Frank Editorial: California Republican Party: The Incredibly Shrinking Party

CORRECTION:  Below I note there were nine CRP races, none contested.  In fact the Northwest region WAS contested, and the vote was 19-12.  Sorry for the mistake.

Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!


The 2018 elections are sixteen months from now.  In politics that is a very short time.  Yet, there are no significant Republican candidates for Governor, U.S. Senator, other state wide races—and many legislative races.  In 2016 there were 28 legislative seats and the Senate race, with only one Party on the ballot.  And, 16 legislative races with only one candidate on the ballot.

The programs and policies of the Republican Party of the past four years have not worked.  Even after raising $19 million for the 2015-16 cycle, the GOP lost three  Assembly seats and a Republican State Senate seat—giving the Democrats.  Yes, this is a long term situation.  Maybe it is time for new plans and plays—just raising money has not been the answer.

Photo courtesy of DonkeyHotey, flickr

Frank Editorial:  California Republican Party:  The Incredibly Shrinking Party

Stephen Frank, California Political News and Views, 2/28/17

Politico: “THE BUZZ: Small though it is, the California Republican Party reminded us over the weekend that it does still exist.”

A couple of weeks ago, the major donor, political strategist, voter registration king, Charles Munger, Jr. spoke to the Santa Clara Republican Central Committee.  His message was to the point and simple.  He said we need to celebrate the success of the chairmanship of Jim Brulte.  The audience applauded.

No one person is responsible for the state of the California Republican Party (CRP).  It is a team effort.  The lead sentence of this editorial is the lead in the February 27 edition of Politico, the online newsletter.  It clearly states the bottom line facts of the status of the CRP.

From the close of registration in October, 2012 to the close of voter registration October, 2016, Republicans lost a net of 303,000.  Yet the CRP spent zero dollars on voter registration.  Instead, it gave an exclusive franchise to an outside organization, with the key leader being Mr. Munger.  Now that we have had a four year loss, it looks like the CRP is not going to change the direction of voter registration.

In rounded off numbers, as of October, 2016 the GOP had 26% registration, Decline to State 24% and Democrats 43%.  By October, 2018 it is probable that the GOP will be the THIRD Party in California.

We all know that in the past four years, our “success” also includes giving the Democrats a super majority in the State Assembly and Senate.   A GOP legislator calls himself a member of the “Super Minority”.  This means no Republican are needed for any tax increase.  In the past few years, several Republicans would jump the fence and vote to give the Democrats the 2/3 needed to pass tax increases.  Hurting the brand, maybe this is one of the reasons for people leaving the Party.

At the California Republican Party convention this past weekend there were nine offices up for election—four regional Vice Presidents, Chairman, Vice Chairman, Treasurer, Secretary and Chairman of the County Chairmans Association.  What do you think the odds are of candidates for ALL nine positions running unopposed?  Remember, this is a political organization, we have massively lost voter registrations, gave the Democrats a super majority in the legislature, on the November, 2016 ballot there were 28 legislative  seats, plus the U.S. Senate race with only one Party on the ballot—and 16 legislative seats with only one candidate on the ballot.

Surely, there has to be unrest.  Surely, people will want some changes.  You would think those responsible for the situation might not run for re-election.

Of the nine positions up for election, everyone office had only ONE candidate.  In other words, if you liked the last four years, you want to have the same situation for at least the next two years.  The odds of nine offices in a political organization going unchallenged is astronomical.  Or is it a sign that folks have moved on.

There are currently 1415 members of the CRP.  The only victory in 2016 was the election of Donald Trump as President.. His early days as President has shown he is working hard to keep his campaign promises.  You would think the CRP members would put in numerous resolutions in support of President Trump and his policies.  Yet, when the official submission deadline passed, only one resolution had been submitted—to censure a GOP Assemblywoman who announced she was voting for Condie Rice for President.  That resolution failed.

Then before the normal deadline, which had been changed but few knew it, four resolutions were put forward by members of the Tea Party California Caucus—not even a chartered Republican group.  They dealt with taxes, immigration, ObamaCare and vetting terrorists.  These passed unanimously.  But, why didn’t others submit resolutions?

