4th Republican considering U.S. Senate run

Santa Monica businessman Al Ramirez is mulling a run for California’s U.S. Senate seat in 2016, hoping the third time will be the charm.

Al RamirezRamirez placed fourth out of five in 2010’s Republican primary for U.S. Senate, taking 1.8 percent of the vote; GOP nominee Carly Fiorina lost to incumbent Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., by 10 percentage points that November.

Ramirez ran again for U.S. Senate in 2012’s top-two primary against incumbent Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. In a field of 24 candidates – including 14 Republicans – Ramirez came in eighth with 2.3 percent of the vote; Feinstein stomped Republican Elizabeth Emken by 25 points that November.

Friday, as the California Republican Party kicked off its fall convention in Anaheim, Ramirez said “he’s in the early stages of forming a new exploratory committee” – read as: lining up contributors – for another run as Boxer prepares to retire.

Assemblyman Rocky Chavez, R-Oceanside; former state GOP chairman Tom Del Beccaro of Lafayette; and former state GOP chairman Duf Sundheim of Los Altos Hills already are in the race, as are two Democrats – state Attorney General Kamala Harris and Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Santa Ana.

In a brief telephone interview Friday, Ramirez said he’s not worried that adding another Republican to the field would further split the GOP base to Democrats’ advantage.

“All of them have failed getting out of the gate,” he said of his Republican rivals, adding support for them is “soft,” with many supporters still “willing to jump off that train” in favor of a stronger candidate – which he believes he is.

There’s a “lack of role-model-caliber leadership in the Latino community,” he said, but his business record and staunch conservative principles make him “someone that people can look up to,” he said.

Also, his father – though grappling with Parkinson’s disease – encouraged him to run again. Ramirez said his father watched this week’s Republican presidential debate and said Ramirez could’ve been on that stage too; when Ramirez replied that would’ve requiring winning in 2010 or 2012, his father replied, “That’s not stopping Carly.”

“My dad didn’t raise a quitter,” Ramirez said.

Ramirez, 46, is a senior-ranking executive for a privately held, Los Angeles-based cloud services company, leading its government markets and strategic defense systems efforts.

“You never lose when you serve your country and seeking this office is worth the challenge to insure that the values that make America great are restored and preserved for the next generation.” Ramirez said in his news release, adding he racked up some grassroots endorsements in 2012 as people got to know his stances on the economy, natural resources and national defense.

“Most of all, the reason I am considering running again is because we need leadership to restore law and order to the immigration crisis burdening our taxpayers,” he said. “The lawless tragedies we’ve seen speak for themselves. Ending welfare abuse and sanctuary city policies that jeopardize the public safety of innocent American families is long overdue.”


County GOP chair blasts ‘surfing rabbi’s’ tirade

The California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Jewish Voice for Peace-Los Angeles and Progressive Christians Uniting want Republican Party leaders to repudiate a candidate who at a Bay Area gathering this month proudly proclaimed, “I am an Islamophobe, and everything we need to know about Islam, we learned on 9/11.”

That’s Rabbi Nachum Shifren – the “surfing rabbi” from Santa Monica who’s among the 23 candidates challenging U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., in the upcoming primary election – speaking at a May 3 candidates’ forum cosponsored by the San Mateo County Republican Party and the MyLiberty Tea Party group.

“There should be no place for hate speech of any kind in our nation’s political discourse. Whenever one faith or ethnicity is targeted by hate, it is our duty as Americans to challenge that hatred and to instead promote mutual understanding and tolerance,” the Muslim, Christian and Jewish organizations said in a joint statement issued Monday. “We urge GOP leaders in California and nationwide to repudiate this candidate’s hate speech and to encourage greater respect for diversity within party ranks.”

San Mateo County Republican Party Chairman Chuck McDougald agreed Tuesday.

“That’s absurd, it’s ridiculous – the guy is way out of line and he does not represent the mainstream Republican Party,” said McDougald, who said he didn’t attend the May 3 forum because he was out of town. “Anyone who espouses hatred, we don’t have room for them in our party.”

