H.B., Newport mayors to face off in Assembly race

Surf City's Matthew Harper announces he's getting in the race for the seat Mansoor is leaving.

December 20, 2013|By Anthony Clark Carpio

Setting up a showdown with an official from neighboring Newport Beach, Huntington Beach Mayor Matthew Harper announced Friday that he plans to run for state Assembly.

Harper, a Republican, wants the seat Assemblyman Allan Mansoor (R-Costa Mesa) is vacating in his bid for 2nd District county supervisor.

Also in the 2014 race for the 74th Assembly District, which spans Huntington Beach, Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, Irvine and Laguna Beach, are outgoing Newport Beach Mayor Keith Curry, 2010 Laguna Beach City Council candidate Emanuel Patrascu and 2012 Santa Ana City Council candidate Karina Onofre.


Harper, 39, said he has already lined up GOP support in the district, including endorsements from Mansoor, Costa Mesa Mayor Jim Righeimer and Irvine Mayor Steven Choi.

Righeimer, a longtime friend, said he was impressed by Harper's leadership during a recent Orange County Transportation Authority meeting, where Harper and other board members voted to build an additional general-purpose lane in both directions on a portion of the 405 Freeway instead of toll lanes opposed by many residents.

"He basically changed the tide to do that," Righeimer said. "That's the kind of people we want in office — the one's that'll stick their neck out and go do something instead of just standing back and letting things happen. He made it happen."

Before being elected to the Huntington Beach City Council, Harper served 12 years on the Huntington Beach Union High School District Board of Trustees.

Calling Curry the toughest of his opponents, Harper said the Assembly race will shape up as a battle between Huntington and Newport.

"I think [voters] would want more regular folks that are homegrown and have a wide breadth of policy experience," he said.

Though both Republicans, Harper said he and Curry disagree on two key issues — dock fees and beach fire rings.

Harper disagreed with Curry's vote to increase residential pier fees from $100 to a formula using square footage — an increase opponents called a "dock tax."

Curry said it isn't a tax but a fee that only affects 1,200 residents with private docks over public waters.

"And I would point out that the [dock] fees in Newport Beach are much less, as I understand, than those in Huntington Beach in the harbor," Curry said.

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