Late Flyers Explain California Republican Dysfunction

Late Flyers Explain California Republican Dysfunction

People attend the 2023 California GOP convention in Anaheim, Calif., on Sept. 29, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

John Seiler

John Seiler

3/3/2024

Updated: 3/4/2024

Commentary
With the March 5 election a few days away, candidates, political parties, and special interests keep sending out flyers that, when examined closely, explain what’s going on. Let’s look at a flyer showing the dysfunction of the California Republican Party. The state’s dominance by the Democratic Party, which controls more than two-thirds of both the Assembly and state Senate, won’t end until the GOP gets its act together.
This is for District 37 in the state Senate. It’s an open seat Republicans need for any chance of clawing back more than one-third of Senate seats. Currently they control just eight of 40 seats, or 20 percent. They need 14 seats, or 35 percent, to get over the two-thirds hump.
First, notice it’s badly designed. It’s too cluttered. Next, it uses “GOP,” for Grand Old Party. Although party activists and journalists know it’s a nickname for the Republican Party, many everyday registered Republicans don’t. They might be confused.
But the main problem is it endorses all four Republican candidates running for the seat: Anthony Kuo, Crystal Miles, Guy Selleck, and Steven Choi (and it misspells Steven as Stephen). But this is the anti-democracy Top Two system. It’s possible the four Republicans could splinter the vote among themselves so much they hand both slots in the Nov. 5 election to Democrats. Then Republicans would be frozen out.
“The CAGOP has not endorsed a candidate in SD-37, so we would not send out mail boosting one candidate over another,” Ellie Hockenbury, the party’s deputy executive director and communications director, told me. “This is a highly targeted race, so our intention is to get people out to vote and make sure they’re voting for Republican candidates.”
But what about Top Two? Never mind. And when are Republicans going to make their No. 1 priority getting rid of Top Two?
Although the 37th District is an open seat, moving into the district is incumbent state Sen. Josh Newman, currently representing District 29. He is well-funded and obviously is going to gain one of the Top Two slots. Five other Democrats are running: Leticia Correa, Stephanie Le, Alex Mohajer, Jacob Niles Creer, and Jenny Suarez.
Of course, that presents Democrats the same problem of too many candidates. But one of those five could leap ahead a couple of ways. A millionaire could provide a last-minute independent expenditure. Or one candidate could get a few friends and put in some shoe leather in the final days getting out the vote.
Looking over the 2022 Senate primary results for the 20 seats up for grabs that year, it seems about 25,000 votes might be all that’s needed to come in second in District 37 and be catapulted to the Nov. 5 runoff. That means it’s possible for a Democrat to come in number two.

Divided Republicans

As I wrote in my Feb. 12 article, “What Political Flyers Show Us About California’s March 5 Election,” Mr. Newman is getting major backing from the Uber Innovation Political Action Committee, the political arm of the ride-sharing company. It’s sending flyers to registered Democrats.
Judging by the flyers I’m getting as a registered Republican, the one with the best backing is former Assemblyman Steven Choi. Uber Innovation, again, sent me this ad:
Mr. Choi is endorsed by many Republicans, including Rep. Jay Obernolte, Orange County Assessor Claude Parrish, and former state Sen. Jeff Stone. Former state Sen. John Moorlach, who represented District 37 until 2020, and with whom I served as press secretary, also is backing Mr. Choi.
But here’s the flyer Crystal Miles sent me, paid by her own campaign. Notice she’s endorsed by some top groups: the California Women’s Leadership Association, the California Republican Assembly, and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.
And I got this ad backing Anthony Kuo. But it’s not by him. Look closely and says: “Ad paid for by Citizens and Communities for Fair Government, sponsored by California Commerce Club Ad Committee’s Top Funder.” The California Commerce Club is a gambling casino. In 2022 it spent $10 million backing Proposition 26, which would have legalized in-person sports betting at tribal casinos.
The flyer boasts of Mr. Kuo: “Endorsed by Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes!”—even though neither man had anything to do with this flyer because it’s an independent expenditure.
The flyer also is sickly ironic because its main message is: “Stop the Fentanyl Crisis.” But the California Commerce Club advances another addiction, gambling, which in too many cases leads to bankruptcy, family destruction, even suicide.

Conclusion: Republicans Are a House Divided

The first Republican president came to national prominence giving his “House Divided Speech” in 1858. Paraphrasing an expression from the Bible’s New Testament, Abe Lincoln warned of the dividing Union: “A house divided against itself, cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved—I do not expect the house to fall—but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other.”
In similar fashion, as long as the California Republican remains so divided it can’t settle on a single candidate for state Senate, it never will permanently endure—and the state will remain all one thing: Democrat.
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John Seiler

John Seiler

Author

John Seiler is a veteran California opinion writer. Mr. Seiler has written editorials for The Orange County Register for almost 30 years. He is a U.S. Army veteran and former press secretary for California state Sen. John Moorlach. He blogs at JohnSeiler.Substack.com and his email is writejohnseiler@gmail.com

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