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CAGOP14: Nehring calls for Newsom to debate pot

Ron Nehring, a Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, said incumbent Democrat Gavin Newsom is dead wrong to be supporting marijuana legalization.

Ron Nehring“California has been a leader in fighting Big Tobacco… now we’re seeing the rise of Big Marijuana,” Nehring, a former state GOP chairman from El Cajon, said in a news conference Saturday morning at the California Republican Party convention in Burlingame.

Newsom last October became chairman of a committee convened by the American Civil Liberties Union to explore legalization and taxation, as voters in Colorado and Washington already have voted to embrace. He also gave a speech supporting legalization at the California Democratic Party’s convention last week in Los Angeles.

But Nehring said Saturday that legalization would bring down marijuana’s price and lead to a dramatic expansion in use of a drug that affects reaction time, memory and other brain functions for weeks, and is particularly harmful to still-developing adolescent brains. The medical community opposes legalization, he said, while the public costs would far exceed the tax revenues and job creation.

And, Nehring noted, Latinos oppose legalization by about a two-to-one margin, so this is an issue on which the GOP can connect with those voters.

Nehring said he supports the mission of Project SAM, an anti-legalization group that favors changing laws to favor treatment over punishment for those who use marijuana.

Nehring stood next to a poster displaying a photo of Gov. Jerry Brown and his recent quote that, “All of a sudden, if there’s advertising and legitimacy, how many people can get stoned and still have a great state or a great nation?”

“We should have a debate about this issue,” Nehring said. “If Gavin Newsom is not willing to debate me, perhaps he’d be willing to debate Gov. Brown, and they could also debate high-speed rail while they’re at it.”

Nehring acknowledged this will be a tough campaign.

“We completely understand that we are the underdog in this race,” Nehring said, given Democratic incumbents in all statewide offices, a big Democratic voter registration advantage, and robust Democratic fundraising. “Every financial report that comes out will show that Gavin Newsom has raised more money than Ron Nehring.”

As a down-ticket race, “this campaign needs to be about big ideas,” he said – a good prescription for all GOP candidates.

“Republicans need to be the party of bold reform” in order to inspire voters, Nehring said, not just “the party of tweaks and cuts.”

Meanwhile, he said, “Gavin Newsom is treating the office like a taxpayer funded gubernatorial exploratory committee for 2018.”

Posted on Saturday, March 15th, 2014
Under: Gavin Newsom, Lt. Governor, marijuana, Republican Party, Republican politics | No Comments »

CAGOP14: One thing Kashkari & Brown agree on

Rancorous though this election is likely to grow, Republican gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari and Gov. Jerry Brown agree on at least one thing: California shouldn’t legalize marijuana.

NEEL KASHKARITalking with reporters moments after rallying his college volunteer troops at the California Republican Party convention in Burlingame, Kashkari scoffed at the idea that legalized marijuana can be a job-creator.

“We need jobs that are productivity-enhancing,” he said, adding that when Brown “said we don’t need a state full of pot-heads, he was right.”

But he also said today’s drug laws are disproportionately enforced, causing more harm to minority communities, and it makes no sense to react to marijuana by locking people up, ruining their lives and wasting billions of taxpayers’ dollars across the nation. “I think there are elements of decriminalization that are worth looking at.”

Sharing an elevator with reporters, Ron Nehring – the former state GOP chairman now running to unseat incumbent Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom – said he intends to discuss marijuana at a press conference Saturday morning at the convention.

Kashkari wouldn’t give reporters any details Friday of how he intends to create jobs, which along with improving education is his campaign’s backbone. “We’ll roll out our jobs plan very soon, we’re looking at various ways to lure factories back to California,” he said.

Minutes earlier, he had repeated to his volunteers his general mantra on jobs: “unleash the potential” of the state’s natural resources by opening oil and gas fields to more fracking; eliminating much of the state’s regulatory red tape; and “improve our overall economic competitiveness.”

State GOP Chairman Jim Brulte and Vice Chair Harmeet Dhillon earlier Friday made it clear that statewide races won’t be the state party’s focus this year; instead, they’ll look for House, legislative and local victories. Brulte said he believes only two or three statewide races are even competitive this year, though he wouldn’t say which ones.

Kashkari said he agrees “that the lower races are very important” and hopes the tide of his campaign will lift GOP boats further down the ticket. Winning his race this year will be “absolutely hard, but we have so many examples nationally of very strong incumbents losing.”

Brown’s “track record is the destruction of the middle class,” he repeated, also defending a recent statement that Brown was born with a silver spoon in his mouth.

Reminded that Brown famously has lived more frugally than just about any governor in recent memory, Kashkari replied that it must be nice for Brown to have had a multi-million dollar trust fund that let him go visit in the mid-1980s with Mother Teresa in Calcutta, India.

