Friday, November 01, 2013

Republicans Fret As GOP Brand Continues To Disintegrate In California


Santa Clarita Assemblyman Scott Wilk is the kind of commonsense, mainstream Republican from the old days-- not hopeless... and still worth reasoning with. Today he's the co-chair of elections for the Assembly GOP Caucus and he's worried that some of his sleazy colleagues, particularly the ones in Washington, are spoiling his party's brand even more than it has already been. He was optimistic about holding three Republican seats against strong Democratic attacks next year. And now he's worried. "Unfortunately," he wrote yesterday for the FlashReport, "some people place their personal agenda and ambitions over what is best for our country." His congressman is Republican Buck McKeon, who he used to work for, and it looks like that is exactly who he was referring to.
The 25th congressional seat has been represented for the past 20 plus years by Republican Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon. Speculation in Washington, D.C. is the Chair of the House Armed Services Committee will retire at the end of the session.

However, in local media, McKeon’s spokeswoman has repeatedly said he plans to run for re-election. The northern Los Angeles County-based CD 25 (which also includes most of Simi Valley in Ventura County) for many years was considered “safe” Republican and is now listed as “likely” Republican due to demographic and voter registration trends.

In fact a recent survey by Public Policy Polling showed McKeon losing to a generic Democrat by 2 points. … In the neighboring Ventura County-based CD 26, sits first year Democrat incumbent Julia Brownley. Brownley benefitted from the Obama wave to narrowly beat state Senator Tony Strickland in 2012.

Strickland has been out raising money and has filed FEC paperwork stating he’s running once again in CD 26 against the vulnerable Brownley. This seat is one of the GOP’s best hopes for a pick-up in 2014.

However, there have been rumblings that McKeon and Strickland have cut a deal to circumvent the electoral process and crown Strickland the GOP standard bearer in 2014. The alleged plan is for McKeon to announce last minute that he is not running. Strickland would then switch races and announce for CD 25. This would obviously place other GOP candidates at a disadvantage...

Considering the amount of money Strickland has raised and his announced intentions, it seems far-fetched. However, Strickland is consumed with personal political ambition. He was elected in one of the most expensive state Senate campaigns in 2008, and six months later was running for State Controller. In 2011, he was raising money to defend his critical State Senate seat (A seat the GOP ended up losing because we no longer had an incumbent) and he then flipped to running for Congress when he felt he had a better shot at winning the newly minted CD 26.

If Strickland departs CD 26, allured by the seemingly easier path to his goal of being in Congress, who fills the vacuum to challenge Brownley? I’m sure GOP Assemblyman Jeff Gorell would feel compelled to run and that would leave the highly competitive AD 44 an open seat.

This domino effect would create a scenario of GOP candidates scrambling to garner the necessary resources in a short period of time to compete with the Democrats. These campaigns wouldn’t be races, but sprints. It would place the GOP at a terrible disadvantage. A possible result could be losses in both congressional districts as well as the state Assembly seat.

Rep. Buck McKeon, himself, ought to announce his intentions now.

If McKeon retires, Tony Strickland has every right to run in CD 25 if he wants to. But he should exercise some integrity and let the party faithful know his intentions now.

Unfortunately the one wearing the biggest grin in this scenario is freshman Congresswoman Julia Brownley. After all, Strickland has amassed north of $400,000 in his federal campaign committee-- and those funds represent the dreams and donations of loyal Republicans who believe it will be spent on Brownley’s retirement.

Our country and state are at the tipping point. If we want to save our country and state we have to save our party. I ask all those who care for our country to call on Rep. McKeon and Tony Strickland to announce their intentions so our party will be ready to compete in 2014.
I think the other person with a big grin is Lee Rogers, the Democrat preparing to beat McKeon-- or Strickland. Strickland is viewed as an opportunist and carpetbagger and isn't well-liked by anyone in CA-25 (except McKeon) and he would be the easiest Republican-- other than McKeon himself-- for Rogers to beat. In the last quarter Rogers-- with no help from the DCCC and with small, grassroots contributions-- beat McKeon's fundraising numbers. And McKeon got virtually no significant grassroots money; all his cash comes from corporate PACs with business before the House Armed Services Committee, a practice that should be outlawed. You can contribute to Rogers' efforts to win CA-25 here.

And, of course, CA-25 isn't the only Republican-held district GOP extremism and bigotry has put in jeopardy. As Matt Barreto of Latino Decisions explained a couple weeks ago, Republican hostility to the legitimate aspirations of Hispanic families have reshaped California politics in a manner that has made the Republican Party nearly irrelevant. This is what's happened in California since the GOP proposed a series of anti-immigrant laws in the 1990s:
1. The Latino share of the total California electorate has dramatically increased.

