CRP Blog

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

CRP Mourns Loss of Scott Stewart

One of the brightest stars of last year's successful campaign was Scott Stewart, who served in effect as the Chief Information Officer of the Victory campaign. Scott suddenly passed away this week in Phoenix.

I remember spending what seemed like hours in the Burbank headquarters talking to Scott about all facets of database design and management, which was a huge part of our campaign last year. Scott had a keen understanding of both technology and politics, and a personality that made it easy to discuss either.

Below is Scott's obituary. Please take a moment to remember someone whom we truly valued as a member of the CRP family.

Scott Stewart joined his Lord on July 28, 2007 in Phoenix, Arizona. Scott was born in 1963 and was a graduate of Cactus High School in 1983 and Northern Arizona University in 1989. Scott was preceded in death by his father Wally Stewart.

Scott was active with the Arizona and California Republican parties and served both over the past twenty years. He is survived by his mother, Marlee J. Stewart of Peoria, Az. and his brother Randy, niece, Hannah, nephews David and Jonathan of Roslyn, New York.

A memorial service will be at Sovereign Grace Church, 1280 N. Cooper Rd., Gilbert, AZ. 85233 at 11:00 a.m. on August 2, 2007.

The Family has requested donations in lieu of flowers be made to Sovereign Grace Church (1280 N. Cooper Rd., Gilbert, AZ. 85233) or Kids Chance of Arizona Organization (P.O. Box 36753, Phoenix, AZ 85067-6753).

Monday, July 30, 2007

Initiative Filed to Award Electoral College Votes by District

An initiative has been filed with the Secretary of State that would award California's electoral college votes in the Presidential election by Congressional District, as opposed to the current method of winner-takes-all statewide. It's currently at the Attorney General's office awaiting title and summary, and language can be found by clicking here.

The initiative isn't presently supported by the CRP: Historically, the party considers taking a position on initiatives only once they qualify for the ballot. The reason for this is simple: the vast majority of initiatives filed never make it to the ballot in the first place.

So far, only two initiatives have qualified for the February 2008 ballot: one would require transportation funds be used for transportation, while the other concerns community colleges.

The idea of awarding electoral college votes by Congressional District is not new: Maine and Nebraska allocate their votes this way. This could get interesting...

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Report from College Republican Conference at Reagan Library

Our California College Republicans are one really impressive group.

This morning I enjoyed speaking with the CRs on a variety of issues, including Iraq, the Global War on Terror, the 2008 campaign, and the important role College Republicans have played in campaigns throughout California. They just wrapped up a two day statewide conference in Simi Valley.

Last year, the CRs were critical to victory in several special election campaigns where Republicans won, including the 50th Congressional District election, and the San Diego City Council District #2 election where victory added a Republican to that council.

In addition to providing ground troops to supplement the local Republican ground operation, CR chapters are helping to give the next generation of Republican activists and leaders the practical experience that gives them an advantage when they choose to remain politically active after college.

Nationally, the California College Republicans are among the best organized in the country. Ryan Clumpner and his team continue to take the group to the next level, following in the footsteps of his predecessors Stephen Puetz and Michael Davidson, who really raised the bar.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Join us for Latino Republican event in LA on Saturday

The Republican National Hispanic Assembly is a critical and growing part of building our Republican ranks in California, especially in counties like Los Angeles.

If you're a Republican in LA, please join me and RNHA's LA chapter for a picnic at Henry Acuna Park at 1700 W. Victoria in Montebello from 10 AM to 4 PM. For more information or to RSVP, send an email to John Quintanilla at

To learn more about the Republican National Hispanic Assembly in California, click here.

Say again? Perata Now Against Name Calling?

Here's a gem from this morning's SacBee story on the state budget situation:

Perata...urged Schwarzenegger to keep the situation from escalating into name calling, as it did Wednesday with Perata accusing Republicans of "fiscal terrorism" for demanding more cuts. (emphasis added)

This might be called, "stop me before I name call again."

That's right, the same people who claim to be all about "tolerance" all day, every day, are also the first ones to start calling people they disagree with on policy "terrorists." It's hard to miss the hypocrisy.

Either you're for tolerating alternative points of view and having a robust debate that leads to a compromise and a balanced budget, or everyone who disagrees with you is a "terrorist" -- pick one, guys.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Building a Republican Majority: Progress in California's Jewish Communities

Republicans in California are determined to build, over time, a lasting Republican majority in California. Achieving this goal requires our party to build coalitions with many of the voter groups that have not traditionally, or recently, supported Republican candidates.

