Eber: Reflections on the local GOP convention

We just had two Republican Assembly members, Mayes and Cunningham, give the Democrats the two votes needed to get a tax increase (AB 142 adding a fee/tax to the sale of batteries).  We have GOP leadership telling candidates to ignore President Trump.  Others in the Party do NOT want Republican candidates for all office sand are trying hard to keep GOP’ers from running against Anti-Trump, Decline to State voters.  Any wonder only 23% of voters register Republican (that does not even include the past six years where the California GO as policy refused to register voters at all).

“After three hours of listening to speeches and eating the catered lunch provided by Subway, I left the convention never to return. Nothing that was witnessed had much to do with enhancing the chances of Republicans winning on a local level.

 It was my understanding that heavy duty intelligence would be gathered when small groups met for brain storming sessions in the afternoon. Apparently, not much of this transpired as not only did over half those in attendance depart, but a friend of mine who stayed wished he had bolted earlier.

We need a vibrant, aggressive Party.  This event was well intentioned.  Sadly, it proved why the GOP has its current status.

Photo courtesy of DonkeyHotey, flickr

Reflections on the local GOP convention By Richard Eber

Richard Eber, Exclusive to the California Political News and Views,  5/27/19 

Last Saturday I attended the Contra Costa County Republican “Excuses Don’t Win Elections” Convention in Pleasant Hill.  Three times prior to entering this event, I was told that the contents of what was to be discussed could not be divulged in The California Political News & Views or in any other blog which publishes my columns.

Agreeing to these terms allowed for me to be seated.  It was explained to me that County Chairman Matt Shupe and the other members of the Central Committee were concerned that if the Democratic Party learned of their plans, they could be foiled in next year’s elections.

After three hours of listening to speeches and eating the catered lunch provided by Subway, I left the convention never to return. Nothing that was witnessed had much to do with enhancing the chances of Republicans winning on a local level.

 It was my understanding that heavy duty intelligence would be gathered when small groups met for brain storming sessions in the afternoon. Apparently, not much of this transpired as not only did over half those in attendance depart, but a friend of mine who stayed wished he had bolted earlier.

For me and several others, highlight of the day was a brilliant speech made by former 16th Assembly member Catharine Baker (R-Dublin).  She discussed the reasons for her defeat and what the Party could do to make sure such an outcome could be avoided in the future.  None of this was confidential as Baker told the audience that I counted to be below 100 in attendance, that she had recently given a similar presentation to another group.

All of the posturing done by the County Republican Party to keep the meeting a secret was a complete waste of time.  In fact my Editor Steve Frank later told me of having a summary of what transpired from seven attendees by the end of the day.

For me it was an adult version of “hide and go seek.” Leaving the convention the thought occurred to me that there was more intrigue and suspense in viewing reruns of Keeping up with the Kardashians than what was revealed on May 18th.

Despite of this troubling reality, I have kept my word and have not leaked any possible proprietary information that might have been discussed at this convention.

What really bothers me about my local GOP and the state organizations is that with only 23% of registered voters calling them Republicans, why the hell are they cloistering themselves like a bunch of elitists who are above the fray?  This has manifested itself recently by:

  • Banning the media from attending the Contra Costa Convention.  If anything they should have been encouraging press coverage.  In order to have any chance to defeat the Democratic juggernaut in Sacramento, voters need to be educated on differences between conservative principles of sound government and leftist Progressive policies emanating from Sacramento.
  • Why are Republican groups, especially in my area, still meeting so much at Country Clubs? In fact one GOP group was upset because they were kicked out of the Orinda Country Club. This is especially galling considering just a few years ago, it was almost impossible for Jews and those of color to be admitted to this place.
  • Why does the Republican Party still have a policy of banning those who are not Party members from addressing their gatherings?  There are many good conservatives who are predominantly “decline to state” voters, who are excluded from talking at Republican meetings.  How can a political party whose ranks are diminishing each year, even contemplate such an exclusionary policy?

