Tom Daly (American politician)

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Tom Daly
Daly headshot.jpg
Member of the California State Assembly
from the 69th district
Assumed office
December 3, 2012
Preceded byJose Solorio
Orange County Clerk-Recorder
In office
December 17, 2002 – December 3, 2012
Preceded byGary Granville
Succeeded byHugh Nguyen
43rd Mayor of Anaheim
In office
November 17, 1992 – December 3, 2002
Preceded byFred Hunter
Succeeded byCurt Pringle
Member of the Anaheim City Council
In office
November 29, 1988 – November 29, 1994
Preceded byBen Bay
Succeeded byTom Tait
Personal details
Born (1954-07-26) July 26, 1954 (age 66)
Anaheim, California, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
ResidenceAnaheim, California
Alma materHarvard University

Tom Daly (born July 26, 1954) is an American politician currently serving in the California State Assembly. He is a Democrat representing the 69th Assembly District, which encompasses central Orange County, including the cities of Santa Ana, Anaheim, Garden Grove, and Orange.

Prior to being elected to the Assembly in 2012, Daly served as Orange County Clerk-Recorder, as well as Mayor of Anaheim. He first sought elected office in 1986 for the Anaheim Union High School District.

Early life and career[edit]

A native of Orange County, Daly was born and raised in Anaheim. He attended four local schools, starting in kindergarten at Lincoln Elementary, then moving on to St. Anthony's, Sycamore Junior High, and Anaheim High.

Daly's father was a longtime Latin and English teacher at Anaheim High School. Both his parents were active in civic affairs, providing Daly's introduction to local politics.

As a child, Daly was an All-Star player in the North Anaheim Little League. In high school, Daly went on to play on the Anaheim High Varsity Baseball team, producing one of the leading records among Orange County pitchers.

From his roots in Anaheim, Daly went on to receive his Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard University in 1976.

After graduating from Harvard University and returning to Anaheim, Daly served as an aide for Orange County Supervisor Ralph Clark for eight years. A Democratic leader in a Republican-dominated county, Supervisor Clark was elected to four terms on the Orange County Board of Supervisors after serving on the Anaheim City Council and Mayor of Anaheim.

Daly first sought elective office in 1986, winning election to the board of trustees of the Anaheim Union High School District. Daly went on to run for Anaheim City Council in 1988 and then he was elected mayor in 1992.

Daly still lives in Anaheim. He is married and has three children.

Mayor of Anaheim (1992-2002)[edit]

From 1992-2002, Daly served as the directly elected mayor of the City of Anaheim, the tenth largest city in California. He is, to date, the last Democrat to serve as mayor of the city.


In the 1992 Mayoral election, Daly defeated then-Mayor Fred Hunter by a margin of 57% to 43%. The decisive issue in the campaign was an unpopular citywide utility tax supported by then-Mayor Hunter, which was strongly opposed by Daly while he served as a City Councilmember. His 1994 re-election as mayor set a record for the most votes ever received by an Anaheim mayor.

In 1998, Daly defeated a strongly backed Republican and fellow council member Bob Zemel.

As mayor, Daly supported the candidacy of Loretta Sanchez for U.S. Congress. Daly served as an adviser to her successful upstart campaign against longtime incumbent and conservative Bob Dornan, in which Sanchez won by 984 votes.

Special prosecutor[edit]

In 1997, the Anaheim City Council took the unprecedented step of hiring a special prosecutor Ravi Mehta to investigate alleged campaign violations during the 1996 election. Only two out of the five-member council approved the hiring after the Anaheim City Attorney refused to file charges saying the allegations against Daly and Councilmember Irv Pickler were unfounded.

The probe by Mehta, a former chair of the state Fair Political Practices Commission, led to misdemeanor complaints against Daly and Picker. The complaints were ultimately rejected by an Orange County Municipal Judge, who also stated that the council had "no authority [to hire] a special prosecutor, period." The investigation ultimately cost the City of Anaheim more than $302,000 in legal fees. No other city or county in California had ever hired a special prosecutor to investigate suspected campaign finance violations. The investigation came during a time in which Daly considered running for the Orange County 4th Supervisorial District but ultimately declined to run citing personal reasons and his intent to run for reelection for mayor in 1998.

