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FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Katy Grimes

California’s ‘Grand Theft Election’

On election night, California Republicans were heading for victories. Less than one month later, while ballots arestillbeing counted, half of California’s Republican Congressional races were flipped by Democrat challengers, none of whom have ever held an elected public office.

Republicans lost election night leads for five members of Congress, three state Assembly races, two state Senate seats and a Board of Equalization candidate, Shawn Steelwrotein a column this week.

Assembly Republicans nowtotal only 20 out of 80 members of the Assembly, and Senate Republicans aredownto 11 members out of 40 Senators, for a grand total of 31 elected Republicans out of 140 total legislators in all of… Read More

Katy Grimes

LGBT Republican Group Wins Charter in California Republican Party

The California Republican Party convention this weekend was devoid much drama until Sunday. A vote on whether the Log Cabin Republicans would be officially chartered as a Republican volunteer organization elicited excitement and furor. The Log Cabin Republicans are a group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Republicans, won the delegate vote overwhelmingly 861 to 293. It wasn’t even close, which begs the question, “why not just change the bylaws?”

Skipping Formalities?

There have been news stories recognizing that in order for the Log Cabin Republicans to make any change within the Party structure,… Read More

Katy Grimes

Election 2014: Democrats Spent Political Capital Without Reinvesting

Democrats lost big in the November 2014 midterm elections. And their money folks lost even bigger. The country’s largest teachers unions spent nearly $60 million of their members’ money on the failed 2014 midterms elections.

What the 2014 results suggest is the significance of electing the first black president no longer applies. And it will not apply again in 2016.

The hysterical racial appeals to cultivate black voters failed. The “War on Women” failed. And that’s all they have. There are no back-benchers for the Democrats right now; they have been spending their capital without reinvesting.

Dems’ Aging Bench

“Democrats have… Read More

Edward Ring

Conservative Politicians and Public Safety Unions

As reported by investigative journalist John Hrabe, conservative gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly has accepted money from public safety unions in his legislative campaigns. His support from unions wasn’t a momentary lapse in judgement. As cited in Hrabe’s reports, his past candidacies have also benefited from independent expenditure campaigns funded by public sector unions. To not report Donnelly’s actions here would be negligent. But Donnelly’s not alone.

An assembly candidate from Orange County, conservative Keith Curry,recently lost the endorsement of the conservative Orange County Lincoln Clubfor accepting a donation from theOrange County Firefighters Union. Apart from the Orange County Lincoln Club’s dramatic decision to hold Curry accountable, none of this is news. While public sector unions virtually control the Democratic party in California through campaign contributions and lobbying, public safety unions spread their money around to… Read More

Edward Ring

A Policy Agenda for Union Reformers Stuck Inside Unions

“I believe there is a different way – and that is to work with the Republican members of every labor union and help empower those Republican union members to put additional pressure on their union leadership to spend Republican dues money on Republican causes.” – Jim Brulte, Chairman, California State Republican Party

Well that’s one way. And if you are tasked with reviving a political party that is financially challenged, ideologically conflicted, with dwindling membership and almost no power in the state legislature,you face tough choices.

The concept of constructive engagement with members of labor unions is a good one, although recognizing the validity of the concept is not the same as endorsing specific tactics. If unions, especially public sector unions, begin to financially support both major political parties more equally, anyone who believes in limited government will be in for a long, cold winter of cascading disappointments. There will still be choices for voters. They will vote Republican to expand the security state. Or they will vote Democrat to expand the welfare state. And crony capitalists, already on the… Read More

Edward Ring

Why Did the California State GOP Accept Donations from Public Sector Unions?

As reported in the Sacramento Bee on Sept. 26 “Teachers union, SEIU open wallets to California Republican Party,” in recent weeks the California Teachers Association donated the California GOP $15,000, the SEIU Local 1000 donated $10,000, and the California Correctional Peace Officers Association donated another $25,000. Representatives of all three of these powerful public sector unions were present at the GOP convention in Anaheim last weekend.

As a proportion of total GOP fundraising in California in 2013, $50,000 is small potatoes. Under the leadership of their new chairman Jim Brulte, theCalifornia GOP has raised over $3.0 million so far in 2013, enough to pay off their debts and put them onto viable financial footing. As a proportion of total public sector union political spending in California, $50,000 is even smaller potatoes. Just the CTA, with 325,000 members who on average pay over $1,000 per year in dues – about 30% of which is used for political activities – spends around $100 million per year to… Read More