Strife, leadership change at Alameda County GOP

A controversial resolution calling for a non-interventionist foreign policy – meaning a withdrawal from Afghanistan and Iraq – was shot down by the Alameda County Republican Central Committee last night, even as the committee’s chair changed hands between the party’s warring factions.

Former chairman Jerry Salcido – among a faction of “Constitutional Republicans,” a group often associated with former presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul, R-Tex. – announced his resignation last week after just a few months in the post. He told me today he’s moving back to Utah to start his own law firm with his brother.

a party dividedThe Constitutional Republicans and the mainstream GOPers some call “neo-conservatives” have been embroiled in a battle for a year and a half. Committeeman Paul Cummings Jr. of Oakland has a lawsuit pending against several of the Constitutional Republicans, claiming their June 2008 election to the committee was invalid because they hadn’t been affiliated with the Republican Party for at least three months before their candidacy filing dates, and/or because they’d belonged to other parties within a year before filing, in violation of the state Elections Code. (A hearing on this is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 18.)

So with Salcido leaving, a struggle for control ensued: The Constitutional Republicans put up Brian Eschen, 34, of Pleasanton, while the neo-cons backed John Wyrwas of Berkeley. Wyrwas – a Ph.D. candidate in electrical engineering at Cal – narrowly prevailed, winning the county GOP’s chair one day after his 25th birthday.

“We’re all very excited about the next year,” Wyrwas told me this aftneroon. “I think starting in January our committee is going to be a lot more civil than we were in the past, and I think a lot of our problems will be behind us.”

He noted he ran as a moderate: “There’s a lot I agree on with both factions… We’re looking at a lot of potential.”

Salcido, 31, of Fremont, wished Wyrwas “the best of luck, he seems like a really good guy…. I’m hoping he’ll be impartial with the two factions that are there, because Lord knows we need it.”

Cummings, 53, of Oakland, said he’s thrilled and optimistic at the resolution’s defeat and Wyrwas’ election – he feels as if the good guys are back in charge. Walter Stanley III, among the Constitutional Republican faction’s leaders, isn’t so happy, knocking Cummings’ faction as “pro-national-offense Republicans… They don’t care about the Constitution, they don’t care that it’s an undeclared war, the just care about protecting George Bush.”

Salcido said he was “very disappointed” by the defeat of the foreign-policy resolution, which he co-authored and presented to the committee last night.

“It’s just an indication to me why the Republican Party is having such troubles nowadays, they just want to hold onto this pro-war, interventionist stance that is killing our soldiers and bankrupting our country,” he said, noting the opposing faction seems “more interested in power rather than principle. … They actually said the reasons why terrorists want to kill us is because we’re free and we’re prosperous, they actually believe that, and that’s incredible to me.”

(Note: A server-upgrade glitch has made my previous post about the foreign-policy resolution, from yesterday, temporarily unavailable; my tech people tell me they should be able to restore it and other posts tomorrow morning. UPDATE @ 1 P.M. THURSDAY: THIS HAS BEEN FIXED.)

Stanley said the foreign-policy resolution had 13 votes in favor and 20 against, but at least it was “an educational opportunity” that drew a few new observers to last night’s committee meeting – and expanding the party’s base of members and activists is supposed to be the committee’s goal.

“What they would prefer to do is absolutely nothing,” he charged of committee members such as Cummings and Dick Spees of Oakland, whom he described as “the leader of the ‘George Bushers…’ These guys couldn’t be doing better to sabotage the efforts of the Republican Party if they were Democrats.”

But Stanley said he’s optimistic that Constitutional Republicans will gain more ground on the committee in 2010. “We’ll keep doing things by the book… we’re going to be there, they’ll be forced to deal with us, and we’re going to attempt to get the Republican Party back on track.”

“We have nowhere to go but up, and that’s what we’re trying to do in Alameda County.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • RR, Uninvited Columnist

    Berkeley/Oakland GOPers could map strategy seated in a Zip Car and still have room for the interested public. The Alameda Repubs do have somewhere to go, and that’s into extinction.

  • Ted Hudacko

    That meeting room was standing room only last night, overflowing to the sidewalk. What’s your beef RR?

