RNC, state GOP chairs outline path to victory

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele and California Republican Party Ron Nehring talked with reporters today to describe an aggressive effort to support the GOP slate in November’s elections.

Steele wouldn’t specify how much money the RNC will sink into its victory operation in California – “a lot,” he said – but vowed that candidates up and down the ticket will have the funding and resources they need, from office staff to voter databases to communications support and beyond.

Steele scoffed when asked whether the national party’s commitment denotes any weak fundraising or organization on the state party’s part.

“We don’t do bailouts, we’re Republicans,” he laughed. “I love you brother, that’s a good one.”

“This has been a tough cycle for everybody at the state level, the county level, the national level when it comes to fundraising,” he said, but Nehring has done a great job of maximizing resources and opportunities. “I think the party’s going to be just fine, the victory dollars we raise are part of our commitment to our state parties … It’s part of the natural course of helping the party.”

Nehring added that “If the RNC doesn’t engage in California, then the press coverage ends up being, ‘The RNC just treats CA as a piggybank.’ That’s not the case here.”

The state party “chose to not wait for the primary before putting out plan together for the general election in California, we put our statewide plan together some time ago in consultation with various campaigns back in the primary,” Nehring said, producing solid relationships with the GOP’s state Legislative caucuses and Congressional delegation as well as the National Republican Congressional Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the RNC and other party organs.

The state GOP has registered more than 140,000 new Republican voters since mid-October, he noted, and that registration effort will continue at full throttle this year before segueing into a strong get-out-the-vote effort in partnership with the national party.

“We’re also setting the stage for 2012,” Nehring said. “As we build out infrastructure in ca, as we build out one heck of a war room at our headquarters in Burbank. All of that will be rolled over into 2012.”

“We will not concede any community in California to the Democrats,” he added, be it African-Americans, Latinos or any other bloc. “This is the time for the Republican Party to build inroads into those communities.”

Much more, after the jump…

Steele said the RNC had asked all state party chairs for specific, written plans for 2010, and “Ron put together a hell of a plan for CA and has been executing on this plan since late last fall. … They’re competitive, and it’s something we haven’t been in a long time.”

Part of the progress has involved “engaging tea party activists among others, and donors are coming back to the table after a long recession,” he said, plus a ticket loaded with strong candidates.

Gubernatorial nominee and former eBay CEO Meg Whitman “got through a tough campaign, she’s stronger for it, she’s battle tested, and I think she’s more than ready to lead this state in a new direction,” Steele said, a “very stark contrast” with Democratic nominee, state attorney general and former governor Jerry Brown. “Californians will have a clear choice between going backward or going forward.”

In the U.S. Senate race, he said, Republican nominee and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina is “another battle tested leader, both in the public and the private sector” who will be “one of the freshest voices in the United States Senate” after replacing incumbent Barbara Boxer, who is “in the fight for her life, as well she should be” for supporting a failed economic stimulus package that hasn’t addressed the state’s economic woes.

(Fiorina – who also has criticized Boxer’s support of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act economic stimulus – campaigned today in Clovis at Anlin Windows, a company that advertises on its website that customers can save up to $1,500 through an energy tax credit provided by that very legislation. Boxer’s campaign also noted the City of Clovis received more than $6.5 million in Recovery Act funding to pay for the hiring of five policy officers, improvement of the Clovis Senior Center, fixing local streets, summer jobs for youths from low-income families, and other programs.)

And Steele said the RNC Victory effort will support Congressional candidates too, in tandem with the National Republican Congressional Committee and the state GOP; as an example he cited the 11th Congressional District “where we have a chance to have David Harmer do what’s necessary, bring a pro-jobs agenda to the table” against incumbent Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton.

Steele said having big-time self-funders like Whitman (at $91.1 million so far) and Fiorina (at about $6.7 million so far) doesn’t hurt the party’s fundraising efforts, and just means the party is free to direct its resources elsewhere.

UPDATE @ 1:20 P.M.: Lest anyone think the question about the state GOP’s mediocre fundraising was off-base, I just checked the numbers. The California Republican Party reported raising $3,275,195.24 from Jan. 1 through June 5, leaving it with $1,760,636.19 cash on hand, while the Democratic State Central Committee of California reported raising $11,278,075.08 during that period, leaving it with $9,292,170.73 cash on hand – this during a primary season dominated by GOP candidates, with no Democratic top-of-the-ticket races to stir the pot.

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.

  • Considering the numbers, If Meg Whitman holds her media advertisement campaign for two weeks she could almost triple the funding of the entire state Republican party. Maybe she should just give them 15 million out right after all it would seem that buying the California Republican party is cheaper than buying the Governorship.