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Jon Fleischman

Assembly GOP Can Unite Around Firing Mayes Without Picking A Replacement Right Away

Members of the Assembly Republican Caucus will soon gather to decide whether or not to remove Chad Mayes as their leader. Enough has been written elsewhere about why Mayes should go, but even though there haas been a truly unified statewide movement within Republican donors and activists around California calling for his resignation or removal, Mayes has signaled that he has no plans of leaving of his own accord. He is unrepentant with regards to his deeds.

If Mayes is removed or resigns as the GOP Leader in the Assembly then healing can begin. It will start with a dialogue, led by a new leader, about how we can be sure we won’t end up back in this same situation in the future.

But if Mayes refuses to resign and a majority of the caucus will not remove him — then it is an indication that the problem is a much broader, and deeper one. It means that at least a majority of Assembly Republicans endorse what he did. It means that there is a cavernous and perhaps catastrophic difference of opinion that will likely manifest itself in the elections next June. At a minimum Mayes’ continued service as Leader will mean a California GOP that will sink further into disarray — suffering from a crisis in leadership.

I will say that the Assembly Republican Caucus shouldn’t get caught up in who will replace Mayes, but rather united in the resolve that Mayes himself must go. This requires passing a motion to vacate the chair at the upcoming caucus meeting. If Mayes is removed then Caucus Chairman James Gallagher would be the acting leader until/ a replacement is selected by the caucus.

There is precedent for this from back in 2009. When then Senate GOP Leader Dave Cogdill announced he’d agreed to a budget deal that included a massive tax increase, GOP Senators wanted to dump him – like immediately. They did so by passing a motion to vacate the chair. It passed and so Senate Caucus Chairman George Runner became the acting leader, for just a little while. But things sorted themselves out quickly and Dennis Hollingsworth was subsequently elected Senate GOP Leader.

The decision here is in the hands of 25 Assembly Republicans. Either a healing process will begin in the next day, or look for a doubling down on angst that is focused on those who wouldn’t step up to make the needed change.