Is Irvine Council Member Beth Krom considering a run for the State Assembly? That is what a young man at the Democratic Party table at this Saturday’s Bruin Day event told me. The fellow said he lived in Mission Viejo and that he had heard Krom talking about this at a meeting of local Democratic activists.
Most of the City of Irvine is in the 68th Assembly District, which is currently held by Republican Don Wagner. Wagner won this seat in 2010, a few days after the tragic death of his son, Paul Wagner. An autopsy revealed that Paul had a severely enlarged heart that has not been previously diagnosed. Paul was diagnosed with bipolar disorder a year ago and was on prescribed medication.
Ironically Krom’s son Noah died tragically as well, while she was also running for office. Just a week from graduating from UC Santa Barbara in 2009, Noah Krom headed downtown to celebrate with friends, according to the UCSB’s independent student newspaper, the Daily Nexus. According to investigative reports, later that night residents of 6663 Del Playa Dr. reported seeing a taxi driver in pursuit of Noah, who jumped their fence at the south end of the backyard. The driver left the scene after Noah hopped the barrier.
Here is the rest of the story, courtesy of the Daily Nexus:
Noah’s body was not found until the next morning.The immediate cause of death was multiple blunt force trauma — Noah died minutes after hitting the ground — but reports also list “acute and chronic ethanol abuse” as a significant condition contributing to death.
Noah’s body was found with a “50 Club Isla Vista” shot glass. Toxicology reports show that his blood alcohol content was .257 at the time of his death.
“The crazy thing about Noah’s death is that if he’d jumped the fence six inches to the right, he’d still be here with us. It just so happened that he hopped a fence where the cliff receded,” John Lewis, one of Noah’s roommates, said.
“You think you’re safe because Isla Vista. is a bubble. You think it’s never going to happen to you.”
I cannot imagine what Wagner and Krom both went through – losing their sons while running for office. While Wagner won, Krom lost badly, to U.S. Rep. John Campbell, who beat her by over 57,000 votes, according to Smart Voter.
How would Krom fare against Wagner? He beat Krom’s longtime ally, Melissa Fox, in 2010, by over 31,000 votes, according to Smart Voter, in the 70th Assembly District. In 2012, Wagner beat his Democratic opponent, Christina Avalos, by over 23,000 votes, according to Smart Voter. Given those lopsided victories I cannot imagine how Krom thinks she will at all contend against Wagner in 2014.
Krom was the top vote-getter in the Irvine City Council election in 2012. But her past success in Irvine’s Council races did not help her in 2010, when she lost to Campbell. That said, she was elected in 2012 to a four year term, so she can safely run for another office in 2014 and not jeopardize her Council seat.
Krom and her Democratic Council colleague, Larry Agran, lost control of the Irvine City Council in November of 2012, when Agran was defeated by Steven Choi, in the Mayoral race, and fellow Republican Christina Shea was elected again to the City Council. Together with Council Member Jeff Lalloway, these Republicans now form a Council majority. They quickly took control of the Great Park and have since fired the Irvine City Attorney.