The Sacramento Bee ran this story about the resolutions.  Here.


Then you had a great reception hosted by Chairman Jim Brulte for the Trump Team.  Wonderful event—an effort to get Trumpsters involved in the California Republican Party.  Yet, at the reception and nowhere during the convention was it noted that four GOP legislators lost—and the commonality was they did not support Trump for President.  Assemblymembers, Linder, Hadley and Kim lost, all opposed Trump.  Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chaing running for State Senate—in a Republican District—lost.


Now we find that the Chair of the Ventura County GOP Central Committee, and Chairman of the County Chairmans Association informed his Venutra Committee that San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer was going to be the candidate for Governor in 2018.  This is the Mayor that planned a deficit of approximately $122 million, supported an effort to transfer $1.8 billion in taxpayers funds to the use of a billionaire football owner.  Then while Chairman Brulte is working hard to bring the Trump people into the Party, the Mayor refused to support Donald Trump for president. Think the Trump folks will forget?

Then you have CRP Vice Chair Olsen, appointed in November and elected without a challenger, said on October 12, 2016 she was not voting for Trump—but did say she would not vote for Hillary.  Here is the Modesto Bee article.

These leaders refusal to support Trump in the General Election was not even discussed.  Oh, all are still members of the California Republican Party and appoint delegates.

My long time good friend Jon Fleischman wrote a wonderful piece about the convention before the event started.  See it here.

At the end of the article he wrote, “Yet Republican leaders in California continue to distance themselves from President Trump (even yesterday, most Republican legislators chose to abstain from yet another resolution blasting the president’s crackdown on illegal aliens). Ironically, it is possible that the only road back to relevance for the California Republican Party will depend on the success of the new Republican Commander-In-Chief.”

Fleischman is right—it is a bit like football.  Chairman Brulte is the quarterback and the rest of us are the players.  Yet at the convention, except for a conference sponsored by the Tea Party Caucus of California “Make California Great Again”, there were no meetings or strategies discussed. With our poor record of voter registration, so many races without GOP candidates in 2016, no strategies, meetings of sponsored events to fix the problem.

Maybe the problem is not the quarterback—maybe it is the coach sending in the plays.  Huh?  Like Prop. 14, ending partisan primaries, a poor record on voter registrations, running Republicans against Republicans to assure NO Republican on November ballot for a particular race.  Add to this the lack of promotion of Party principles and values, has anyone seen a CRP or Sacramento GOP legislative leader promoting the Presidents ObamaCare repeal and replacement, tax cuts, immigration or fighting terrorism press releases?

In football, it is the coach that gets cut.  Maybe it is time to find a new coach—the quarterback is one of the great strategists in California—but the coach has failures piled upon failures—as Politico implied, the California Republican Party is an incredibly shrinking organization.

The Coach may be extremely rich, but look at what his money has bought.  And that includes sending in plays for legislative Republicans.

In fact, the GOP Assembly leader misstated the Trump policy and sided with the Fake News of the Democrats.  Here is a press release sent by Assemblyman Chad Mayes:

Statement on Executive Order Barring Refugees from Assembly Republican Leader Mayes

Assemblyman Chad Mayes, 1/30/17

SACRAMENTO – Today, Assembly Republican Leader Chad Mayes (Yucca Valley) released the following statement in response to the recent executive order barring refugees from entering the country:

“Religious liberty is a core value of our nation. My ancestors immigrated to America to flee religious persecution. While bolstering our national security is important, when forced to decide between security and liberty, I will always side with liberty.”

As we all know no one was barred.  This was a moratorium on entrance to the U.S. from seven nations.  Mayes press release implies no refugee from any place else in the world was temporarily stopped.  And, this is not about immigrants—it is about protecting our nation from terrorism.

So, where do we stand as Republicans in California?

*loss of 303,000 registered voters—no changes

*loss of Assembly/Senate seats.  Democrats have Super Majority

* No major candidates for Governor, Senator or other Statewide races in 2018.  The primary is 16 months from now.

* Four years of partisan losses

*Lack of promotion of GOP principles, values and outreach based on policy to the public.

