Heard on the Tom/Toms

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Stephen Frank, Exclusive to the California Political News and Views,  10/3/23    www.capoliticalreview.com

Grassroots to Team Jessica  – Don’t try that again!

If you’ve never experienced a Convention Session chaired by Jessica Patterson, you should sometime before she is termed out. She has become a practiced session manager after a rough start several years ago, where her rudeness was greeted with loud boos. Having learned her lesson, she will patiently manage motions made by the hoi polloi, adroitly drawing out their intent for all to understand.

Then after a discussion on the motion, she will call for a vote. When announcing the motion to be decided, she will follow it with this: “The Chair is asking for a No (or Yes) vote. Mr. (or Ms.) Delegate is asking for a Yes (or the opposite) vote. ”

Neither the CRP by-laws nor Roberts Rules forbid this. From her powerful position, she tells her supporters how to vote. And she’s been doing this ever since she became chairwoman of the State Central Committee. It’s unsettling to many. They wish they could find a way to stop it.

Maybe they have.

As usual, before every vote leading up to the vote on the Platform on Sunday, Jessica told the convention how to vote. But when it came to the vote on the Platform, she just called for the vote. There was no announcement of how to vote.  Chants went up, “Jessica, tell us how to vote.”  “Jessica, what are you hiding?”  She refused to announce HER vote or tell HER delegates what she wanted. 

Why? Because she did not want her fingerprints on the defeat she knew was coming or remind people of her complicity in engineering the biggest fiasco of her tenure. She might be the captain, but she wasn’t going to go down with the ship. No, that job was left to her first mate, Tim O’Reilly, the self-proclaimed Eisenhower Republican.

That’s the end game. Here’s how it went down.

Her wingman, Andy Gimmekandy, was tasked with electing “her” people to the Platform Committee.  He did a great job. Almost every member of the Drafting Committee was on “her” slate. Jessica then appointed the Chair of the Platform Committee, “rising star” Tim O’Reilly. The Generalissimo was there to get the needed exposure to replace her when she is promoted to the chairwomanship of the Republican National Committee.

Jessica Patterson owned the Platform Committee. She owned the eager Chairman.  Everything was in place for a well-orchestrated takedown of the platform they loathed. There were no barriers to doing the very thing they wanted—gut the GOP Platform by removing the antiquated pro-life plank that protected innocent life from conception to natural death, the defense of traditional marriage as between one man and one woman, and religious freedom.

Generalissimo O’Reilly did the dirty work with Sergeant Assemblyman Devon Mathis whipping the votes. Like George Patton, he moved a one-page platform faster than shoving “crap through a goose.” Those who were paying attention had no chance to object. You can see one member describe the process here:


And “crap” it was. But Jessica was proud.

What they didn’t understand was that their maneuverings united the grassroots in opposition to the O’Reilly platform, led by the Tea Party Caucus.  Startled Party leaders, County leaders, the CRA and legislators came together to oppose it. Like Yamamoto after Pearl Harbor, they awakened a “sleeping giant.”

Finally, leaders like National Committeewoman Harmeet Dhillon, Orange County Chairman Fred Whitaker, San Diego County Chair Paula Whitsell, and others, led by Board of Equalization member Ted Gaines—sent a letter to delegates opposing the O’Reilly platform, reminding them of the consequences of going “woke.”

Then legislative leaders like Assembly Leader Gallagher and Senate Leader Jones got on board, with numerous other members of the Legislature.  Only one GOP legislator supported the “Bud light” platform—Sergeant Assemblyman Devon Mathis. He’s the same guy who for the Cap-and-Trade bill to burden us with all the “green regulations” and a trillion dollars in taxes over the next decade or two.

Our elected legislators cornered Andy Gimmekandy for working hard to harm their re-election.  Two of them individually went to Andy Gimmekandy and told him to STOP working for the “platform of suicide.”  He was told to “stand down” or “he would be gone.” 

Who were the winners in this battle? The grassroots. They won the day with 78% of the delegates voting to keep the 2019 platform with its grammar and spelling errors and out-of-date issues. They woke up our legislators and caused them to realize that the Party leadership was not only harming our 2024 candidates and nominees but threatening their re-election. Nothing moves God or man more that personal interest. See the Lord’s prayer.

Who were the losers?  Vice Chair Corrine Rankin and Platform Committee Chairman Tim O’Reilly. Corrine’s job was to get the “platform that said nothing” passed. She failed. Like the good soldier he is, Tim produced his “gem” and was rewarded with an appointment as Regional Vice Chair.  This defeat has probably cost him his chance to run for CRP Chairman in 2025—as the candidate supported by Jessica.  Now, she has to find another candidate to run against Corrine.

The short-term damage for Tim O’Reilly was even worse.  At Saturday’s Los Angeles Regional Caucus meeting, the Los Angeles County Republican Party chairman Tim O’Reilly stood for a full term as Los Angeles County Regional Vice Chair, a state board position, the next logical step in his ascension to CRP Chairman.

But with the threat from Legislators, a distracted Andy Gimmekandy failed to manufacture the votes Tim needed to win like he had done previously for Tim’s ascension to Los Angeles County Chairman.  David Hernandez, a real conservative Republican, won election to a seat held for years by Jessica’s rubber stamp, 68 to 61. To add insult to injury for Jessica, a long-time grassroots activist, Jon Paul White, won the Associate Representatives position on the Executive Committee, 61 to 55.

For the first time, the Legislators realize that Patterson and her establishment leadership have been using them instead of working with and for them. Perhaps the most crucial lasting effect of this loss is this realization. Hopefully, they will tread carefully in the future rather than just trusting Patterson and her folks.

(Periodically the California Political News and Views will publish tidbits of political news, to keep you in the loop of what the pooh bahs know.  The phrase “tom/tom’s” comes from my mentor, Lorelei Kinder who never passed a rumor, just called to tell me what she heard on the “TomTom’s”.  This column is named in her honor.)

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. Deborah Hernandez says

    Thank God, Conservative values grab a win .Platform stayed, David won
    won, 72 hrs later, middle or the road Speaker ousted! Hopeful for our county to move right,and State and country to follow. Grateful wife am I.

    Debi Hernandez

  2. Vince DeVargas says

    I do miss those conventions. I have attended several here in Minnesota and have found them a bit caotic at times. I have not been physically able to run to be a delegate in the last several sessions but do keep up on the goings on.
    I am so sorry that our House Speaker has fallen to the ambitious small minority. Kevin was a good Speaker and an honest Speaker. I can only hope that whoever is named Speaker in the next couple of weeks will stand strong against this minority few that has stolen the speakership from the majority of the House. I have heard that my our Representative might be in the running for Speakership, Tom Emmer. He is a good man who is well experienced and strong willed. Ah, politics! I appreciate being on you mailing list, Stephen. While gone from California I still have left my heart there.

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