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OC Democratic Chair Resigns over 'Infighting'

After more than a decade at the helm of OC's political left, Frank Barbaro steps down. But he says his frustration with internal bickering pales next to the GOP.

Tired of infighting in his organization, Orange County Democratic Party Chairman Frank Barbaro said Tuesday he would step down.

Barbaro, a 69-year-old Santa Ana attorney who has been in charge of the Orange County Democrats since 2001, said he will remain active in party politics.

He also served as the party's chairman for a couple of years in the mid-1970s.

``It's just time,'' Barbaro told City News Service. ``I've done it the last 10 years and I've accomplished what I wanted.''

Barbaro's decision will set up a competition for his job Jan. 28, when the party's governing Central Committee meets to pick a new chairman.

Barbaro, although proud that the divide in registered voters between Orange County Democrats and Republicans has narrowed, said he is sick of the intramural bickering.

``There's a lot of infighting,'' Barbaro said. ``The day after the election, the problems were over. But leading up to the election was a nightmare. It was Democrat versus Democrat and the whole thing was just overwhelming.''

Barbaro cited the intra-party squabbling over Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido's supporters and his challenger David Benavides as one example.

Still, Sharon Quirk-Silva unseated Republican Assemblyman Chris Norby and Democratic state Sen. Alan Lowenthal defeated Republican Long Beach City Councilman Gary DeLong in the 47th Congressional District.

``Look at what we did with Sharon Quirk-Silva and Alan Lowenthal,'' Barbaro said. ``Everybody I supported won.''

``Even my nephew Travis Allen, although he's a Republican won,'' Barbaro said, referring to the 72nd District Assembly District race and Allen's victory over Troy Edgar. ``He's a wonderful kid.''

Barbaro said he feels sorry for his friend, Scott Baugh, the chairman of the Orange County Republican Party.

``I don't have it as bad as Scott Baugh,'' Barbaro said. ``That's open warfare with spears and Tommy guns... My heart goes out to him.''

 - City News Service

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