Posted on Friday, March 14th, 2014
Under: marijuana, Neel Kashkari, Republican Party, Republican politics | 2 Comments »

CAGOP14: Dublin’s Catharine Baker a ‘trailblazer’

An East Bay Assembly candidate was among those shown off as the cream of the “California Trailblazers” crop Friday at the California Republican Party convention in Burlingame.

Modeled on the congressional “Young Guns” program cofounded by in the 2008 election cycle by House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, California Trailblazers is a recruitment, training and advisory program for state legislative candidates. And gaining ground in the legislature is a key GOP goal this year, party chairman Jim Brulte and vice chair Harmeet Dhillon noted Friday.

Catharine Baker (photo by Karl Mondon)Catharine Baker, a Dublin attorney seeking the 16th Assembly District seat, said the trailblazers program has taught her how to “run a great ground game, and get our messaging out to the community in the most effective way.”

“It’s going well, really terrific,” she said of her campaign, adding she’s feeling energized by support from across the political spectrum despite the three Democrats also in the race. “I’m a sharp contrast from all three of them … and a Republican very different from what you see going to Sacramento.”

The Democrats in the race are Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti, Danville Mayor Newell Arnerich and Orinda Councilman Steve Glazer. Incumbent Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo, is term-limited out. The district’s voter registration is 39.7 percent Democrat, 32.4 percent Republican and 21.5 percent nonpartisan.

Baker stood at a news conference with other California Trailblazers candidates from around California, as well as with Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff and Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway.

“Could we ask for a better candidate? I don’t think so,” Conway said of Baker after the news conference. “She has worked tirelessly and I’m so impressed with her.”

Posted on Friday, March 14th, 2014
Under: Assembly, Republican Party, Republican politics | 1 Comment »

CAGOP14: ‘A significant rebuilding operation’

California Republicans “have a significant rebuilding operation on our hands,” state GOP Chairman Jim Brulte told reporters at the party’s convention Friday.

BrulteBrulte said he has met with more than 200 Republican groups across the state since his election as chairman one year ago, and tells them all the same thing.

“We have frank talks. This is a party that, whether we like it or not, has been in decline for two decades in this state,” he said. “We have to get back to basics, we have to concentrate on the nuts and bolts of winning elections.”

So the state party has three goals this year: Help the national GOP maintain control of the House; eliminate the Democratic supermajorities in the state legislature; and helping with local elections where and how it can.

“A lot of people, like moths, like to go to the light, and the light is those big races” at the top of the ticket, Brulte said, but rebuilding the party means “grinding it out on the ground” in local races – a strategy that will take several election cycles to bear larger fruit.

Local races are won by candidates who look and sound most like – and most share the values and experiences of – the local voters, he said. And winning requires not only the right candidate, but also the right message, enough money, and a strong campaign field organization, he added.

That’s not to say every legislative and local Republican candidate will receive money or direct support from the state party, he said – with 100 legislative races and uncounted local contests, that’s impossible.

“We don’t bake cakes,” he said – but if the National Republican Congressional Committee, county GOP committees and candidates can do so, the state party might be able to add some icing to help put them over the top.

Read more from Brulte, after the jump…
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, March 14th, 2014
Under: Republican Party, Republican politics | 1 Comment »

Former Rep. Ernie Konnyu won’t take on Newsom

Republican former Rep. Ernie Konnyu has decided not to challenge Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom for his seat this year – mainly because nobody in his party would bankroll him.

Konnyu, 76, of San Jose, had said last Friday he was considering such a run, but he sent an e-mail Wednesday saying he has decided against it.

Though he still believes Newsom to be vulnerable, “the only problem with my election formula was that I could not find a producer to finance this fun show,” Konnyu wrote Wednesday. “The Republican State Chairman, former Senator Jim Brulte, showed no interest in fielding anybody against Newsom. That was especially true with me since he disrespected me in 2004 and we haven’t talked since.”

Santa Clara County Republican Party Chairman Charles Munger Jr., who has bankrolled a few campaigns from his own pocket, didn’t want to meet with him about such a candidacy, Konnyu wrote: “Same with the state’s Lincoln Club leaders, a traditional source of Republican campaign dollars.”

And his wife wasn’t happy with the idea of him sinking their money into it either, he wrote. “Yep! She put her foot down even though I would not have put in an amount close to the minimum $1.7 million I needed.”

“So my friends, NO CAMPAIGN FOR ME,” he wrote.

Posted on Wednesday, February 12th, 2014
Under: Gavin Newsom, Lt. Governor, Republican Party, Republican politics | 1 Comment »

GOP launches new tech innovation initiative

The Republican National Committee today announced the launch of a new initiative to recruit the kind of high-tech, hack-minded innovators who’ve revolutionized campaign methods more effectively for Democrats in recent years.

