Monday, November 23, 2015

Election 2016: California Young Republicans Working Together

The California Republican Party has been declared moribund, ineffective, irrelevant, even Dead on Arrival. Yet Election Year 2014 proved the political status quo all wrong. Otherwise unknown or unnoticed candidates scored remarkably well. Republicans elected to state office in Sacramento stoppped the Democratic supermajority for the next legislative term.

In 2015, more Republicans got elected to local office, particularly in Democratic enclaves like Hawthorne, CA.

Now Election 2016 nears, and already the myth of the GOP standing for "Grandpas and Old Politicos" is falling away. Ten Congressional seats are up for grabs or targeted for change. Assembly Republican incumbents and candidates are heading into next year strong and ready to win. The California Republican Party has a chance to win a US Senate seat for the first time in over twenty years.

And in the South Bay of Los Angeles County, two young Hispanic Republicans showed principled unity to help their and our party's chances of winning two more Congressional seats next year,

Chris Castillo (Left) and Omar Navarro (Right)
As of today, Chris Castillo of Wilmington and Omar Navarro of Torrance are running for Congress in Southwestern Los Angeles County, one seeking an open seat, and another challenging a faded incumbent who has quieted down in the last four years.

However, for the past six months, California Republicans were bracing for these two young men to compete with each other to replace Congresswoman Janice Hahn (D-San Pedro) in Congressional District 44:

Despite the superficially daunting registration numbers in this district, then chances of a competitive race have grown. Democrats are taking hard hits across the country, including California. Democratic voters want hope and change -- for real -- and the current Occupant in the White House promised much, delivered little, and has left the American public with next to nothing.

In Congressional District 44, three Democrats are already tangling for the win, including heavily funded state senator Isadore Hall (who recently won the 35th state senate seat last December). His main challenger, former mayor Nanette Barragan of Hermosa Beach, has attracted high-profile endorsements from hard-left Congressional representatives and state lawmakers. Activists and political consultants in the region have already slammed Barragan as a "carpet-bagger" since she lived in the South Bay for the greater part of her public life, and once claimed that Hermosa Beach was her ideal home. Barragan will face an uphill climb trying to explain to San Pedro to South Gate constituents that she is "one of them."
As for Isadore Hall, his office has faced controversy and scrutiny before. His record is the standard Democratic Establishment politician, pro-Big Business but trying to play progressive., He has raised lots of money, but will face lots of attacks and heavy hits from his left.

The third Democrat, Marcus Musante, ran for LA County District Attorney on a decriminalization platform, Touting his pro bono legal services to minority communities in Compton and South Gate, Musante is playing the underdog card, and could siphon enough votes away from Hall and Barragan to allow one Republican into the Top Two after the June 7th, 2016 primary.

Only one Republican. however.

As of recently, there were two Republicans running in the 44th, and their chances would have cancelled them both out. When I learned that Navarro was running in the San Pedro seat, I fired back: "You should have run in the 43rd, against Maxine Waters (D-Torrance)."

A number of problems faced the long-time Torrance Republican by choosing to run in a district outside of "the Balanced City". He did not live there, and another candidate was already getting hit with the opportunist "outsider" carpet-bagger card. He would have to move into the district to seem viable. Those kinds of expenses drag down an already underdog campaign. As for Castillo, he already lived in the district, and knew people in the region. He had already declared his candidacy for the seat before I learned about Omar's bid. Three times over the next few weeks, I teased Navarro: "You should be running against Waters!" I told other conservative politicos in Torrance: "He should be running against the 'Crazy Black Lady'".

Two week ago, I met with Navarro to discuss forming a website promoting Republican legislative candidates in California. His friend and campaign supporter Aurelio Mattucci accompanied him to the meeting. We talked about building a social media narrative of strong Republican contenders taking back California and restoring the Golden State's once gilded glory.

Then our conservation veered toward Navarro's decision to run in the 44th instead of the 43rd. I started relating to him that switching his fight to his home district would cut down on costs and disruptions in his private life. He would build on his following in Torrance and reach out to other local groups. If he did not win the Congressional seat in 2016, he could gather his supporters within Torrance and work towards helping his community or running for city council. I further reminded him that he was already tainted with carpetbagger status. Aurelio pointed out that his campaign would clash and cancel out Castillo's bid, and two Democrats in CD-44 would certainly advance into the Top Two for the general election.

Navarro listened, and agreed to bow out of the 44th, provided that Castillo paid for the costs which he had already accrued in running for the San Pedro seat. Castillo obliged graciously, and even affirmed to me that if a conflict like this one happened again, he would be the first to bow out.

So now two young Hispanic Republican Congressional candidates will be competing in two different seats rather than than hurting their chances fighting each other in one.

This kind of principled unity is my guiding light for Election 2016, and I am glad that I could assist two rising Republican starts increase their chances, improve their state, and instruct other California Republicans to work together for the best of the state and their party.

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