PM.

To Orange County's Progressive Democratic Women we say: Your Moment. Your Time.

If you have decided on a seat, if you are exploring a possible run, if you would like to work on a campaign or just learn about how campaigns work, Welead OC welcomes you into the program.

Register HERE.

For additional information and/or questions: karen@weleadoc.com



Stand with Betty Valencia for Orange City Council


Betty Valencia for Orange City Council

Appoint Betty Valencia to the Orange City Council on or before February 9, 2019 or hold a Special Election.

Mark Murphy was sworn in as Mayor of Orange leaving his previous City Council seat vacant. The City Council has 60 days from the date of the vacancy (December 11, 2018) to either appoint an individual to the vacant City Council seat or call for a Special Election. The individual would then serve the remainder of the term ending December 2020.

The voters of the city of Orange should have the final say in our democracy. But right now, members of the Orange City Council, including the Mayor, are attempting to supersede and overrule the will of the voters, rigging the system in their favor, by opening the appointment process to any registered voter in Orange.

Beatriz (Betty) Valencia, candidate for Orange City Council, garnered nearly 11,000 votes with 7 other candidates on the ballot, placing her 3rd in a two seat race. She received 13.9% with the support and confidence of 10,775 of the city of Orange electorate.

Betty has earned the confidence of voters and deserves to be appointed to the Orange City Council.

Our votes and our voices matter. We can’t let voters be silenced anywhere or allow this contempt for the fundamental principles of our democracy to spread.

Why is this important?

Orange City Mayor and City Councilmembers are putting their own partisan interests over the will of We the People --- we must fight back now.

Mark Murphy was sworn in as Mayor of Orange leaving his previous City Council seat vacant. The City Council has 60 days from the date of the vacancy (December 11, 2018) to either appoint an individual to the vacant City Council seat or call for a Special Election. The individual would then serve the remainder of the term ending December 2020.

The Orange City Council has not yet determined whether to appoint or call for a Special Election. But on December 17th, the City Council opened-up an application process, available for individuals who are interested in being appointed to fill the vacant city council seat.

In a Democracy, city councilmembers are seated as the direct result of an election by the voters. And yet Orange City Council members have decided to circulate a notice to Orange registered voters inviting them to submit their application to be considered for the vacancy.

City Councilmembers are elected --- not appointed via a job application --- not via a job interview by councilmembers.

Beatriz (Betty) Valencia, candidate for Orange City Council, garnered nearly 11,000 votes with 7 other candidates on the ballot, placing her 3rd in a two-seat race. She received 13.9% with the support and confidence of 10,775 of the city of Orange electorate.

Betty has earned the confidence of voters and deserves to be appointed to the Orange City Council.

We cannot allow the Orange City Council to subvert the will of the voters. We must fight back and fight back now before the Councilmembers go any further.

Appoint Beatriz (Betty) Valencia to the Orange City Council or hold a Special Election.


Meet Welead OC's Endorsed & Empowered Women Candidates!!



31 of Orange County's City Councils are either majority Republican or 100% Republican --- 16 are majority Republican --- 15 have not one Democrat representing their cities. WE have the Power to affect change but time is short.

Welead OC is Marching to the Ballot Box --- walking and talking on behalf of Welead OC's endorsed candidates --- we MUST turn our voters out for the Mid-Term Election as if our lives depended upon it --- because they do. To borrow a phrase --- 2 hours our of your life vs. 4 more years of conservative/repressive policies from the GOP majority of the OC.

Join Welead OC as we March to the Ballot Box for November 6th.


Michelle Murphy is a candidate for the Newport Mesa USD School Board, District 2. As a working Mom, Michelle is poised to bring positive solutions to the table for our public schools.



Bonnie Castrey is seeking re-election to the Huntington Beach Union High School District. Bonnie is the longest serving Democratic woman in Orange County to be elected of office.


Shayna Lathus is running for one of four seats on the Huntington Beach City Council. She is a true BLUE Progressive Democratic Woman advocating for progressive issues and will be a welcomed addition to a City Council that currently has only one Democrat . There are eighteen candidates on the ballot to fill 4 seats.  Let's work together so Shayna can represent us on the Huntington Beach City Council.


Cottie Petrie-Norris is running for the California State Assembly in the 74th AD. Cottie has outraised the incumbent in every quarter and has more cash-on-hand. This comes as no surprise to most of us who are watching her race --- Cottie's Republican opponent is completely out-of-touch with the needs of the 74th --- he is an extremist on every issue of importance to voters in district that encompasses Orange County's coastal community. Cottie's campaign has been burning up the phone lines and breaking down doors canvassing. We need Cottie representing us in the Assembly.


Farrah Khan is running for Irvine City Council. When she is elected, Farrah will be the first Woman of Color to serve on the Irvine City Help us get Farrah across the finish line! Irvine City Council is one of 16 Majority GOP City Councils.


Beatriz (Betty) Valencia is running for Orange City Council. When Betty is elected she will be a first --- the first immigrant and first LGBTQ candidate to take her seat on the council. The Orange City Council is one of 16 Orange County councils that is currently majority Republican. Betty will be a strong voice for the growing under-represented community in her city.  Join us to get behind her as we march to the November 6th ballot box!




Tiffany Ackley is running for Aliso Viejo City Council. The Aliso Viejo City Council is not only one of 16 Majority Republican City Councils in our City, there are currently zero women serving. Tiffany will make us proud as the only woman representing her city on the council.


"Electing Women -  The RIGHT Women - This is How We Do It" is this year's Welead OC's theme, because Welead OC's candidates will succeed in November with boots on the ground, connecting with voters --- one door at-a-time, one precinct at-a-time, one neighborhood at-a-time and one city-at-a-time --- turning Red Orange County Blue.

Welead OC’s mission is to empower Orange County women, especially Orange County Women of Color to run for local offices. We recruit, train and support our candidates by providing all of the resources needed to win elections turning our Red County Blue!



On behalf of Welead OC, its members and supporters, I want to thank EVERYONE who supported our efforts on Thursday, August 2nd --- "Electing Women - This is How We Do It." We had the distinct pleasure and honor to welcome our Keynote Speaker, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who stunned the country by upsetting a 10-term Democratic incumbent in New York's Primary, June 26th, despite being outspent 10-1. People vs. Money.

Welead OC's candidates --- Progressive Democratic Women and Women of Color have been on the ground knocking on doors and connecting with Orange County voters telling their stories and a providing a positive message. Our candidates know how to organize, how to build a better community --- it's the ground game --- one voter at-a-time, one neighborhood-at-a-time, one city-at-a-time. 31 of 34 city councils in our county are majority Republican or Republican only. We have a lot of work to do.

Welead OC is the only candidate training program in Orange County that: 1) recruits and trains Progressive Democratic women and Women of Color only; 2) provides nuts-and-bolts training particular to the office our candidates are seeking and in the city they are running; 3) provides support and resources to our candidates; 4) supports its candidates with its field campaign by the numbers; 5) does not charge for its two-weekend, 4-day training.

Welead OC training, canvassing and voter registration does not pay for itself --- we operate on a shoe string budget, if it were not for the support from individuals and organizations, we would never be ever to accomplish even half of what we do. 

To that end we would like to thank the following individuals and organizations:

Barbara and Carl Mosen --- Barbara and Carl are the embodiment of being a Democrat --- they live the principles of what that means to all of us. When no one else was there they stepped up. Without the Mosens, Welead OC would not have the ability to invest in the valuable voter data we now have at our fingertips. We are deeply grateful for all that Barbara and Carl do on our behalf. THANK YOU!

Ada Briceno, Co-President and the membership of UNITE HERE Local 11 -not only does Welead OC have the benefit of support from an impassioned and powerful leader of a major labor union in Ada Briceno, but UNITE HERE Local 11's has generously provided us with a venue to train our candidates. UNITE HERE Local 11 has been instrumental in advancing our cause.

To our Table Sponsors:

AFSCME  Local 2076 - A huge thank you to President Diana Corral and Steward Patricia Cortez for their continued support of Welead OC's efforts!

National Union Healthcare Workers (NUHW) - We are grateful for the ongoing support from Sal Roselli, Michael Soto, Irene Arellano, Barbara Lewis, Jessica Willet, Kim Tavaglione and Florice Hoffman. We are beyond grateful!

Women for American Values and Ethics PAC (WAVE) - Under the leadership of Joanna Weiss, WAVE is making a major splash in Orange County. Thank you for believing in Welead OC!

Imagine Action OC - To Faye Hezar, Sally Jane Super and all the talented, empassioned women activists from Imagine Action OC --- we thank you!

State Senate Candidate Marggie Castellano and State Assembly Candidate Scott Rhinehart - Welead OC thanks you for bringing your supporters to celebrate all the inspiring women in the room.

And to all the individuals who dug deep into their pockets in order to attend August 2nd --- Welead OC celebrates you!

If you were unable to attend but would like to support Welead OC's ongoing efforts to elect more Progressive Democratic women and Women of Color to local offices in our County, you can contribute below.

Our hearts are overflowing with gratitude. Thank you to all!

In Sisterhood and Solidarity,

Karen Hinks



Welead OC ("WE" = "Women Empowered") is dedicated to empowering Progressive Democratic women in Orange County by engaging and educating through training and organizing.

Welead OC's mission is to build a backbench of Progressive Democratic women candidates, women campaign professionals and activists, thereby increasing the number of elected Progressive Democratic women in our County. 

Welead OC's primary focus is Women of Color and women living in under-represented communities in Orange Count