  • Ralph Hoffmann, Guest Columnist

    Republicans have 2 factions; Fiscal Conservative – Social Moderates, and Neocons. Democrats have 2 factions; Pro-Abortion Liberals, and Anti-Abortion Moderates. What’s the problem with that?

  • Frank

    I couldn’t care less what some central committee does. They have one purpose, and one purpose only, to help elect candidates of their respective parties. People who think they can affect a national party from their central committee are silly, and furthermore if your committee can’t even register enough voters and drive voters to the polls enough to get any republicans elected in your area, you’re pretty much as unnecessary and unimportant as they come.

  • Alameda GOP Observer

    From what I saw, much of the overflowing crowd was veterans who thought Walter and Jerry’s resolution was disgraceful and far more fitting to be passed by the peace and freedom party than the Republicans.

    Check out Josh Richmond’s earlier post to read the entire resolution for yourself and see what a slap in the face it is to every veteran who served in the last 100 years.


  • RR, Uninvited Columnist

    GOP has been divided before, but now the division is down to 95% Right-wing and 5% everybody else.

  • David

    Alameda GOP observer sounds like a neocon. After the meeting, several Vets thanked us for proposing the resolution. An older gentlemen, who happened to be a career Marine, told me that he had fought in several conflicts and that he supported our efforts.

  • J. Max Powers

    Alameda GOP Observer – I read the resolution. What part do you believe so offensive to veterans?

  • RR, Uninvited Columnist

    Ron Paul’s foreign policy: Let’s pretend it’s 1491!

  • Tom Benigno

    Paul is the only hope the republicans have. Otherwise they will be democrats.

  • David

    Antiwar.com | County GOP goes non-interventionist? not yet…

  • RR, You should take the time to watch these two videos:

    Ron Paul: Don’t Tread On Me

    Terrorism: Ron Paul vs. Rudy Giuliani

  • Here’s the Don’t Tread On Me video:


  • Josh Daugherty

    you know how unclever you are RR, “Ron Paul’s foreign policy: Let’s pretend it’s 1491!” you think your f—— hilarious don’t you.

    so you think that murdering innocent iraqi’s, afghani’s and other citizen’s in over 138 countries that we occupy is what keeps this country safe? you’re completely lost.

    while you sit there and apathetically enjoy and support obama and bush’s imperialistic policies, you fail to realize that not only are we losing our freedoms here at home because they have to spend and spend to keep this atrocious policy afloat, but we are killing innocent people for no reason which in turn causes people to hate us so your so called “terrorism” problem only gets worse.

    i suggest you actually read something before you start heading into territories you don’t understand. so until then please shut your mouth

  • Elwood

    Oh, God help us!

    Another Josh who goes all Muslim when he disagrees with someone.

    What a bad ass!

    Oh, and all-knowing one, could you please list the 138 countries which we “occupy”?

  • ulno

    I think the two factions of the Democrat Party are the neo-comms (like Obama and Pelosi) and unionists (SEIU, CTA, etc). The Republican factions are the libertarians (Paulies) and those who won’t ignore international issues.

    The neo-comms, like Josh D above, want to suppress dissent by intimidation (aka “shut your mouth”) and arrogance (“you don’t understand”) in order to advance ideas that rewrite and ignore history. The unionists just want more money and power at any cost to individual liberty and prosperity.

    I honestly wonder if people like Josh D have ever spent time in these other countries, or even speak Arabic or Pashto. I do. I know I’ve spent years in 45 other countries, including the ones he mentions. The US is not despised there by the vast vast majority of people. Everything you read is not necessarily accurate. You should try visiting and gathering first hand information.

    You’d find that the Taliban were a miserable murdering lot that were despised by the country. The US has done a lot to improve the lot of people across Afghanistan as well as Iraq.

    The US doesn’t kill innocent people. The Taliban, Hamas, Hezbollah, and Al-Qaedo do. On purpose.

    It’s sad to see how anyone could justify 9/11. But I think the neo-comms such as Josh D would have little problem in assigning no blame or guilt on the actual perpetrators of this crime.