Talking about having a vanilla flavor at the convention, by my count there was but one Asian and one African-American present.  The closest sighting to participation from South of the Border came from a canned 3 minute taped welcoming speech from Hispanic California Republican Chairwomen Jessica Patterson.

How can these GOP leaders talk about influencing the electorate, registering young people, and convincing decline to state voters to rejoin their ranks with almost no ethnic diversity?

What makes this so frustrating is that conservative Republican principles are more in line with religious, social, and economic values these minorities possess than Democrats. It’s not as if these people are unobtainable.  Catharine Baker captured the Asian segment in all of her campaigns with her stands on merit based educational policies and strong support for law enforcement.

With exception of a group of Young Republicans from UC Berkeley led by their President Matthias Ronnau, it was mostly the usual suspects of curmudgeon retirees, who attended the GOP confab. After years of continual failure (with the exception of Catharine Baker) there is no indication that the Republican Party as it is constituted will ever be a force in local elections.

The other elephant in the closet is the constant in fighting between supporters of the President and “No Trump” Republicans who oppose him.  In California this is a big deal as a divided party allows virtually no chance of victory at any level.  

To their credit both Matt Shupe and Catharine Baker, who many hard core party members consider to be Republicans in Name Only (RINOS), went out of the way not to offend supporters of Donald Trump who were in attendance at the conference. Despite this, there was an underlying tension that existed and still pervades between these factions.

Such a divide was quite apparent at the Republican Convention last February where the vast majority of supporters for Chairwomen Jessica Patterson’s candidacy came from the ranks of “No Trumper’s”

One of the biggest challenges that Ms. Patterson faces in the immediate future is to get these two groups back together and work for the common good.  It won’t be easy because of the strong ideological beliefs of those remaining who still call themselves Republicans.

For years there have been intra party disputes between those who have embraced conservative stands on social issues such as gay marriage, abortion, and legalizing marijuana, versus those who tend to ignore them while concentrating more on economic matters such as taxes, public employee pensions, and over regulation.

Judging from what has transpired in California during the last quarter century, it looks like Republicans have been shooting themselves in the foot at every opportunity. While Democrats have dominated legislative and social policies in the state, the GOP has resided in what can be charitably called a “Pup Tent” of toleration among themselves.

This is why it is so imperative that Republican leadership recognize what has happened to their failing brand and take remedial steps to relate to the greater body politic in California.

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.


  1. Lucius Sejanus says

    The current Chair of the Contra Costa Central Committee has for years lived off the teet of Charles Munger, Jr., and Luis Buhler. He clipped the Cox Campaign for over 200K, and whilsts he’s a smelly little “Never Trumper”, he bragged far and wide that HE was responsible for seducing the President into tweeting support for Cox over his primary opponent Travis Allen.
    He single handidly screwed up Catherine Baker’s direct mail effort in her now abortive re-election.

    The bad news appears to be attendees had to suffer the blovating of two arrogant RINO’s, the good news; Subway sandwiches?

  2. We are in a race to see which dies first, the Democrat Party or the Republican Party? If President Trump is truly approaching 40% support among Blacks the Democrats Party will be consigned to the ash heap of history.

  3. James Coles says

    Based on what I just read I have to wonder if the Cali GOP isn’t a wholly owned subsidiary of the Calipornia Chamber of Commerce; which, like its big brother in DC, the USCOC, has resisted every Trumpian effort to increase both corporate profitability and worker wages.
    If left to the anti-Trump resistance within the GOP there will soon be only one party — a “UniParty” that favors a “Chaebol” relationship between big government & big corporations, with government picking winners & losers.
    That’s not my kind of Republican Party.

  4. Dr. Trent Saxton says

    This event had good intentions. Sadly, it proved why the GOP has its current status…looking up… from the grave.