The Republican National Hispanic Assembly, California Black Republican Council, and Asian American Republican groups, among others, are all central to these efforts.

Building Republican support among California's one million Jewish voters is the chief responsibility of the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC), which has taken on this mission with extreme seriousness, and is demonstrating undeniable success.

California's RJC membership has grown from 1,500 to over 8,500 in the last several years, and is increasingly active in local campaigns and county Republican committees through their 10 chapters throughout the state.

Nationally, the Republican share of the Jewish vote has grown significantly in recent years, from a low of 10% in 1992 to 16% in 1996, to 19% in 2000, to 25% in 2004. In his re-election campaign last year, Governor Schwarzenegger garnered almost 50% support from Jewish voters. Demographically, Jewish men under 40 years old are now roughly evenly split among Republicans and Democrats.

Why the success? Part of it is organizational, with the RJC and its allies reaching into synagogues and community centers where Democrats used to hold a monopoly. Part is issue-driven, as the strong anti-terror policies and support for Israel by the Bush Administration has resonated with Jewish voters whose allegiance to the Democrats has been in decline.

In California, Republican Assemblyman Joel Anderson's Iran Divestiture bill has caught the acute attention of Jewish leaders. When I met with former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday night, he instantly raised the issue of Assemblyman Anderson's bill the moment I mentioned California. Divesting California's pension funds from Iran improves the security of those funds, and helps in aiding the Global War on Terror. Iran is the chief sponsor of Hezbollah, Israel's primary threat from the north.

Meanwhile, Democrats continue with their missteps in alienating Jewish voters, most recently with Nancy Pelosi's visit to Syria and associated assertion that Democrats should have their own, "independent" foreign policy. Jimmy Carter didn't do his party any favors when he claimed Israel's policies are worse than apartheid in South Africa. Six former ambassadors have called on Carter to step down as the Honorary Chair of Democrats Abroad. (Article)

Domestically, Republican policies of economic growth, plus school choice and competition, increasingly resonate with Jewish voters, while the radical left's call for sanctions and divestiture from Israel continues to drive many to reconsider their partisan allegiance.

While growth in this important community will take time, the trend is unmistakable. Among elected officials, Democrats like Barbara Boxer are the past, while Republicans like Steve Poizner are the future.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Technology Making Some Campaign Rules Obsolete

I'll have a longer article on this shortly, but here's an important dynamic we're seeing in the 2008 campaign.

Political campaigns are about communications, and the technological revolution we're experiencing now is having a dramatic impact on how we wage those campaigns, and campaign rules can't keep up.

Here's just one example: The anti-Hillary ad that mimics Apple's famous "1984" Macintosh ad has, as of this morning, been viewed 3.5 million times on YouTube. No discliamer. No "I'm somebodyorother and I approved this message." "No 'Paid for by..." text at the bottom. Nothing. Over 3 million people have seen it, yet because it's not "broadcast" (an increasingly meaningless term), the disclaimer rules don't apply.

By comparison, a cheap-o ad naming a federal candidate that runs one time on cable and is viewed by six insomniacs at 3 AM on a Wednesday night would have to be paid for with federal funds, from a federal committee, filing with the FEC, and feature the whole litany of disclaimers, disclosures, and other rules if during the federal election campaign period, etc.

The ad seen by 3 million people, no rules. The ad seen on "broadcast" TV by a few people at 3 AM: all kinds of rules apply.

To see the anti-Hillary ad I mentioned, click here. Very clever.

College Republicans Gather This Weekend

This weekend I'm looking forward to spending time with our College Republican leaders at their Reagan Library retreat and conference in Simi Valley.

The California College Republicans have proven to be not only an important part of the Republican future in California, but the Republican present as well. CRs are learning the skills necessary for fighting and winning Republican campaigns in California, while at the same time contributing to present day victories around the state.

In my home county, where we had seven special elections in 18 months, CRs came in from around the state to provide additional ground troops that were essential to success for such newly Republican elected officials as Congressman Brian Bilbray and San Diego Councilman Kevin Faulconer.

On campus, CRs are providing balance to liberalism both inside and outside of the classroom. Take a look at the recent polling on where college faculty fall on the political spectrum, and the need for effective CR groups to provide ideological balance becomes clear. At UC Berkeley, hardly a conservative bastion, the CRs have consistently proven to be the largest campus student organization (!), and probably the best organized.

