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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 »

GOP hires Hispanic state director for California

In the GOP’s latest move to attract Latino voters, the Republican National Committee has announced its new Hispanic state director.

Francis BarrazaFrancis Barraza – most recently the San Diego Republican Party’s executive director – will head up the effort. The RNC also named a state advisory council, and said it’ll hire more Latino field directors across the state. Similar staffers have been hired in Florida, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia.

“This is just the beginning of our efforts in the Hispanic community,” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said in a news release. “We plan to hire and mobilize Hispanic engagement teams in 18 states to build a grassroots infrastructure.”

Jennifer Sevilla Korn, RNC deputy political director for Hispanic initiatives, said the GOP “will engage with voters in their neighborhoods, towns, and cities to strengthen our ties with the Hispanic community. We are committed to creating a permanent year-round ground game that will allow us to compete for every vote and will outlast any one candidate or campaign.”

Barraza, 28, of Chula Vista, was the San Diego GOP’s finance director in 2011 and 2012 before becoming its executive director in January; earlier, she worked on various campaigns including Meg Whitman’s 2010 gubernatorial run. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California, Irvine, and a law degree from the University of California, Davis.

The GOP’s Latino state advisory council will consist of:

  • Assemblyman Rocky Chavez, R-Carlsbad, as state chair
  • Assemblyman Eric Linder, R-Corona, as Riverside County chair
  • Brea Mayor Ron Garcia, Orange County Chair
  • GOP activist Delores Chavez, San Diego County chair
  • Hawthorne City Councilman Alex Vargas, Los Angeles County chair
  • Republican National Hispanic Assembly state chairman Errol Valladares, Los Angeles County chair
  • Greater Pasadena RNHA chairwoman Michelle Martinez, Pasadena City Chair
  • GOP activist Alex Galicia, Chula Vista City chair
  • Indio Councilwoman Lupe Ramos Watson, Indio City chair
  • In other GOP Latino-outreach efforts this year, GROW Elect – a group founded in 2011 to recruit, endorse, train and fund Latino Republican candidates in California – announced in February that it had hired former Bush White House aide and former San Mateo County Supervisor Ruben Barrales as its first president and CEO.

    And in May, two well-known GOP consultants announced they were teaming up to form Latino Edge Research, “the only all Latino Republican survey research firm,” which “provides the insight and understanding of Latino voters so that messaging will reach them, persuade them and activate them.”

    The RNC in July named 23-year-old San Diego campaign operative Clinton Soffer as the party’s state director for California.

    Posted on Thursday, October 10th, 2013
    Under: Republican Party, Republican politics | 1 Comment »

    New Tea Party Caucus to debut at GOP convention

    A new Tea Party California Caucus will make its debut at the California Republican Party’s fall convention in Anaheim early next month.

    Tea Party CA CaucusA news release issued Thursday morning says the caucus will host “a solution-oriented seminar filled with a diverse group of policy experts and high profile Tea Party leaders and organizers” to “educate convention attendees about Tea Party principles and advance these principles by proposing policy and position resolutions to the CRP.”

    The caucus itself was announced late last month.

    Tea Party groups have been very active at the grassroots level for the past four years, and many members already have been elected to county central committees.

    “This involvement is bringing a return to constitutional principles and energizing the Republican grassroots at the county level across the state,” the release said. “We are now gathering together to bring that energy to the statewide level and restore our principles of constitutionally limited government, fiscal responsibility, and free markets to CRP as we work together to restore and ensure a future of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all Californians.”

    Posted on Thursday, September 19th, 2013
    Under: Republican Party, Republican politics | 2 Comments »

    Rick Perry to speak at California GOP convention

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry – a 2012 Republican presidential primary candidate who some believe will try again in 2016 – will headline the California Republican Party’s fall convention this October in Anaheim.

    Rick Perry“Gov. Perry’s leadership is a major reason why Texas has emerged as one of America’s leading forces for economic opportunity and personal freedom, and we’re delighted that he accepted our invitation,” state GOP chairman Jim Brulte said Monday.

    Republican National Committee Co-Chairwoman Sharon Day and National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden also are scheduled to speak at the convention, which will run October 4-6 at the Hilton Anaheim.

    Day, now in her second term as RNC co-chair, will discuss “the RNC’s historic investment in California,” according to the party’s news release. The RNC less than a month ago announced it had hired 23-year-old San Diego campaign operative Clinton Soffer as its state director for California, charged with overseeing GOP field operations as the besieged California party works to rebuild from the ground up.

    Rep. Walden, R-Ore., “will focus his remarks on California’s critical role in maintaining the Republican majority in the House of Representatives,” the state GOP’s news release said. Much like last year, California should see a bunch of competitive House races in 2014.

    Posted on Monday, August 19th, 2013
    Under: Republican Party, Republican politics | 21 Comments »

    GOP donors urge action on immigration reform

    More than a dozen prominent Republican campaign donors and donor groups from California wrote to the state’s GOP House members Tuesday, urging them to pass substantive immigration reform this year.

    “We believe that it is the responsibility of our elected leaders to ensure that our laws keep us safe and help our economy grow. Our current immigration system does neither,” the GOP donors wrote. “It rewards law-breakers at the expense of those who follow the rules. It turns away talented workers who can help our economy. And, by not controlling our borders, it makes all Americans less safe.

    “Doing nothing is de facto amnesty. We need to take control of whom we let in our country and we need to make sure everybody plays by the same rules.”

    The letter was signed by:

  • Former U.S. Ambassador to Uruguay Frank Baxter of Los Angeles
  • San Diego-area developer James S. Brown and his wife, Marilyn, of Jamul
  • David Hanna, chairman and CEO of FHP Wireless Inc. & Hanna Ventures LLC, of Laguna Beach
  • conservative writer David Horowitz of Laguna Niguel
  • Diving Unlimited founder Dick Long of San Diego
  • former San Francisco Giants managing partner Peter Magowan of San Francisco
  • CKE Restaurants CEO Andrew Puzder of Santa Barbara
  • Orange County Business Journal publisher and CEO Richard Reisman of Laguna Beach
  • former U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom Robert Tuttle of Los Angeles
  • Hispanic 100
  • Lincoln Club of Orange County
  • New Majority Orange County
  • New Majority San Diego
  • Many of them also were among 102 from across the nation who co-signed a letter going to all Republican House members.

    “Immigrants coming to this country for a better life have helped build and sustain America. They are a vital part of our future prosperity. They remind us of our potential as a free people,” Puzder said in a news release. “If our great nation is to continue to grow and prosper, we need to reform and modernize the U.S. immigration system. I strongly encourage the California Republican Congressional Delegation to strengthen our nation by working with their House colleagues to advance substantial immigration reform legislation this year.”

    Posted on Tuesday, July 30th, 2013
    Under: campaign finance, Immigration, Republican politics | No Comments »