2. California Republicans embarked on an anti-immigrant agenda that alienated Latino voters and drove them into the open arms of the Democratic Party.

3. Republicans are unable to compete for California’s 55 Electoral College votes, which amounts to 20% of the total 270 necessary to win a presidential election.

As the Latino voter population grows across other states, and a rigorous debate unfolds about immigration reform, we take this opportunity to revisit lessons learned from California. How did California go from a Republican stronghold to a Democratic lock? The answer is clear-- anti-immigrant policy and a frustrated and mobilized Latino vote…

It is now well established in both the political science research community and real world campaign politics that the mid-1990s Pete Wilson era of California Republicanism was a historic turning point in the state’s politics. Prop. 187, the infamous anti-immigrant ballot measure, which was championed by then Governor Pete Wilson in his re-election bid, resulted in significant backlash and political mobilization among California Latino voters. Following Prop. 187 were additional anti-immigrant measures such as Prop. 209 and Prop. 227 that proposed to outlaw affirmative action and bilingual education. Since 1996 when Latinos first comprised more than 10% of the state electorate, Latino partisanship has grown to over 70% Democratic. In light of these dynamics, it is little wonder that California has become an easy win for the Democrats?

Take for example a comparison of California then and now.  In 1994 the GOP held 26 of 52 (50%) U.S. House seats in the California delegation. Today they hold just 15 of 53 (28%).  From 1948 until 1992 Republicans won California in 9 of 10 presidential elections.  From 1992 to 2012 Democrats have swept 6 of 6 presidential elections. [T]his was primarily due to the Latino vote.

Prop 187 and the Pete Wilson years had two effects that shifted the state dramatically to the Democrats. First, the number of Latino voters grew quickly in response to perceived attacks on the Latino community. In comparison to other states that did not experience the same anti-immigrant environment such as Texas or New York, the research clearly demonstrates that Latino voter registration in California increased must faster than anticipated by population growth alone. Second, during the mid-1990s extensive research documents a increase in Latino votes for the Democratic party in California that was sustained throughout the 2000s. Not only did more Latinos start voting, they started voting heavily against the Republican Party.

Today, the national Republican Party is facing the same crossroads the California GOP faced in 1994. However the national GOP has the benefit of hindsight-- being able to evaluate how the Prop 187 era anti-immigrant politics impacted the GOP’s viability in California. The short answer is that Prop 187 and Pete Wilson devastated Republican success.  Sixteen years after the historic 1994 election the Wilson/187 effect was long lasting in the Brown-Whitman gubernatorial election. In a September 2010 survey of California Latino voters Latino Decisions asked whether or not it was “concerning” that Pete Wilson was appointed campaign co-chair for Meg Whitman in 2010. Overall, 84% of Latinos in 2010 were somewhat or very concerned about Pete Wilson’s involvement. This should serve as a reminder to the national GOP that the statements and positions taken today could have long lasting effects on Latino voters if they are seen as negative and severe as the Wilson/187 policies back in 1994.

Latino Decisions analysis finds 44 GOP held House districts in which the Latino voting-age population exceeds the 2012 margin of victory for the Republican incumbent. Among these, 24 are classified as having a high level of Latino influence because the Latino voter population is large and growing and the 2012 congressional election was quite close. Within this list we identify 14 tier 1 districts that are the most likely to flip from red to blue due to a sizable Latino electorate and very close election results. For example Colorado 6 was decided by just 2 points in 2012 and is about 17% Latino. Florida 10 went Republican by just 3 percent and is more than 14% Latino. In California the 10th district is more than 35% Latino the GOP incumbent held on by just 5 points.

According to Latino Decisions polling in 2013 an overwhelming majority say they will blame the Republican Party if immigration reform does not pass. When read recent statements by Republicans Steve King or Jeff Sessions, over 70% of Latino voters say it makes them less favorable towards the Republican Party as a whole. Over 60% of Latino voters say they personally know an undocumented immigrant, and for one in three Latino voters they have an undocumented immigrant in their family. It is no wonder that the immigration issue has become so salient and so personal to a large portion of the Latino electorate.
Latino Decisions is furiously registering voters in these 10 congressional districts:

CA-10 (Jeff Denham)
CA-21 (David Valadao)
CA-25 (Buck McKeon)
CA-31 (Gary Miller)
CO-06 (Mike Coffman)
CO-03 (Scott Tipton)
FL-10 (Daniel Webster)
NV-03 (Joe Heck)
NM-02 (Stevan Pearce)
TX-14 (Randy Weber)

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At 2:16 PM, Anonymous NRIII said...

Latino Decisions deben venir a FL-7 y darnos una mano! :-)

Nick Ruiz for Congress

At 6:14 PM, Anonymous me said...

If O'Bummer had any balls, crooks like McKeon would have been in prison years ago.


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