Orange County GOP Identified Former Republican Voters — And Now It Wants to Woo Them Back

More than 27,000 Republican voters in Orange County have switched to no party preference in the past six years.

That’s according to Orange County Registrar of Voters data obtained by the county GOP, said its executive director, Randall Avila. And in an effort to “bring these Republicans home,” Avila said, Orange Country Republicans will host a series of re-registration trainings for volunteers ahead of the 2024 elections.

The idea, he said, is to train volunteers who can find and meet with “these no party preference, formerly Republican, voters.” Volunteers will be given a rundown of the data, who the voters are and how to “re-register” them as Republican voters — both on paper and online.

“It’s not terribly difficult or complex; it’s more of just talking to your neighbors because we’ll assign most of the volunteers to their own neighborhoods,” Avila said. “Maybe they know the Joneses down the street, maybe they talk politics, maybe they walk their dogs together or see them at the park. Maybe they’re on the Little League team together. And maybe they didn’t even know that their friend was no longer Republican, but they know that they share conservative values.”

In Orange County, the largest withdrawal of Republicans from the party came in 2019, the year the voter registration advantage switched from a Republican to a Democratic plurality, Avila said.

Democrats have since widened the gap, accounting for 37.6% of the county’s registered voters, Republicans for 33.1% and no party preference for 23.5%, according to the Registrar of Voters.

Despite Democrats’ advantage, Republican candidates at the state and local level had a strong showing last year: Orange County voters chose Republican challenger Brian Dahle over incumbent Gov. Gavin Newsom as well as Republican candidates for lieutenant governor, secretary of state, controller, treasurer, attorney general and insurance commissioner.

“I think we have a strong advantage on no party preference voters and independents,” Avila said. “And especially in a presidential year, that’s going to depend on who our nominee is.”

The county Republican Party has already sent volunteers to canvass some of these former Republicans, “not for the point of registration but more of a fact-finding mission,” Avila said.

“When we talked to these voters at their doors, we asked them if they were willing to share with us the reason for their party change,” Avila said. “And we found basically an even split in three ways.”

The first group, he said, are individuals who weren’t aware they were registered as no party preference.

In the rollout of California’s “Motor Voter” program, which automatically registers eligible Californians completing a driver’s license, state identification or change of address transaction through the DMV to vote, the DMV made processing mistakes with 23,000 Californians, including assigning some to political parties they didn’t choose.

The Orange County Republicans’ data showed that some 13,000 Orange County Republican voters switched to no party preference through the DMV. Some have told OC GOP volunteers, Avila said, that their party preference was incorrectly changed at the DMV.

The remaining two groups, Avila said, are voters who feel the Republican Party is “changing in the wrong direction.” While one group believes the GOP “isn’t supporting Donald Trump enough,” there is another that felt the party is headed “too far toward” the former president, said Avila.

Part of the latter group is former Westminster councilmember and one-term state Rep. Tyler Diep, a former Republican who re-registered as no party preference in 2021, shortly after the Jan. 6 insurrection and attack on the Capitol.

“I was pretty appalled by what happened on Jan. 6 and then afterward when many of the leaders within the Republican Party downplayed the severity of that event,” Diep said. “It was the final straw for me as far as whether I belong in such a party anymore.”

Diep, who voted for President Joe Biden in 2020, said he isn’t sure who he’ll back this year — but it definitely won’t be Trump, he said. For now, he hopes Sen. Tim Scott, R-South Carolina, does well in the early-voting states.

“We’ll wait and see if anyone can overcome Donald Trump’s personality within the Republican Party,” Diep said.

If a candidate other than Trump seems to have a good chance, Diep said he won’t rule out the option of re-registering as a Republican to support that person.

“Like many other independents, we have to sit back and say, ‘What are our choices, and what other factors can influence our decision?’ I’m going to look at how President Biden handled the economy, inflation, the war in Ukraine,” said Diep. “Based on all of that, I’ll make my final decision sometime in October of next year.”

Despite the clear distinction between the two groups, Avila said, the county party isn’t planning on sending out differing messages to win voters back.

“We’re not going to go to folks who are highly supportive of President Trump, and tell them we’re pro-Trump, and then walk to their neighbor who’s anti-Trump and say something else,” said Avila. “Our singular message is you get to decide the direction of the party, and to do that, you have to participate to decide who’s going to be that standard bearer, who’s going to be our nominee going forward.”

Ada Briceño, chair of the Democratic Party of Orange County, said her party does voter registration year-round — whether that’s registering someone in a household who has not yet voted or ensuring an individual’s voter registration is as it was intended.

The Orange County Republican Party will kick off the first session of the training on Saturday, June 24, and continue on until next year’s March primary, Avila said. It will be a continuous effort, he said.

“Twenty-seven thousand is a big number,” Avila said. “It may not be that first knock on the door. It may be a phone call after building the relationship and the trust of that person to get them to change registration.”

Click here to read the full article in the OC Register

2022 CAGOP Convention: Renewed Optimism for California Republicans

A variety of factors are encouraging many California Republicans that 2022 will bring a tide of Republican wins this year

The 2022 CAGOP Convention opened in Anaheim on Friday.

During the first day candidates, delegates, guests and others said one word more than most: Optimism. Amid California facing worsening crime rates, a stagnating state government, low voter turnout, high gas prices, a higher cost of living, a housing shortage, wildfires, strangled businesses, more people leaving the state, California public schools losing students, and a whole host of other problems, those in the GOP are seeing 2022 as the first time in quite a long time that Republicans are able to start to come back in the state.

And not only that, but many are pointing at setting up ways for a stronger future party.

A need for greater voter turnout was brought up by many at the Convention. “In California it’s about getting voter to give a damn,” said Mike Netter, the Campaign Supervisor for Attorney General Candidate Eric Early. “During the 2020 Presidential election, LA County had a record number of people vote for president. But the Attorney General race had only just over half that. Over a  million people failed to check a box three races down.”

Netter, as well as many others, noted that turnout is high when candidates or Propositions stand out, but not so on other races.

Signage at the 2022 CAGOP Convention (Photo: Evan Symon for California Globe)

“A lot of people came out for propositions they cared about,” remarked one delegate to the Globe. “Prop. 16, the affirmative action one, comes to mind. A lot of people thought that would be a shoo-in because of how previous races went for turnout, but a lot of impassioned people came out and defeated Prop 16 handily. And that’s a big message: vote. Don’t just select the races and props you want then junk the rest. A lot of the largest decisions are made in some of the most local offices.”

“2020 had the largest turnout since 1952 in the state. That’s great. But that doesn’t mean anything if voters are only voting on one or two races. So it’s big that Republican candidates and their teams bring out the vote too.”

Netter also added that focus should also go to smaller races with important and powerful positions at stake, such as city leadership and the Attorney General, rather than just the bigger races.

“I challenge you to ask 10 people on the street who our current Attorney General is,” said Netter. “You’ll get one if you’re lucky. And they don’t realize just how important the Attorney General choice actually is.”

Increased diversity in the GOP

Another major point stressed by many at the convention, and one that many are proud to relate, is the rapidly increasing diversity of both the party and party candidates.

“For years, the GOP has held this stigma of being mainly white, maybe with a few Asian candidates, and only a few women,” explained Sharon, a convention guest to the Globe on Friday. “It’s not true, but that was what people thought. Look now. The worsening political climate and the natural diversification of California itself has drawn so many to the GOP that it can’t be ignored now. Not just race-wise either. A lot of women are running. The California GOP is actually making the Democrats look like the less diverse ones now.”

Tito, a volunteer for the Anthony Trimino for Governor campaign added, “California has a 38% Latino population. In a generation, it will be over half. Some Latinos, they hear of a candidate being a conservative Republican, they don’t want to hear it. But when I tell them that they are Cuban-Mexican, they’ll come back to listen.”

Multiple candidates and volunteers related stories that highlighted how conservative many Latinos are, especially those that are second generation or older.

“Those that initially come here don’t have much love for Republicans because they see them as the ones trying to bring them back or putting up walls to keep them out,” noted a volunteer for a County Republican Party. “But once in and established, you have business owners, heavy Catholics with strong abortion stances, and others who find a lot to like about the GOP. They’re a big part of the future of the GOP, and it’s already showing.”

A growing number of candidates and supporters have also been coming from the African American community, a longtime stronghold for the Democratic Party. Among those challenging Democratic candidates this June in the primaries are Allison Pratt, who hopes to take on Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) in the 43rd and Joe Collins, a Navy Veteran  taking on Ted Lieu (D-CA) in the 36th.

“We need to listen to our communities,” stressed Collins. “The cost of living, gas prices, affording a place to live. That is affecting every Californian regardless of other differences.”

Others noted the strong, if not majority, female presence within the GOP in recent years, with many Republican women entering races at all levels, including Jenny Rae Le Roux for Governor.

“I came out to California with nothing but my belongings inside a Honda,” said Le Roux. “And now I’m a California Mom making a difference. California is a diversifying state. My son here is in a Charter school with Spanish classes, and there is Newsom in Sacramento with his children in private schools. He’s out of touch on the situation.”

Le Roux, Pratt, and others also took pride in the “Mom” title, saying multiple times in interviews that they are Moms running for higher office.

“A lot of women  are really going for the ‘Mom’ part of their lives, and it’s a pretty strong connection for many,” continued Sharon. “A lot of women know that mothers can handle a lot, and men know who really run things. I can see why so many are pushing it this year.”

Many Californian Republicans eye a comeback

Finally, candidates are being a lot more flexible in terms of where they fall ideologically, with many focusing on the economy, crime, cost of living, as well as other important subjects not brought up by other parties.

2022 CAGOP Convention floor (Photo: Evan Symon for California Globe)

Eric Early, a candidate for Attorney General, noted the failure of Governor Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Rob Bonta in multiple investigations and not looking into many others.

“I would investigate state entities big time. I would investigate the EDD losing $30 billion. I would investigate the no-bid contracts Newsom okayed. I would look into the alliance of the California Teacher’s Association (CTA) and Newsom.”