Para Bellum Labs “will help create a culture to allow the RNC to innovate faster and recruit more talented people who can build digital platforms to understand public opinion, engage voters and power elections,” according to the RNC’s news release, allowing the party “to continue building a new tech-centered mindset, while increasing visibility and credibility in the tech community to attract top talent who want to solve big tech problems.”

It’ll start with a tour of five top engineering schools and a political hackathon to be held sometime soon.

“The RNC has a role to lead on data and digital for the good of the party from the top of the ticket down,” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said in the news release. “Through Para Bellum Labs we will continue bringing in top talent to inspire innovative products to power campaigns and change the way we do business in the Republican Party.”

The GOP has been at a deficit for this kind of thing, as was clearly evidenced in 2012′s presidential election.

But the new initiative’s name already is taking some heat from some quarters. “Para bellum” is Latin for “prepare for war” (often used in the adage, “Si vis pacem, para bellum” or “If you want peace, prepare for war”), but that’s not the problem.

“Parabellum” was used by a German arms manufacturer as a name for its signature guns – first for the light machine gun used during World War I, and later, the Pistole Parabellum or Luger pistol known for its use by German troops in World Wars I and II.

So Gawker’s headline reads “The GOP Just Named its Hot New Innovation Lab After a Nazi Pistol.”

National Jewish Democratic Council Executive Director Rabbi Jack Moline issued a statement saying he’s “astounded and sorely disappointed that the Republican National Committee would put so little thought into the message of their new venture. Using the phrasing ‘para bellum’ not only exploits horrific symbolism, but also communicates a fatalist and violent message toward any who differ with you.

“The RNC should immediately repudiate the name of this venture, denounce the approach it suggests, and apologize to all the people this names offends – those of the Greatest Generation, those who have ever been victims of gun violence, and those in the Jewish community and beyond who were victims of the Nazi genocide,” Moline said.

Posted on Tuesday, February 4th, 2014
Under: Republican Party, Republican politics | 5 Comments »

RNC Chair Priebus to address CA GOP convention

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus will speak at the state GOP’s spring convention.

Preibus will be the opening-night speaker at the confab, which runs March 14 through 16 at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport in Burlingame. The party also announced Friday that House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions, R-Texas, will speak at the Saturday-night banquet.

The party previously had announced that former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will speak as well.

“We’re thrilled to have such a distinguished lineup of speakers for this convention,” party chairman Jim Brulte said in a news release. “Both Chairman Priebus and Congressman Sessions have track records of success in reviving Republican organizations and will be extremely helpful in the ongoing efforts to rebuild our state party from the ground up.”

Posted on Friday, January 24th, 2014
Under: Republican Party, Republican politics | 21 Comments »

A GOP ‘prebuttal’ to Brown’s State of the State

With Gov. Jerry Brown set to deliver his State of the State address at 9 a.m. Wednesday, one notable Bay Area Republican has made a first strike.

Tom Del BeccaroIn an opinion piece published on Forbes’ website, former California Republican Party Chairman Tom Del Beccaro of Lafayette said the Golden State is reeling under Brown’s leadership, with crises in public safety, education, transportation, water, pension liabilities and unemployment, to name but a few.

“The foregoing, mind you, are just facts,” Del Beccaro wrote. “While the state’s economy is doing better than in 2009, despite government policies, Jerry Brown will not let the above facts get in the way of his good story. For too many Californians, however, they represent the true, divided and troubled state of the state.”

Brown’s address will be streamed live online by the California Channel.

Posted on Tuesday, January 21st, 2014
Under: Gov. Jerry Brown, Jerry Brown, Republican Party, Republican politics | No Comments »

Report: GOP’s future hangs on immigration reform

The Republican Party could lose a lot of House seats in 2014 and 2016 – including a few in California – as well as the next presidential election if it stands in the way of comprehensive immigration reform, according to a political research firm’s new report.

The researchers at Seattle-based Latino Decisions call it the “Prop. 187 Effect,” after California’s 1994 ballot measure to bar illegal immigrants from using health care, public education, and other social services – a measure their report says drove the ever-expanding Latino electorate into the Democratic Party’s arms.

“Even in a gerrymandered Congress, the Latino vote is going to remake the landscape if we experience a national phenomenon around immigration similar to the Prop. 187 effect,” said Latino Decisions principal Gary Segura. “Not only does our research show Latinos still hold the GOP responsible for Prop. 187, we see that they’re poised to significantly shift the vote toward Democratic Congressional representation in districts nationwide.”