Ryan Clumper today leads the state College Republicans, following in the footsteps of Stephen Puetz (who today works for Assemblyman Martin Garrick), and Michael Davidson (who leads Generation Next). Special recognition goes to Michael Davidson for setting the world class standards to which the California CRs continue to meet.

For more information on the College Republicans in California, visit their website at

Monday, July 23, 2007

YRFC Elects New Leadership

Our friends at the Young Republican Federation of California (YRFC) elected new leadership at the state convention in Anaheim this weekend. Ben Lopez of San Bernardino County takes the helm of the state Young Republicans group, following Shawn Fago, who is also the Associate Representative at the California Republican Party.

I've posted the press release below.

As a sidenote, I'm sure there were some very good reasons that people felt very passionately about decades ago when the state Young Republicans split into two groups, the California Young Republicans and the Young Republican Federation of California. Perhaps today's YR leaders should consider whether the original reasons for the split up are still valid today, or if the members of both groups would be part of a stronger organization if they were to merge. Perhaps our upcoming convention would be a good time to have the conversation?

Young Republican Federation of California Elects New Board of Directors,
San Bernardino County's Ben Lopez Unanimously Elected Chairman

Garden Grove, California—“With so many grassroots opportunities expected this Presidential election cycle and young Republicans coming out of the woodwork, we need to redouble our efforts to increase membership and increase the number of YR clubs in order to organize and galvanize volunteers now,” said newly elected Chairman Ben Lopez of San Bernardino County. “By standing completely united in electing our new board unanimously, the Young Republican Federation of California has made it clear that they are serious about electing more conservatives to office, increasing members in their ranks, and becoming an even more formidable force within our Grand Old Party. YRFC’s place at the table will be solidified.”

At their Convention & Annual Awards Dinner held at the Crowne Plaza Anaheim Resort in Garden Grove, on the weekend of July 21, 2007, delegates organized together from across the state and selected the nine elected officers for the 2007-2009 Young Republican Federation of California (YRFC) Board of Directors. In a display of unity they elected Lopez as Chair unanimously and the remaining 8 officers. Lopez replaces outgoing Chairman Matthew Harper who ran the organization since his election in 2005.

The YRFC convention featured speakers including National Committeeman Tim Morgan, former CRP Chair Shawn Steel, California Republican Lawyer’s Association President Steve Baric, CRP Vice Chair Tom DelBeccaro, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher and nationally syndicated radio talk show host Dennis Prager.

At its Annual Awards Dinner Assemblyman Chuck Devore received the “YRFC Legislator of the Year Award” and the Orange County Young Republicans, represented by their President Shawn Fago, received the “YRFC Club of the Year Award.” CRP Regional Vice Chair Jon Fleischman received the “YRFC Founders’ Award” and Congressman Dana Rohrabacher received the “Dan Quayle Badge of Honor Award.” Longtime YRFC member Katie Hansen of San Diego County received the “Brian C. Porter Activist of the Year Award” for her many years of leadership within the organization serving in state board positions and local board positions in Kern and San Diego counties.


“YRFC members come out of this convention energized and determined as ever to seize every opportunity laid before us and face every challenge head on,” Lopez added. “The rank and file members of this great organization should rest assured that this new Board is committed to ensuring their progress and success.”

When addressing attendees at the Awards Dinner, newly elected Chairman Ben Lopez closed his remarks by saying, “We cannot succeed without the collective effort and help from us all. It’s onward and upward from here my friends!”

Other members of the YRFC elected to the Board of Directors were:

Vice Chairman: Shawn Fago of Orange County
Secretary: Jaime Huff of Sacramento County
Assistant Secretary: Samantha Harrison of Ventura County
Treasurer: Kenya Davis-Hayes of Riverside County
Assistant Treasurer: Stephen Puetz of San Diego County
National Committeeman: Adam Abrahms, Esq. of Los Angeles County
National Committeewoman: Tiffany Delepine of Orange County
Communications Director: Kyle Tibbits of Ventura County

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Pete Wilson: Alive and Well, and Still an Example

I received an interesting message on my cell phone yesterday: a news anchor was calling to determine whether it was true that former Gov. Wilson had passed away. The second message on my phone was from the same anchor, a few minutes later, announcing the all clear, that Gov. Wilson was alive and well.

I ran into Gov. Wilson and Bob White recently -- the Governor looked fine and seemed at the top of his game as ever. Ditto for Bob.

