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Cisco’s Chambers to co-chair Sundheim Senate bid

Cisco Systems Executive Chairman John Chambers will be a co-chair of Republican Duf Sundheim’s U.S. Senate campaign.

Sundheim, 62, a former California Republican Party chairman from Los Altos Hills, issued a statement noting his campaign is focused on “‘Solutions through Innovation.’ No one has done more in the last two decades to change the way we live, work, learn and play than John Chambers.”

Chambers helped grow Cisco from $70 million when he joined Cisco in January 1991, to $1.2 billion when he assumed the role of CEO, to $47 billion in FY15, Sundheim noted.

John ChambersChambers said the nation needs “strong, principled leaders in Washington, DC who can bring together people from all political perspectives to craft workable solutions to our country’s most pressing problems. Duf Sundheim is that kind of leader.”

“I’ve had the pleasure of knowing and working with Duf for two decades, and I’ve seen how much he cares about the future of California and is inclusive of every one of its citizens,” Chambers added. “At a time when trust in our leaders is low, Duf will bring honesty, integrity, and compassion to the United States Senate. I’m honored to support his campaign and proud to call him my friend.”

Chambers has given generously to Republican causes and co-chaired John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign. He said a few weeks ago that he believes the GOP has moved too far to the right, Business Insider reported.

“I’m a moderate Republican — an endangered species – who likes Democrats, so that’s even worse,” Chambers quipped on stage to Box CEO Aaron Levie, a guest at the Boxworks tech conference in San Francisco.

Asked how he feels about Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, Chambers paused and then replied, “Let’s be very candid. Americans like to be led from the middle. We like to be led by people who have experience. What I’d like to see from the Republican party is a moderate Republican who’s really in touch on the social and the immigration issues who has had tremendous track record in their state … I’d like to see a moderate Republican governor.”

Sundheim last week named former U.S. Secretary of State, Treasury and Labor George Shultz, whom he counts as a mentor, as another of his campaign’s co-chairs.

Sundheim is vying with fellow former California Republican Party Chairman Tom Del Beccaro; Assemblyman Rocky Chavez, R-Oceanside; California Attorney General Kamala Harris, a Democrat; and Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Santa Ana, in next June’s top-two primary to succeed U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. Another Republican, Santa Monica businessman Al Ramirez, is exploring a run.

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George Shultz to co-chair Sundheim’s Senate run

Former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz will serve as a co-chair of Republican candidate Duf Sundheim’s campaign for U.S. Senate.

Duf SundheimShultz, of Stanford, “is one of the most knowledgeable and respected public servants in our lifetime. He has served our nation with distinction and honor,” Sundheim, a former California Republican Party chairman from Los Altos Hills, said in a news release. “He has been a mentor of mine for over a decade. I can think of no higher honor than to have him play such an important role in our campaign.”

Shultz said Sundheim embodies the idea that “there is no limit to what a person can achieve if they do not care who gets the credit. … He has the integrity, compassion and resolve to be a great Senator.”

Shultz is one of only two men to have served in four different Cabinet positions: as Secretary of Labor (1969-70), Treasury (1972-74) and State (1982-89) and as director of the Office of Management and Budget (1970-72).

Sundheim is vying with fellow former California Republican Party Chairman Tom Del Beccaro; Assemblyman Rocky Chavez, R-Oceanside; California Attorney General Kamala Harris, a Democrat; and Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Santa Ana, in next June’s top-two primary to succeed U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. Another Republican, Santa Monica businessman Al Ramirez, is exploring a run.

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John Pérez endorses Kamala Harris for Senate

Former California Assembly Speaker John Pérez has endorsed state Attorney General Kamala Harris for U.S. Senate in 2016 and will co-chair her campaign, a coup for a candidate who’s trying to shore up her bona fides among Latino voters as several potential rivals still consider running.

John Perez“I am proud to support Attorney General Kamala Harris’ candidacy to succeed Senator Barbara Boxer in the U.S. Senate, and I am honored to serve as campaign co-chair,” Pérez, D-Los Angeles, said in a news release. “As Attorney General, she has been a fighter for middle class families, for children, for immigrants, and for the environment. She will continue to be a tough, practical, results-oriented leader when she is in the Senate. I look forward to campaigning alongside Kamala Harris and working with her when she is representing California in Washington, D.C.”

Harris said she’s grateful for his support. “He has served his community and his state so effectively and passionately, as a leader in elected office, in the labor movement, and in the Democratic Party. He has a proven track record of working for the middle class and promoting economic fairness, and is a tireless campaigner. My campaign will benefit greatly from his service as co-chair.”

Pérez, who was Speaker from 2010 to 2014, was the first openly gay person of color to be elected speaker of any state legislature in the nation; earlier, he worked as political director for the California Labor Federation. In addition to his Latino and LGBT status, the fact that he’s from Los Angeles is good for Harris too, as she looks to strengthen her support in the voter-dense Southland.

Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who had been thought of as a prime possible contender for the Senate seat, announced last week announced he won’t run. But there’s still buzz among the state’s Latino Democrats that they’d like to field someone as an alternative to Harris, and House members including Loretta Sanchez, D-Santa Ana, and Xavier Becerra, D-Los Angeles, have said they’re considering running.

On the Republican side, Assemblyman Rocky Chavez, R-Oceanside, and former California Republican Party Chairman Tom Del Beccaro of Lafayette have formed exploratory committees for this contest.

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RNC co-chair rallies troops at CA GOP convention

The GOP is leaner, meaner and ready to send President Barack Obama packing in November, Republican National Committee Co-Chairwoman Sharon Day told members of the state party’s executive committee today.

Day, who came up through the party’s ranks in Florida, tried to rally the troops as they lunched on salad, lasagna and cheesecake during the opening day of the California Republican Party’s spring convention in Burlingame.

When she and Chairman Reince Priebus took over at the start of last year, the RNC couldn’t even meet its own payroll, she said. But after cutting staff and spending while honing the committee’s outreach, the RNC was able to raise $27 million in the fourth quarter – $4 million more than the Democratic National Committee, which had the advantage of an incumbent president.

“We are not going to let the Democrat party … define who our candidate is,” she said, as it did in 2008 when GOP nominee John McCain had to spend a few crucial post-nomination weeks raising money rather than getting his message out. This year, she said, the RNC will be well positioned to immediately transfer close to the $20 million allowed by law to the nominee.

The GOP has more than 100,000 Twitter followers and more than 250,000 connections on Facebook, she noted, and won what she said will be bellwether 2011 special-election House races with Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., and Rep. Bob Turner, R-N.Y. Now it’s working to prevent the recall of Wisconsin officials including Gov. Scott Walker – who incurred labor’s and Democrats’ wrath by rolling back public workers’ collective bargaining rights – “because we know they have the right plans, they’re taking America in the right direction.”

The RNC is aggressively reaching out to Latinos, and is preparing to do the same with African-Americans and Asian-Americans, she said, while also developing a mobile device application for GOP activists with everything from talking points to micro-targeting data.

Day called the Obama presidency “a total disaster,” including overreaching on health care, miring the nation in debt, and a failed stimulus including the money lost on Fremont-based solar manufacturer Solyndra. Republicans must prevail in November, she exhorted the crowd, or else become the first generation to leave a lesser America for the next.

“Our children and the next generation deserve better … Enough is enough,” she said, vowing to send President Obama back to Chicago on a Boeing 787 built in Charleston, S.C., “that he did his very best to stop from happening.”