Looking for California in the GOP debate presented some challenges even with one candidate who has tentative ties to the Golden State and the state’s Democratic governor who tried to put himself into the debate via a letter to the candidates on climate change.
There was only one Californian (sort of) in the field of 17 — Carly Fiorina who made her name as CEO of Hewlett-Packard and was handily defeated by Barbara Boxer for the California U.S. Senate seat in 2010. She now lives in Virginia.
She did fairly well in the first debate, many pundits declaring her the winner. And it appeared that former Texas governor Rick Perry has Fiorina lined up for the Secretary of State job if he becomes president. In criticizing the Iran nuclear deal Perry said, “I’d rather have Carly Fiorina over there doing our negotiation rather than (Secretary of State) John Kerry.”
Major California companies Google and Apple also made it into the first debate with Fiorina saying they should cooperate with the government on investigations that might prevent terrorism.
Apparently, Jerry Brown sent his letter to the wrong recipients for the main debate. California’s Democratic governor tried to work his way into the debate when he sent a letter asking GOP candidates how they would address climate change. He should have sent his letter to the Fox News Channel debate moderators. They didn’t bother to engage the candidates on climate change in the debate featuring the 10 leading candidates.
There was a reference to climate change in the first debate held for candidates in positions 11 to 17 in the polls. South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham responded that if he debated presumptive Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton on climate change she would argue cap-and-trade that would ruin the economy while he would focus on energy independence and a clean environment. Cap-and-trade is a key strategy in Brown’s camapign on climate change.
Immigration was a big issue at the debate although nothing specific to California. However, the situation on sanctuary cities was raised in both the earlier and later debates. The sanctuary cities issue gained headlines after the shooting death in San Francisco of Kate Steinle by an illegal immigrant who had been deported many times but still came back. Candidates from Jeb Bush to Ted Cruz, to Bobby Jindal said they would eliminate federal funds to sanctuary cities.
There are a number of presidential candidates working with individuals with strong California ties. To name a few: Jeff Miller is campaign manager for Rick Perry, Mike Murphy is a strategist for Jeb Bush and Todd Harris is communication director for Marco Rubio.
While California didn’t have a big role in the debates one of her favorite sons was mentioned frequently –Ronald Reagan. And that will carry over with the next Republican debate scheduled for the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley September 16.