*Some GOP leaders that did not support the election of President Trump are expected to now promote him.

*Some Republican leaders misrepresenting the position and policies of President Trump.  This disheartens Trump supporters, especially those not strongly Republican.

It is definitely time for a new coach.  It is definitely time for a significant audit of our policies and we may have just a few months to complete and then implement new policy. To continue the past fours years in the next two, guarantee the same results.  Lets grow the Party based on policy, principle and hard work.  It can be done. It must be done.

About Stephen Frank

Stephen Frank is the publisher and editor of California Political News and Views. He speaks all over California and appears as a guest on several radio shows each week. He has also served as a guest host on radio talk shows. He is a fulltime political consultant.


  1. Patton'sGhost says

    Yep…The California Republican Party is a hidebound group of country club Republicans…
    Rather than sticking around to fight with this team, we’re throwing in the towel and going to join the other CRP (Colorado Republican Party) where they at least still have a dog in the fight…
    Cali is toast and Brulte is a fart in church….

  2. Agree with your comment on 3rd party in California. Our only hope is Trump in stopping the Santurary State. Now that Brown is asking for Infrastructure money from the Feds for the State maybe Trump nagoiates one of his deals. Our problems are most of our so called republicans all the way down to local levels are moderate rinos. We don’t have a conservative in the bunch. The only conservative function in California is the Reagan Library..

    • Rick, “Our problems are most of our so called republicans all the way down to local levels are moderate rinos. We don’t have a conservative in the bunch.”
      It’s nice to see that your comprehensive analysis of the situation isn’t complicated by any knowledge of the facts. You arrogant SOB.

      There are plenty of conservative Republicans, not RINOs, in Northern CA. But we are so badly outnumbered by Dems, the Central Committees are small and struggling and for all intents and purposes have been written off by the CRP. All the CRP money is spent down south. It is tough to recruit candidates in such a hostile environment particularly when we get no support from CRP. We have no conservative representation on Sacramento or in Congress. None, nada, nill. And you have the nerve to call us RINOs. Fortunately we live on the West Coast. I suggest you take a long walk off a short pier.

  3. Ken Campbell says

    I am really sorry to say, but the biggest indicator of the insignificance of CRP is the fact that for a very short amount of time there were about 10 protesters. If CRP was significant the Left would have deployed assets, time, personnel and money…witness when Trump spoke at the Burlingame convention. We certainly had security…maybe we think a little to highly of ourselves, certainly the Left thinks CRP was insignificant.

  4. It is the Republicans who are leaving California in droves. Who is left? The rich Democrats who don’t pay taxes, and don’t give a fig. AND the dumbocrat political hacks in Sacramento, the poor, the welfare class, and the illegals, all of whom vote for the left. California, is lost, forever, and is well on the way to becoming a transfer payment sewer.

  5. RobL, Have to agree with you and who in their right mind as a true conservative would want to get involved in the sewer of California Politics? It would cost way too much monetarily and the CPUSA has done such a great job in dumbing down Californians as well as the complicit media and lets not forget Hollyweird.

  6. I have been a county director, worked on trying to change the long held view of how politics work. The establishment Republicans cannot let go of the power. They fear the party will spin out of control. Guess what TOO LATE.

    When the average voter who wants to see taxes drop, and government get out of every issue of daily life do not see a viable option they go with the power elite. That power elite is the Democrat party. The Democrats have no fear of threatening those in their own part let alone outsiders. The only way back for Republicans is to accept the “slings and arrows” and say this is the rational small government option.

  7. Steve, WE are long time friends, we worked on a resolution together in your hotel room years ago……WAKE UP…….. Trump is HATED in California, any politician who wants to get elected should run from him….FAST. Only Rino’s, like me, can get elected statewide in Calif. As per the lost seats, I can only speak to Chang…..she lied about her CV on the city website and she wrote the worst piece of legislation last year….AB1570, I am busy in Sacto reworking it, AB228.

  8. Pretty sad. The Democrats are going to sink the state of California and there is no one to stop it!


  1. […] than opposing the Sacramento bureaucracy.  The California Republican Party apparatus remains weak and ineffective statewide going into the 2018 […]

Speak Your Mind