While Republicans lost majorities in the House and Senate nationally, locally California continues to be an extremely Democratic state, so where does that leave the Republican Party locally?
For the first time in 14 years, the Republican Central Committee elected a new chair of the party, Paula Whitsell. She says while some Republicans at the national level broke rank to vote to impeach former President Trump, she believes he will continue to be a major influence on the party in the years to come.
“For the most part President Trump is going to be a strong figure in the Republican Party, 75 million people voted for him and you just can’t ignore the force that he has over the party and it’s been a positive force,” Whitsell said.
She says Republicans are looking at the potential of a special statewide election for Governor as an opportunity since there wouldn’t be a runoff – whichever candidate gets the most votes wins.
“I think Gavin Newsom has made his own bed and the reason why this is even gaining momentum is because he’s clearly lacked in leadership, his rollout of the vaccine program has been uneven and chaotic,” she said, about the effort to recall the Governor.
She says following the signature gathering effort to recall the governor, the next priority for the party locally will be to focus on getting businessman Marco Contreras elected in the 79th Assembly District, a seat that is vacant now that Shirley Weber was appointed California Secretary of State.
After that, she says the party will be putting its energy into getting Supervisor Jim Desmond re-elected in District 5 next year. She says Republicans can’t afford to lose another supervisor’s seat, especially now that the board has flipped to a Democratic majority for the first time in thirty years.
“You never want to see a seat flip for sure, you have to be realistic and understand that when a seat like that flips you can’t just ignore it and pretend like it doesn’t exist,” she said.
Here in San Diego, 4,700 registered Republicans left the party in January, twice the number that left in December. It’s still only about 1% of the total number of registered Republicans in this area.