McDougald said all 24 Senate candidates including Feinstein were invited to the event, but only a handful attended, including Shifren.

I’ve emailed and left a voice mail for MyLiberty’s director, but haven’t heard back from him yet.

UPDATE @ 3:07 P.M.: “I will tell you categorically I do not agree with his statement – as an individual I don’t think that’s an appropriate perspective to have,” MyLiberty director Leonard Stone said this afternoon.

In fact, he said, he’d sort of tuned Shifren out after the rabbi told another candidate his military service didn’t really count because he’d flown airplanes and never was in harm’s way on the ground.

“We had a variety of candidates and I would not suggest I agree with all those candidates by any stretch of the imagination, but every one of those candidates got polite applause at the end of their presentation,” Stone said. “We wanted them to say what they had to say, to let the public who came to the meeting see them in the way they wanted to portray themselves. … It really wasn’t a night for making judgments.”

“Speech can get messy, and people who say things have to live with it,” he said. “Everybody should speak their mind and let the chips fall where they fall.”


Bobby Shriver is not — never was — running for CD10

Santa Monica Councilman Bobby Shriver

Santa Monica Councilman Bobby Shriver

Okay, here’s one rumor about a potential CD10 candidate we can dispense with.

A spokesman for Bobby Shriver emphatically squashed talk that Shriver is or was ever contemplating a run at the seat held by Rep. Ellen Tauscher. (If you have been under sedation for the last week, you may have missed the news that Tauscher has accepted a job as undersecretary in the U.S. State Department pending Senate confirmation.)

Shriver’s spokesman has no idea where the rumor started. Shriver, brother to Maria Shriver and a Santa Monica city councilman, is instead mulling over a run for state attorney general, according to a half dozen news reports.

It’s not legally required for a congressional candidate to live in the district. Remember Republican Tom McClintock? He is the ex-Thousand Oaks state senator who recently won the congressional seat east of Sacramento once held by John Doolittle.

But McClintock spent a great deal of time in the Sacramento area while he served in the state Legislature.

And besides,why would Shriver leave Santa Monica? It’s a way, way more fun place to live than Contra Costa County. The weather! The beach! Ah, but I digress …


How other campaigns see Bobby Shriver for AG

The Sacramento Bee’s Capitol Alert had the scoop this morning that Santa Monica City Councilman Bobby Shriver – brother of California first lady Maria Shriver and nephew of U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy and the late President John F. Kennedy – is mulling a 2010 run for California Attorney General.

If he’s in, Shriver would join a crowded Democratic primary field including San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, who has been busy raising money from many of the same people with whom she rubbed elbows in the Obama campaign last year; Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico, D-Newark, who entered the race with the biggest pot of money already in the bank; Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo, who might’ve gained some valuable experience while taking a drubbing from Jerry Brown in the 2006 primary; Assemblyman Ted Lieu, D-Torrance; and Assemblyman Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara.

If someone can clearly break from the pack as a front-runner in the next few months, he or she could benefit from having so many others split what’s left of the pie.

“We expect there are going to be more people who will be entering this race,” Torrico campaign consultant Phil Giarrizzo told me today – they’d expected Shriver, he said, and they still think Facebook Chief Privacy Officer Chris Kelly will jump in, too.

As for Shriver, with whom Giarrizzo said he has worked on environmental issues, “he’s a talented, bright, articulate person, but we’ve seen many times, in the sense that ‘he’s a Kennedy,’ that people look to accomplishment, they look to a record,” Giarrizzo said. Primary voters tend to be very discerning, he noted, and “it doesn’t work that you can just pass along a family name; he will have to run on his own merits … a level of experience he’ll have to communicate. I don’t think we look at him as ‘a Kennedy’ – I think we look at him as Bobby Shriver, an activist and city councilman.”

“Politics is a debate of ideas and we’ll see as we go forward what his ideas are,” he said.

Harris campaign manager Ace Smith said Friday that “As the only career prosecutor in the race, District Attorney Harris looks forward to having a spirited debate about all the issues of law enforcement.”