Two former California Republican Party chairmen, both from the Bay Area, say they’re seriously considering running to succeed U.S. Sen. Barbrara Boxer in 2016 while a third ex-chairman won’t rule it out.
But having been the state GOP’s chief executive might not be the best resume fodder for this or any statewide race.
Tom Del Beccaro, 53, of Lafayette, who chaired the party from 2011 to 2013, was first out of the gate – he had a publicist issue a news release last Thursday, within hours of Boxer’s announcement that she wouldn’t run.
“My first love has been national politics and foreign affairs for decades,” he said during an interview Monday.
“Seats like this don’t come open very often. I want to be part of the debate and I want to make sure our side has a positive image and positive things to say.”
George “Duf” Sundheim, 62, of Los Altos Hills, who chaired the party from 2003 to 2007, also has floated a trial balloon.
Sundheim said Monday he’s moved by the plight of students in failing schools, and of small businesses lacking access to capital. It’s not a matter of whether we should be in the political left lane or the right lane, he said: “We’re on the wrong road.”
Framing a race like this as Republican versus Democrat or conservative versus liberal won’t work well for the Republican conservatives, he added, but voters would much rather hear about the future versus the status quo. If a candidate can do that, he said, “I think you have a real shot.”
And Ron Nehring, 44, of El Cajon, who chaired the party from 2007 to 2011, said Monday he’s “very flattered that people have been talking about me as a potential candidate for the office. … Let’s just leave it at that.” Nehring is the only one of the three who has even sought elected office before: He ran for lieutenant governor last year, finishing 14 percentage points behind incumbent Democrat Gavin Newsom.
Should they run, they could find that having chaired their state party is more liability than asset. Already each has critics within the party who are burning up various social media with reasons they shouldn’t run.
“A necessary (but not sufficient) ingredient for a successful California senate run is the ability to raise tens of millions of dollars for your campaign, and another is significant name recognition,” one state GOP insider said Monday on condition of anonymity. “An ideal candidate would also have been elected to office before, preferable statewide or in a major city.”
“Neither of these two candidates (Sundheim and Del Beccaro) has these necessary qualifications,” the party insider said.
Lots more, after the jump…