While we're talking about the former Governor, now's a good time to point out that he's an example of the importance of electing Republican leaders to local government. As Mayor of that small town on the coast called San Diego, Wilson put many Republican ideas of private enterprise and redevelopment into action, helping to reinvigorate a downtown that had gotten a little "down." His initiatives ultimately led to such landmarks as Horton Plaza, a world class waterfront including the convention center, and even helped set the stage for the new ballpark.

While putting Republican ideas into action, Pete Wilson built a successful track record locally that helped him win election to the US Senate, and later two terms as governor.

Thanks, Pete, for your leadership -- and we're thrilled to have you with us, despite the weekend rumors to the contrary!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Jim Gilmore: Friend of the Republican Party

The CRP is officially neutral in the Republican presidential primary, as it should be. Further, as Chairman I generally avoid commenting on individual candidates or campaigns, this to avoid the appearance of favoring one candidate over another. We're for whomever our national convention nominates -- in the meantime, they're all better than Hillary Clinton.

That having been said, it's easier to comment on a candidate once they are no longer in the running.

This weekend, former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore exited the presidential primary contest, citing the enormous financial challenge posed by the compressed primary schedule. Gone are the days when a candidate can focus on a few early primary contests and build the momentum needed to build a campaign during a months-long primary schedule. The barriers to entry in this market have been vastly expanded.

Governor Gilmore is a great friend to the Republican Party as a result of his long record of putting Republican ideas into action as Virginia Attorney General, Governor, and as Chairman of the Republican National Committee. I've known Governor Gilmore for many years, and had the opportunity to personally witness his principled leadership when he chaired the federal Internet Tax Commission (formally known as the Advisory Commission on Electronic Commerce), where he steered the body in a firmly anti-tax direction.

The word on the street is Gov. Gilmore may again run for Virginia Governor (the state has a one-term limit for governor, but it's not a lifetime ban, just a prohibition on consecutive terms), or for the U.S. Senate in the event Sen. Warner (R) steps down.

In any case, Gov. Gilmore is a principled leader with a demonstrated record of success, and we look forward to seeing him in office again in the future.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Republican Jewish Coalition Takes Over Reagan Library for a Day

The Republican Jewish Coalition is growing fast throughout California, with the latest evidence being Sunday's huge event at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley.

Natan Sharansky and Hugh Hewitt headlined the RJC's sold-out Annual Summer Celebration, drawing over 600 attendees from all over California, and as far away as Chicago and New York.

In the last few years, we've witnessed tremendous growth in the number of Jews identifying with the Republican Party and our principles. The RJC is well-respected, and represents the Jewish community to Republican officials and party leaders throughout America. They're a key part of our growing coalition in California.

To learn more about the Republican Jewish Coalition, click here.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Report from Stanislaus County

Congratulations to the Republican Party of Stanislaus County and Chair Joan Clendenin for great work in building the party in this part of the Central Valley. We had a good discussion at this week's committee meeting on a range of issues, mainly the 2008 presidential campaign, and it was particularly encouraging to see how many people beyond the members of the county committee who are now being drawn to the party's monthly event.

Special thanks to former Chairman (and current Supervisor) Jim DeMartini for his years of service in building the party in Stanislaus County.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Congrats to Rep Party of LA County

I love Los Angeles.

Where else in the world can you run into Hulk Hogan and Jesse Jackson in the lobby of your hotel in the morning, and attend a first class Republican Party fundraiser featuring Robert Davi in the evening?

Congratulaitons go to the Republican Party of Los Angeles County for their stellar fundraising dinner last Thursday night at the Beverly Hilton Hotel honoring Bert Boeckman and his wife Jane, plus superstar Republican Supervisor Mike Antonovich. Richard Riordan spoke, following his introduction by former CRP Chairman Shawn Steel. Another former Chairman, Frank Visco, was also in attendance, as was Sheriff Lee Baca, RNC Finance Chairman Elliot Broidy, State Senate Candidate Tony Strickland, Lincoln Club leader Robert Virtue, Ventura County Chairman Mike Osborn, and numerous other candidates and elected officials.

The Republican Party of Los Angeles County continues to gain strength and momentum under the leadership of Linda Boyd, whose husband Doug represents the county on the CRP Board of Directors. The party has consistently emphasized voter registration programs in concert with the Los Angeles County Lincoln Clubs, with whom the party has an excellent relationship.

Congratulations again to the LA County Party for an excellent fundraising event.

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