  5. The Conservatives need their own Tom Styner, Bloomberg or George Soros types to lead us out of the oblivion of self-destruction.
    When will Conservative leaders emerge and take what is fully awaiting them, just for the asking? The time has come…and gone. So, step up, PLEASE!

    • Rich Eber says

      I thought conservatives had the Koch Brothers as our angels in waiting?

      • Ginny Sand says

        I like the Koch Brothers, but they are libertarians, and have vowed not to donate any money to Trump’s re-election, committing instead to important local and state races, school choice and other ed reform issues, etc.

  6. West Walker says

    Good Recap. I agree with both the author and the other comments here, “… there is in-fighting between supporters of the President and “No Trump” Republicans…a divided party allows virtually no chance of victory at any level. ” There are key movers in CA who represent the grassroots and Trump’s CA campaign. The last convention pushed them out as they tried to join the Good ‘Ole (Boy’s) Party– these supporters had the massive diversity that would win any propaganda. Instead, the status quo won and thus remains. Status Quo would have a hard time showing the leadership to step back from the money, yet that is drying up fast. Instead, UNIFY by reaching out to those who have proven success. Otherwise, like in 2016, grassroots will work with campaigns and key supportive local county central committees who have proven their trust, all without CRP coordination and state party expansion.

    • Ginny Sand says

      I think the only hope we grassroots activists have is to go around the party and “do our own thing.” The exception to that is that Travis Allen and Steve Frank have to pressure Patterson to cooperate with them on organizing a massive GOTV effort; they both have “yuge” e-mail lists, and the know-how to get it organized with all of us disaffected conservatives. That we all can’t find common ground (like supporting the state-wide school choice drive that gives us an effective foot in the door to reach out to all the constituents we need to broaden our appeal, specifically Millennials, blacks, Hispanics & mothers), and can’t at least publicize Trump’s impressive record on things like cutting regulations that greatly appeals to entrepreneurs is beyond me.

  7. Mike Triggs says


    The biggest problem faced by the Republic are folks waiting for other to save them…

    A Savior…A Savior…We must have a Savior..

    People…Turn off Social Media, quit spending your time on FB, IG, Twitter. Get out into the field and recruit good candidates…

    If not, the loss is on your head…

  8. Really??? says

    It has always amazed me to watch people with principle on the right who can articulate gain the support of both the right and the middle of the road.

    I am tired of watching the supposed “in the know” constantly give away and then say “well we need to work with them.” No we need to defeat them.

    Bunker Hill was not won by compromise.

  9. Gotta Gedada Displace says

    Along with “top2” and Ballot Harvesting, another issue drawing decibels of silence and inaction from the so-called CA GOP is the Dem’s “National Popular Vote” interstate compact effort to bypass the Electoral College by agreeing to award all Electoral votes to the majority Popular Vote winner. Hearing the YT video from the Red Elephants guy, I was curious to check Wikipedia and SHOCKED to learn CA had ALREADY JOINED this travesty of disenfranchisement with Jerry Brown’s 2011-12 signature of AB 459.(Why no ballot vote, huh? Is the AB459 vote sufficient ??) It will shock the ‘dinosaur rear end’ of the CA GOP to learn some time in the future that its head is long dead.

  10. Marcy Berry says

    Thanks for the report! It appears that if the Republican Grassroots wants any representation at all in Sacramento, it might have to ignore the Party leadership and work within its own gatherings and strategy planning Meetups. Does a group of homeowners need Party leadership to plant a table on a street corner and distribute flyers explaining what ACA 1, SB 330, National Popular Vote, and call for a Convention of States are all about and what GOP legislators support/oppose what?

  11. John Steele says

    I’m getting really close to giving the CA Repubs at the state level the Heave Ho.. Little Chad needs to be kicked out of the party and be given a big fat D in front of his name.

  12. Catherine says

    The intra party dispute is mainly about the immigration crisis and the consultant cabal let by McCarthy. This is not 20 years ago.

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