Contra Costa GOP to celebrate Saturday

The Contra Costa Republican Party will host a grand opening Saturday of its 2010 campaign headquarters from 4-7 p.m.

Volunteers and Republican nominees will attend, along with party officials.

The new campaign HQ is at 1320 El Capitan Drive, Suite 100, Danville.

Among those who will attend include CD11 nominee David Harmer, CD10 nominee Gary Clift and CD7 nominee Rick Tubbs.

He is not a nominee, as his race is nonpartisan, but District Attorney candidate Mark Peterson is a Republican and will attend.

Other invited candidates include AD15 nominee and San Ramon Abram Wilson.

For more information,  call 925-930-9551 or visit www.contracostagop.com.


Watch Karl Rove interview in Lafayette

I covered former White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove’s speech and book-signing event in Lafayette at noon today and he spent about 20 minutes with reporters after his appearance event. Watch the video below.

Rove answered questions about the California gubernatorial and U.S. senate races, the role of the tea party movement and his recommended fixes to the recently adopted health care legislation. Rove is on a book tour, where he is promoting his memoir, “Courage and Consequence: My Life as a Conservative and the Fight.”

Read the ContraCostaTimes tomorrow for my full story.

I didn’t have room in the print version for Rove’s interesting comments during the interview about the tea party movement, which has seen some bad publicity from the actions of some of its more extremist members. Rove urged tea party members to carefully police themselves and avoid being hijacked by wannabees who failed to get elected to party offices and Ron Paul supporters. (Is there any group that Ron Paul supporters haven’t tried to hijack?)

You may also be interested in the scene outside, particularly after the viral YouTube video of Rove’s book signing in Beverly Hills on Monday night, where an anti-war Code Pink protester tried to handcuff him as a war criminal. As you can see from this photo taken by Times reporter Jonathan Morales, the turnout wasn’t quite what Code Pink had hoped.

Here’s the link to my video from today’s interview with Rove.


Contra Costa GOP chairman resigns

Contra Costa Republican Central Committee Chairman Greg Poulos resigned today from the panel, saying the job has become too time consuming.

“Going into the 2010 elections, Contra Costa will need a chair able to devote even more time than usual to advancing the agenda of the Central Committee and doing our part to secure local and statewide victory at the ballot box,” Poulos wrote in a letter to GOP Secretary Becky Kolberg.

That’s the public version.

Behind the scenes, I strongly suspect Poulos has grown weary of the constant infighting. This group has along history of political clashes but more recently, a minority faction of the board accused Poulos and his allies of financial mismanagement and has been trying for months to wrest control.

Tom Del Beccaro, the state GOP vice chairman from Lafayette, has also resigned from the committee; he has been unable to attend Contra Costa’s meetings due to his work for the state party.


Republicans featured on Garamendi mailer

Is it a mistake or bipartisanship? You decide.

A California Labor Federation mailer touting the attributes of 10th Congressional District candidate John Garamendi — whose slogan is “Proven Democrat” — features a color picture of the lieutenant governor talking with Contra Costa Republican Party activists Arne Simonsen and Kay Power.

Before Republicans start lobbing rocks at Simonsen for allowing the use of his face in a pro-Garamendi piece, no one asked Simonsen’s permission. (As you might imagine, the campaign of GOP candidate David Harmer has already asked.)

Its unclear if the Labor Federation knew the identities of the people in the photo. (I emailed the federation’s spokesman late Friday but haven’t heard back yet.) Simonsen says the photo was taken prior to Antioch’s July 4 parade as folks talked with Garamendi about Delta issues.

Simonsen isn’t raising a fuss about it, though. He thinks it’s funny. Here’s what he said about it via email:

“Funny. George Miller sent out an email when I used a picture of him presenting me with a certificate from Congress for my work with Habitat for Humanity (even though I said nothing about him endorsing me). Your friend Greg Feere (Contra Costa Building Trades director) made him put it out, from what I have been told.  And now the California Labor Federation puts out a large 4-page mailer for Garamendi with a side view of me and the back of Republican Kay Power when we were speaking to him about Delta issues before the start of the Antioch 4th of July Parade.

“Hum, I wonder if I should send John the same email George sent me? Naw, I’m bigger than that. And besides, amongst the Democrats, I’d rather see Garamendi become their candidate for the November election.”

The mailer was one of several the California Labor Federation sent to its members recommending 10th District voters choose Garamendi, its endorsed candidate for the 10th District.


California GOP may endorse in CD10 race

UPDATE: The California GOP unanimously endorsed David Harmer in the 10th Congressional District over the other five Republicans running in the special primary election on Sept. 1.

California Republican Party Chairman Ron Nehring has called a Tuesday morning teleconference meeting of the party’s board of directors to consider whether to endorse one of the six Republicans running in the 10th Congressional District special primary election.

The board has invited the candidates to participate in an interview process, as the party’s bylaws require, and it takes a two-thirds vote of the Board of Directors to secure the party’s nod.

The GOP, for example, recently endorsed Teresa Martinez, one of several unsuccessful Republican candidates in the District 32 special election to replace Hilda Solis of Los Angeles, who now serves as the U.S. Labor Secretary under President Barack Obama. (Democrat Judy Chu was elected to the seat earlier this month.)

Primary endorsements raises hackles among some Republicans, who consider the practice antithetical to the democratic process. Critics within the Contra Costa Republican Party are already upset over several incidents they say demonstrate illegal favorable treatment of District 10 candidate David Harmer of San Ramon. (Some members of the committee have filed a complaint with the Secretary of State and Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office alleging this and other violations.)

This is an issue where democratic ideals smack up against reality.

Parties endorse in special primaries as a strategy designed to help elevate a viable candidate from among a field that often contains a mix of well-meaning but utterly unprepared people who have little chance of winning against a well-funded opponent in the general election. Special primaries are blanket primaries, where all candidates of all party affilitions appear on the same ballot. Any single candidate could win the election outright in the primary with a majority vote. (Clarification in underlined text added Monday morning. LAV)

At this point, less than four weeks before the Sept. 1 election, Harmer is the only GOP candidate who has raised money. As such, he is realistically the one candidate with a chance of competing against what will be a very well funded Democratic opponent in a district where Democrats have an 18 percentage point registration advantage.

On the other hand, the party risks alienating members who favor other candidates and may feel excluded from the process. They may not feel too warm and fuzzy about volunteering or donating money in the general election.

Party involvement through an endorsement carries even more significance in a special election, where all the candidates appear on the same ballot regardless of party designation and a candidate who receives a majority vote in the primary can win the seat outright.

Political strategists have said for months that the only chance the GOP has of victory in District 10 was to rally around a single, well-known and popular candidate. Local Republicans had hoped Contra Costa Sheriff Warren Rupf would run but he declined, leaving the party with six unknown political novices.

Read more for the full list of the Republican candidates and their Web sites. Continue Reading


Concord blog targets local GOP with petition

HalfwayToConcord.com, a local blog site where the authors are well known for their willingness to publicly smack around folks at the Contra Costa Republican Party, has posted a downloadable petition calling for a state and county investigation into party activities.

It’s yet another visible sign of reoccurring dysfunction in a local elected committee of Republicans fraught with internal conflicts and leadership struggles.

Critics say the elected committee has, among other things, illegally used its resources to favor one of the 10th Congressional District candidates, mismanaged its money and failed to to remove member Tom Del Becarro, also vice chairman of the California Republican Party, for missing meetings.

Some committee members have sent complaint letters to the state party but no one has paid them much attention. Now, it appears, they hope the Secretary of State and the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office will take note.

Here’s the petition: