“It’s a great day to be a Republican in Maryland!”, Governor Larry Hogan declared on the steps of the Annapolis governor’s mansion. He could have added about Republicans’ improving fortunes in deep blue Illinois and Massachusetts, where Republican Governors Bruce Rauner and Charlie Baker are pushing back Big Labor and keeping Big Government in check.
Hogan should extend his cheer to California and throughout the country. With President Obama’s illiberal, regressive agenda pushing out Democrats from elected office all over the country, even California conservatives are feeling optimistic about their chances. I attended my first Los Angeles County Central Committee meeting in Culver City, CA. The chairman and the board related more good news. Open state senate seats abound for the taking for the first time in years, with five up for grabs in Los Angeles County alone. Even former CA GOP Chairman and current US candidate Duf Sundheim expressed surprise and admiration for the Los Angeles County Central Committee board and team members. Republicans from all over Los Angeles County are raising money, raising their profile, and rising to the occasion to engage our base, extend our outreach, and expand our influence in one of the bluest states in the union.
Form the central committee meeting to the airport, I offered Sundheim a ride. Along the way, he sounded off optimistic about the California Republican Party’s opportunities for expansion. First, though, I had to share some somber news from one local businessman: “California is doomed”, the small business owner told me. Duf’s answer? “No, California is not doomed!” Some of the Republicans close to my home have thrown up their hands and lamented to me in private: “There is no way a Republican can enter the Top Two let alone win the general election for US Senate next year”. Duf duffed such pessimism: “I would not have run if I did not see a pathway to win.” He then outlined his steps to succeed in the primary and fight the Democrats for a US Senate seat which they have held in California for three decades.
Sundheim’s hope for the future resonated with me, and are catching fire in the minds of activists in Los Angeles and throughout the state. I told him about our work in Huntington Park, CA putting pressure on the rogue city council which appointed two illegal aliens to city commissions. He is looking further into joining our protests in months to come.
Along with Duf, other California Republicans are gaining momentum for campaigns to come. One South Los Angeles, Republican, William Rodriguez-Morrison is running to replace the current state senate President in Sacramento, and Democrats are stepping up to donate to his campaign. Why? They share his conservative principles, including the Latino community’s growing frustration with illegal immigration and non-enforcement of the law. California’s legislative districts, state and federal, are getting more challengers in 2016 across the board. Don’t believe me? The National Republican Congressional Committee has already identified five potential pick-ups in California. Beyond that, more California Democratic congressional representatives are choosing to retire rather than seek reelection and sit in the minority for another term. Those self-imposed retirees include Lois “bust a” Capps of Santa Barbara and Sam Farr of Monterey County. With so many liberals fleeing Washington, the Democratic Party will be spending millions they do not have to defend seats which they could easily lose.
Presidential politics are warming up in Sunny SoCal, too. Despite the Golden State’s not-so-golden status as one of the last states in the Presidential primary, I am encouraged that LA Republicans are excited about Cruz. The Downtown LA-Hollywood political phalanx often pitted Democrats against Democrats, while Republicans would make a statement, run a race, then disappear following another set of secluded losses. Today, Republicans in LA are getting active and standing with conservative standard-bearers who will defend life and liberty, national interests and local control.
And then there’s me. With ten excellent Republican presidential candidates still contending, I have settled for three: Bobby Jindal of Louisiana as my first pick, followed by Ted Cruz and Rand Paul. A strong governor, and two strong-willed, gifted US Senators have rallied the grassroots while scaring the establishment.
Could anyone imagine a conservative US Senator from Texas igniting a spirited following in California? Let’s not forget that Cruz visited the Tonight Show, and rocked the audience. Billboards and posters popped up all over the Southland, with a cool, bare-chested Cruz leaning back, ready to defy the politicized status quo. As for the Democrats, their three remaining contenders are a trio of ailing senior citizens out-lefting each other with who can promise more free stuff with money that this country does not have. O’Malley dines with illegals, Bernie Sanders plays socialist Santa Claus, and Hillary Clinton, the grandma who can’t operate two email accounts or tell the truth, is the weakest Democratic front-runner in decades. Can anyone say “McGovern”?
Today, I can echo the warm sentiments of Governor Hogan, Duf Sundheim, and more conservatives across the country: “It’s a great day to be a Republican in California, and in the USA!”