Another California Republican defection: Former party leader bails on the GOP

In late October the Board of Directors of the California Republican Assembly took up the question of endorsements for partisan office, from Assembly to State Senate and Congress.  A variety of names were proposed—all passed unanimously, except for one which was separated from the main motion.

A motion for the California Republican Party to endorse Chad Mayes for re-election to the State Assembly was made by Assemblywoman Waldron, and seconded by Central Valley Regional Vice Chair Lisa Moreno.  This was done even though Mayes had publically denounced President Trump.  Even though Mayes has stated that if Trump is re-nominated, he, Mayes would leave the Party.  This motion was made even though Mayes voted for and got six other GOP’ers to vote for Cap and Trade, to give hundreds of millions in new taxes each year to the choo choo to nowhere.

This is the same Chad Mayes the Board had censured and demanded leave the post of Minority Leader –while questions abounded about his use of tax dollars involving an illicit affair with a colleague in the Assembly (the husband of the Assemblywoman made this public when he filed a complaint with the Speaker of the Assembly asking about the taxpayers costs for the affair and an Ethics Committee investigation)

Yet the motion was made by Waldron and seconded by Lisa Moreno.

Those voting NO on the endorsement?

Harmeet Dhillion

Peter Kuo

Randy Berkholtz

Matt Health

Abstaining:  Greg Gandrud

The motion passed.  Then six weeks later, the day before filing closed Mayes thumbed his nose at the Party by changing his registration.  Glad to report there is now a quality GOP candidate in the race.  Be assured, if Mayes wins, after the November election he will again re-register and finally admit that he is a Democrat.

Another California Republican defection: Former party leader bails on the GOP

Laurel Rosenhall, CalMatters,  12/6/19 

In Summary

Assemblyman Chad Mayes is the latest California politician to abandon the Republican Party in what’s become a trend among moderates during Donald Trump’s presidency.

A former California Republican leader left the party this week, the latest GOP defection in what’s become a trend among Trump-era moderates. 

Assemblyman Chad Mayes re-registered without party preference, becoming the second California lawmaker this year to leave the Republican party. Assemblyman Brian Maienschein became a Democrat in January, and California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye left the GOP late last year

Their departures reflect the clash of two diverging forces: President Donald Trump is pulling the Republican Party to the right as California voters are increasingly moving to the left. Less than 24% of California voters are registered Republicans — a greater share, like Mayes, are registered as political independents. Democrats hold every statewide office and historically huge majorities in the Legislature. With Mayes’ switch, Republicans now hold just 23% of legislative seats. 

“It’s frustrating to watch Republicans defend whatever it is the President does. It’s also frustrating to watch Democrats attack virtually everything the President does, instead of thinking, ‘Is this a good policy or not a good policy?’” said Mayes, of Yucca Valley. 

“At some point you go, ‘It doesn’t make a lot of sense for me to keep banging my head against the wall.’” 

As Assembly Republican leader, Mayes tried to make the minority relevant by embracing a moderate vision for the GOP. He urged fellow Republicans to drop opposition to social policies such as gay marriage and abortion, and instead focus on environmental stewardship and poverty alleviation. He took his caucus to tour a homeless shelter and worked with Democrats to pass landmark legislation combating climate change. But he also angered Republicans with that cooperation, and was forced to resign his leadership post in 2017. 

As the Republican party veers right and founders in California, Mayes has been working with Arnold Schwarzenegger to build up an organization for moderate Republicans called New Way California. Mayes said he wasn’t sure how leaving the party will impact New Way. The group will meet to discuss its direction, he said, which could mean no longer focusing on Republicans. 

It’s not unheard of for California legislators to switch parties, but two leaving the same party in the same year appears to be unprecedented, said legislative historian Alex Vassar.

However, Mayes leaves the GOP in tandem with voters in his Palm Springs area desert district. When he was first elected in 2014, 41% of voters there were Republicans — a 7 point advantage over Democrats. Today, the parties are neck in neck, each holding a 35% share of registered voters.  

Republicans will likely field a candidate to run against Mayes next year, the Riverside County Republican Party Chair told the Desert Sun. And state party leaders seemed determined to exact revenge after endorsing Mayes’ reelection just a few weeks ago.

“Chad has let the Republican Party down just as he let down the voters of California,” the state party’s Board of Directors said in a statement. “We are confident that a Republican will win that seat in November.”

About Stephen Frank

Stephen Frank is the publisher and editor of California Political News and Views. He speaks all over California and appears as a guest on several radio shows each week. He has also served as a guest host on radio talk shows. He is a fulltime political consultant.