Mayoral tenure[edit]

As mayor, Daly oversaw a billion-dollar expansion of the Anaheim Resort area, including the expansion of the Disneyland Resort with Disney California Adventure and Downtown Disney as well as an expansion of the Anaheim Convention Center. With these developments, the tourism industry grew tremendously in Anaheim, leading to more jobs and increased City revenue. Revenue from the hotel bed tax doubled from $28.7 million in 1991-92 to $57.7 million in 2001-02. Daly also oversaw the renovation of Angel Stadium. While Mayor, the Anaheim Angels won the 2002 World Series.

During his tenure, the City developed eight new city parks, reduced crime, established higher standards or citywide planning and land development, and created the Anaheim Colony Historic District with tax incentives for owners who maintain historic homes.

While mayor, Daly also served on the board of directors for the Orange County Transportation Authority, where he helped oversee the Measure M $3 billion improvement program.

Orange County Clerk-Recorder (2002–2012)[edit]

Daly as Clerk-Recorder

After serving as mayor, Daly ran for Orange County Clerk-Recorder, a countywide position responsible for handling county documents, including birth certificates, marriage licenses, and property transactions.

Daly defeated Bruce Peotter, a Newport Beach attorney and recording document executive, by a margin of 53.9% to 46.1%. The office was left vacant by the death of Gary Granville, who had introduced a number of innovations to the department and merged the clerk's department and the recorder's office in 1995.

As the Clerk-Recorder, Daly opened branch offices in historic downtown Fullerton and Laguna Hills Civic Center, providing more access to North and South County. He reopened the Orange County Archives as well as implemented Orange County's innovative Electronic Recording System. He also developed a number of online based system, improving efficiency for Orange County residents.

In his 2010 countywide re-election as the Clerk-Recorder, Daly set a record with the highest countywide winning percentage in fifty years (in contested races.)

Daly was named Orange County's Manager of the Year for 2010 by the Society for the Advancement of Management. In 2011, his department was honored with a Bright Ideas in Government award for "creative and innovative" customer service by the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.

California State Assembly (2012–present)[edit]

2012 election[edit]

On March 6, 2012, Daly announced his candidacy for the newly drawn 69th Assembly District to replace termed-out assemblymember Jose Solorio.

In the June 2012 primary election, Daly emerged with the highest number of votes and 39.2% of the overall vote. Democratic challengers Santa Ana councilmember Michele Martinez and Orange County Labor Federation-backed candidate Julio Perez failed to garner enough votes to reach the November general election.

In the November 2012 general election, Daly beat a relatively unknown Republican challenger, Joe Moreno, by a 67.6% to 32.4% margin.

State assemblymember[edit]

Assemblymember Daly was sworn into the Legislature on December 3, 2012.[1]

Daly serves on the following committees:

  • Chair, Insurance
  • Appropriations
  • Governmental Organization
  • Veterans Affairs
  • Transportation
  • Joint Fairs and Allocation

In 2013–14 he chaired the Budget Subcommittee No. 4 on State Administration. In this role, Daly championed efforts to reduce business filing processing delays and backlogs in the Secretary of State's office as well as speed up Veteran Affairs claims by returning service members from Iraq and Afghanistan.

2014 California State Assembly[edit]

California's 69th State Assembly district election, 2014
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Tom Daly (incumbent) 11,804 55.2
Republican Sherry Walker 5,072 23.7
Republican Cecilia "Ceci" Iglesias 4,489 21.0
Total votes 21,365 100.0
General election
Democratic Tom Daly (incumbent) 32,332 67.4
Republican Sherry Walker 15,665 32.6
Total votes 47,997 100.0
Democratic hold

2016 California State Assembly[edit]

California's 69th State Assembly district election, 2016
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Tom Daly (incumbent) 38,139 70.3
Republican Ofelia Velarde-Garcia 16,125 29.7
Total votes 54,264 100.0
General election
Democratic Tom Daly (incumbent) 69,640 68.3
Republican Ofelia Velarde-Garcia 32,324 31.7
Total votes 101,964 100.0
Democratic hold

2018 California State Assembly[edit]

California's 69th State Assembly district election, 2018
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Tom Daly (incumbent) 30,411 99.7
Libertarian Autumn Browne (write-in) 81 0.3
Total votes 30,492 100.0
General election
Democratic Tom Daly (incumbent) 63,054 75.2
Libertarian Autumn Browne 20,786 24.8
Total votes 83,840 100.0
Democratic hold

2020 California State Assembly[edit]

2020 California's 69th State Assembly district election
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Tom Daly (incumbent) 31,015 71.3%
Republican Jon Paul White 12,493 28.7%
Total votes


  1. ^ "Official proceedings aren't child's play". SFGate. 2012-12-04. Retrieved 2018-08-06.

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