Members of the Alameda County Republican Central Committee will be arguing against each other this afternoon in the First District California Court of Appeal in San Francisco.
County committee member and former chairman Paul Cummings Jr. of Oakland is appealing an Alameda County Superior Court judge’s decision to throw out his case contesting the election of several other county committee members in June 2008.
Cummings has claimed committee vice chairman Walter Stanley III of Livermore and six other “Constitutional Republicans” were ineligible for election to the committee 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.
But that’s not actually what this appeal is about. The Superior Court judge tossed the case, ruling Cummings hadn’t filed it within the five-day period required after a primary election; Cummings argues that this wasn’t a primary, as there’s only one election for party committee posts, and wants the appeals court to reinstate the case and order the county court to review it on its merits. The California Republican Party has filed an amicus brief on Cummings’ behalf.
Besides Stanley, the other defendants in this case are committee members Casey Fargo and his wife Lea Smart of Livermore; David Latour of Hayward; Deslar Patten of Hayward; Christopher Kuhn of Hayward; and John Bartlett of Livermore. All of seven are affiliated with the Republican Liberty Caucus, a libertarian-leaning group often associated with former presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas. Fargo also is a former president of the Golden Gate Minutemen, an anti-illegal-immigration activist group, and Latour is a former president of the Castro Valley Minutemen.
Stanley et al – represented by attorney and fellow GOP committee member Jerry Salcido, who just a few weeks ago was elected the committee’s chairman – argue not only that it was a primary and Cummings sued too late, but also that the courts don’t have jurisdiction to police party committee elections.
I’ll be watching for the appellate court’s ruling over the next few months, and will report it here.
(UPDATE @ 10:10 A.M. WEDNESDAY 9/9: Cummings wins this round.)
To put this battle in context, 15.13 percent of Alameda County’s registered voters were Republicans as of May 4, while 57.82 percent were Democrats and 22.48 percent declined to state a party affiliation. The county GOP’s registration has slid by almost four percentage points over the past five years (data after the jump).