“In 2018 we had an Attorney General candidate debate, but so far this year we have had no debate. We need to debate these people. We need to question why they have not investigated these problems with the state.”

Candidates themselves also went into how the shift away from a solely moderate stance has allowed many new candidates to enter races.

Click here to read the full article at the California Globe

With Trump, Against Cheney

House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy endorses primary challenger to the Wyoming Republican.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy endorsed the GOP primary challenger to Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney on Thursday, his latest show of fealty to former President Trump as Republicans try to take control of Congress.

McCarthy did not mention Cheney by name as he announced he was backing attorney Harriet Hageman in the August primary.

“The most successful representatives in Congress focus on the needs of their constituents, and throughout her career, Harriet has championed America’s natural resources and helped the people of Wyoming reject burdensome and onerous government overreach,” the Bakersfield Republican said.

Hageman — once a Cheney ally — did not hold back, saying that Cheney has become an ineffective leader and was being used by Democrats to “achieve their partisan goals.”

“Cheney is doing nothing to help us, she is actively damaging the Republican Party — both in Wyoming and nationally — and it’s time for her to go,” said Hageman, who has frequently battled the federal government over its environmental policies and unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2018.

A Cheney spokesman pointed to comments from prominent Wyoming journalists deriding the importance of a California politician’s endorsement to Hageman’s prospects.

“Wow, she must be really desperate,” spokesman Jeremy Adler said.

McCarthy’s move against Cheney is not surprising. Though Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, overwhelmingly supported Trump’s policies, she became an outspoken critic of his bogus claims that the 2020 election was rigged and of his role in urging his supporters to march to the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Click here to read the full article at LA Times

Excitement Surrounds CA GOP Prospects

Photo courtesy of DonkeyHotey, flickr

Photo courtesy of DonkeyHotey, flickr

When California Republican activists converged on the Anaheim Marriott in mid-September, they experienced something they hadn’t felt in years.

Excitement.

“It’s an exciting time for the delegates as we embark on a journey in 2016 by selling principles of limited government and holding the line on taxes,” said Allen Wilson, a delegate to the state party and member of the Los Angeles County Republican Central Committee. “That resonates with millions of Californians.”

Since former State Senator Jim Brulte took over the helm in 2013, the state party has made steady progress in picking up legislative seats and rebuilt its party operations. Last November, California Republicans defeated two Democratic incumbents — the first time in two decades that a Democratic incumbent has lost re-election to the Legislature.

Brulte also put Democrats on the defensive in the Central Valley, forcing the state party to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to rescue Assemblyman Adam Gray in his re-election campaign.

CA GOP will be tested in 2016

Although Brulte deserves credit for a shrewd campaign strategy and effective fundraising, Republicans’ legislative gains in 2014 were aided, in part, by a record low turnout. The 2014 electorate also skewed heavily toward older, more conservative voters.

According to an analysis by Political Data, Inc., less than 10 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds voted last November.

“In California, an 18- or 19-year-old was more likely to be arrested this year than actually vote in one of the statewide elections,” Paul Mitchell of Political Data, Inc., told KQED earlier this year.

Next year, Republicans won’t be so lucky, when the presidential election is expected to draw more young people to the polls.

But, this time around, state GOP activists say that the party is doing a better job of reaching the younger generation as demonstrated by the turnout at the state party convention.

“The most exciting thing is to see the numbers of young people in attendance,” said Dr. Alexandria Coronado, a longtime Republican activist and former president of the Orange County Board of Education. “They are energized and ready to work for the conservative cause.”

CA GOP: “No Longer in Hospice Care”

Republicans have reason to be optimistic, but state political observers say the party still has a long way to go.

“The California Republican Party used to exist in the hospice care of American politics, but now they’re undergoing plastic surgery,” said John Phillips, an Orange County Register columnist and co-host of “The Drive Home with Jillian Barberie and John Phillips” on KABC AM 790. “Unfortunately, it’s the doctor that did Kanye West’s mom.”

Phillips believes that Republicans’ best chance is to embrace “tough on crime,” fiscal conservatives.

“If they want to expand the base, they need to run fiscal conservatives who are hard on criminals and are social libertarians,” Phillips said. “Otherwise, have fun handing over control of the state to the SEIU.”

That approach has worked in San Diego, where Mayor Kevin Faulconer has achieved sky-high popularity. There’s even talk that Faulconer won’t draw a major Democratic opponent in 2016.

Nearly one hundred delegates and guests made the short journey up from San Diego County and shared their optimism with their fellow GOP activists from around the Golden State.

“I’d say the convention was a success as we re-adopted a solid, conservative platform and adopted a common sense rule to skip two conventions in the ‘on’ year,” said San Diego County Republican Chairman Tony Krvaric. “A lot will depend on how the presidential race develops, but I’m very optimistic about our chances to have a ‘Republican wave’ in 2016 which will have reverberations all the way down the ticket.”

That positive attitude was echoed throughout the convention halls.

“This working weekend made me realize how far we have come,” former Downey city councilman Mario A. Guerra, who ran a strong but unsuccessful State Senate campaign in 2014, wrote on Facebook, “and how much more we need to do here in California.”

Originally published by CalWatchdog.com

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