Voters Embrace Science and Reject State Senator Moorlach’s Anti-Vaccine Rhetoric


PALO ALTO, CA — The defeat of State Senator John Moorlach in his re-election sends a strong message to politicians who pander to the anti-vaccine extremists and put politics over the health of their constituents. Voters responded to the anti-vaccine and anti-science rhetoric of John Moorlach by soundly rejecting him in his bid for re-election.

“California is a leader in using science to guide public policy,” said Leah Russin, co-founder of Vaccinate California. “By rejecting those who embrace conspiracies while ignoring facts, voters have ensured we will continue to protect our communities by relying on science.”

“The voters are telling people holding public office — Californians want safe and healthy communities,” said Dr. Richard Pan, state senator and author of two recent California vaccination laws. “The people want to hear the truth and expect elected officials to make decisions based on facts and science to protect their families.”

In the State Senate, Sen. Moorlach not only opposed public health legislation, he pandered to anti-vaccine extremists, including Andrew Wakefield, the disgraced researcher who fraudulently claimed vaccines caused autism.

Sen. Moorlach voted against the provaccine bills authored by Dr. Richard Pan SB 277 in 2015 and SB 276 in 2019 during major measles outbreaks. SB 277 abolished non-medical exemptions for immunizations required for school entry, while SB 276 provided public health oversight over medical exemptions to ensure fake medical exemptions could not undermine vaccination rates at schools.

On the floor of the California State Senate, Sen. Moorlach made speeches repeating baseless anti-vaccination conspiracy theories, headlined anti-vaccine rallies and became a high-profile cheerleader for the movement.  While vaccines must undergo rigorous testing for safety both before and after FDA approval, in Sen. Moorlach’s floor speech against SB 276, he falsely claimed vaccines haven’t been tested for safety in 32 years — a verifiably false statement made by anti-vaxxers.

While serving in the State Senate, Sen. Moorlach has taken many extreme positions against science, including his denial of climate change, voting against legislation to protect children and communities from vaccine-preventable diseases while providing support for anti-vaccine conspiracies and voting against funding for public health during a pandemic.

After serving as a county supervisor, Sen. Moorlach was first elected to the 37th Senate District in a 2015 special election held to fill a vacancy when Mimi Walters was elected to congress. He then won reelection in 2016, defeating his Democratic challenger by 14 percentage points. Incumbent GOP State Senator John Moorlach ran for reelection this year in the state’s 37th Senate District, covering traditionally conservative, central Orange County. Sen. Moorlach’s anti-vaccine, anti-science stance became a central issue in the campaign as David Min and pro-science advocates highlighted Sen. Moorlach’s positions.  On November 7, UC Irvine law professor Dave Min declared victory in his campaign to represent the 37th Senate District, defeating Sen. Moorlach.

“Voters had their say on November 3rd, and the people declared they want a representative who will protect their families from preventable diseases,” added Pan.

“Vaccinate California is eager to work with Senator-elect Min on science-minded policies that will benefit our communities,” said Russin.