On a conference call with reporters Thursday morning, Segura noted 93 percent of all Latinos under the age of 18 are U.S. citizens, so the nation’s Latino electorate will double over the next 18 years even if not one new Latino immigrant enters the country.

The report identifies 24 House districts now held by Republcians where the Latino vote alone has a strong chance of swinging the outcome of 2014 elections, and 20 more GOP districts where the size of the Latino electorate exceeds the incumbent’s 2012 victory margin.

Among districts the report deems most susceptible to a Latino swing vote are California’s 10th, represented by Jeff Denham, R-Modesto; 25th, represented by Buck McKeon, R-Santa Clarita; and 31st, represented by Gary Miller, R-Rancho Cucamonga.

A poll conducted by Latino Decisions in July found 58 percent of Latino voters will be personally angry if the House blocks an immigration reform bill with a pathway to citizenship, and 69 percent of Latino voters would place blame for a lack of comprehensive immigration reform upon Republicans, while only 13 percent would blame Democrats and 11 percent would blame both parties equally.

Hector Barajas, a longtime Republican strategist who earlier this year co-founded the GOP polling and messaging firm Latino Edge Research, acknowledged later Thursday that it’s “important to recognize that some races would be more affected than others if they do not correctly engage their Latino electorate.”

“That being said, not changing the same narrative that Republicans as a whole are opposed to immigration reform will allow Democrats to continue with their successful strategy of attack candidates with an R behind them,” he said. “In the end, it will be up to the individual campaigns to demonstrate to the Latino electorate that they are not the ‘Bad Guy’ in the movie.”

President Obama said Thursday that with the government shutdown over and the debt-limit crisis averted, “we should finish the job of fixing our broken immigration system.” A bipartisan bill already passed by the Senate would beef up border security and modernize the system while ensuring “everyone plays by the same rules, makes sure that folks who came here illegally have to pay a fine, pay back taxes, meet their responsibilities,” he said, adding economists estimate the bill would bring $1.4 trillion in new economic growth over the next 20 years.

“The majority of Americans think this is the right thing to do. And it’s sitting there waiting for the House to pass it,” he said, inviting the House to offer any improvements. “But let’s not leave this problem to keep festering for another year, or two years, or three years. This can and should get done by the end of this year.”

Posted on Thursday, October 17th, 2013
Under: Immigration, Jeff Denham, Republican Party, Republican politics, U.S. House | 8 Comments »

PAC vows to revive civility in politics. Not.

A Nevada-based conservative political action committee on Thursday apologized – well, sort of – for an early-morning fundraising email describing lawmakers who supported the deal to re-open the government and raise the debt ceiling as “a parliament of traitors and whores.”

“These 81 whores curbstomped liberty and defecated on the Constitution yet again tonight,” the Western Representation PAC’s email said, singling out Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kent., for special abuse. “Mitch McConnell received his $3 billion of silver to betray the base and the grassroots, via an amendment authored by Lamar Alexander. They’re such sluts for a good porking… It takes $2.9 billion to put Mitch McConnell on his knees before President Obama, whoring himself out and betraying his Kentucky constituents.”

Western Representation PAC logo

“They will remember this day and rue it, and we will pour forth the fires of your wrath upon their heads… We are coming, and we are never going to stop until we take down every last one of these 81 whores,” the email vowed. “Your donations are history-making ammunition to execute those who spat in your faces tonight with their vote. It’s time to take these whores and traitors out. Donate today, and know that your dollars will rain down like mortars on those who betrayed us tonight in 2014. A season of vengeance is upon us, and it is time for the establishment to reap what it has sown.”

Yowza! Sounds like someone was off their meds.

The email had gone out in the name of PAC cofounder Dustin Stockton. He sent out another email Wednesday afternoon under the subject line “We went too far.”

Dustin Stockton “After seeing some of the crony handouts in the legislative deal yesterday I instructed our team not to pull their punches and portray the rage that we are justifiably feeling over just the latest example of Washington corruption,” Stockton wrote. “Although my name was at the bottom of that email it was not written by me and some of the rhetoric I felt went over the line. I’d like to apologize for that and since it had my name on it, ultimately it is my responsibility and I apologize for some of the more brash rhetoric.”

But delving into notpology territory, Stockton also wrote “the fact is that these politicians who are granted the sacred honor of representing our interests ARE whoring themselves out to lobbyists and special interests.”

“Our team is humbled and honored for the opportunity to dedicate our lives to fighting these evil bastards,” he wrote. “We only succeed when we responsibly represent your voice in our activism and our email earlier stepped over the line. We apologize for that, but not for calling it like we see it.”

Read the entire original email, after the jump…
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, October 17th, 2013
Under: Republican politics | 2 Comments »