California Republicans sweat Trump effect

Travis-Allen-Associated-PressSAN FRANCISCO — Republicans running for governor in the Democratic stronghold of California face a myriad of challenges. One of the them is how to handle the issue of Donald Trump.

Travis Allen, an assemblyman who announced his bid last week to succeed Jerry Brown as the state’s next governor, argues that he’s already a standout — of the three leading Republicans in the race, he alone proudly admits voting for the president.

“There were 4.4 million Republicans in California who voted for Trump, and they are looking for real leadership in California,” Allen told POLITICO last week as he tooled around the state’s highways on a campaign trip.

He said the reluctance of the leading GOP challengers — millionaire businessman John Cox and former Assemblyman David Hadley — to embrace Trump and his positions “may not sit very well with Republicans who are voting come June 2018.”

Yet at the same time, the deep animus toward Trump in California makes embracing him a difficult proposition for any candidate who hopes to win a general election. Together, it’s presenting a thorny situation for GOP candidates as the state’s marquee 2018 race ramps up.

In an overwhelmingly blue state — where Democrats hold a 19-point voter registration edge over Republicans — leading Democratic contenders like Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, state Treasurer John Chiang and former state Superintendent of Schools Delaine Eastin are busy collecting donors’ checks and are widely covered by major media outlets.

By contrast, the GOP candidates in California are relative unknowns who, on top of a party registration gap, face the hurdles of the state’s “top two” primary system — which calls for the top two vote-getters of either party to advance to the general election. In a crowded gubernatorial field, that drastically decreases their chances of making it to the general election.

And this year, the Republican candidates have the added “Trump factor” to contend with.

Thanks to Trump — whose approval rating in California is just 27 percent and who lost the popular vote by 4 million votes here — getting to the governorship is “almost an insurmountable mountain for Republicans to climb,’’ said USC political analyst Sherry Bebitch Jeffe.

The delicate formula for victory involves backing Trump enough to please the party’s base — volunteers and donors who are critical to success — while not alienating the independents, 1 in 4 state voters who could make the winning difference in the general election.

Jim Lacy, a Trump delegate to the Republican National Convention and author of “Taxifornia: Liberals’ Laboratory to Bankrupt California,” frankly acknowledges that “if a Republican candidate went out and fully embraced Trump, and shouted through the state that they’re Trump’s candidate for governor,” it would almost certainly end their chances to make it to the state’s general election.

But he says there’s a way to thread the needle — though to have any chance of victory, a California Republican must have the backing of the loyal GOP grass-roots activists and donors who can make or break a campaign here.

“Even though many of them didn’t like Trump, they voted for him because they are tried-and-true Republicans,’’ Lacy said. Allen alone “can very proudly say he voted for the GOP candidate — and that these other folks who say they are Republican haven’t done so.”

Hadley — a moderate who has in the past won the backing of millionaire donor Charles Munger Jr. — told the Los Angeles Times recently that he didn’t vote for Trump in the 2016 election. The former assemblyman said he hopes to appeal to voters who may be willing to cross party lines and that he will soon announce endorsements from more than 20 GOP members of the legislature.

Cox, in a past interview with POLITICO, declined to say for whom he cast his vote, though he said last week that he is glad Hillary Clinton didn’t win, because she “would have been a disaster.”

But Cox, who ran for both U.S. Senate and president in Illinois before he moved to California — and has never been elected to office — has wholly embraced the Trumpian notion that an outsider can offer fresh solutions and break up the stale government insiders’ hold on Sacramento. “I’m a businessman, not a politician,’’ he said, a line that comes directly from Trump’s playbook. “I’m running to clean out the barn.”

Yet he’s also carefully attempted to distance himself from some of the president’s more controversial moves — his tweets, for example. “Take a look at my Twitter feed,’’ he said, when asked about Trump’s critiques of the media, TV personalities and the intelligence community. “My tweets are positive … that’s the tenor of what you’ll see coming out of me. … I’m not going to comment on the president.”

All three GOP candidates accuse Democrats — who hold supermajorities in both houses of the California legislature — of overreaching, and Brown of failing to keep them in check. Despite the open hostility of many California political leaders to Trump, Allen argues Democrats and independents are not all in lockstep with the “State of Resistance” agenda on issues like sanctuary cities.

“A friendly relationship with the White House could only benefit California’’ in areas like infrastructure, jobs and federal funding, Allen said.

“It’s up to the government in California to take care of our state first and foremost,’’ he said. “And this is what has been completely lacking with the Democrat leadership in Sacramento — from Jerry Brown to [Senate President] Kevin de Leon to [Attorney General] Xavier Becerra. They have taken an antagonistic stance, regardless of the detrimental effect to the state, and it’s gotta change.”

Allen cites Brown’s recent support for an increase in the state gas tax, which he argues is unpopular and won’t solve the state’s traffic gridlock problems. He also points to sanctuary cities — a concept that polls show is not nearly as popular as Democrats suggest, he argues.

“There is a widely held misconception that the Democrats are invincible in California,’’ he said “But there is a silent supermajority that has been marginalized and forgotten by Jerry Brown and the ruling Democrats. These are the people who are screaming at their TVs every night and can’t understand why their politicians aren’t listening to them.’’

Allen said he’s already lined up party-slate mailers that will reach 14 million of those voters by the fall — an advantage he argues will give him a major advantage over his fellow Republicans in a state with eight major media markets where TV spots are among the most expensive in the country.

But even that may not be enough. On the fundraising front, Democrats have raised more than $20 million to date — and front-runner Newsom alone has banked more than $10 million. By contrast, GOP front-runner Cox, who says he’s putting $3 million of his own money in the race, last week announced he has raised $202,000 — the most to date in the Republican field.

Hoover Institution fellow Bill Whalen, who was an adviser to former GOP Gov. Pete Wilson, says popular San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer dashed the Republican Party’s hopes recently by insisting again that he won’t enter the race, so “there is not an alpha in the field.” As a result, Republican candidates will get even less attention.

Which means “until any of these candidates show serious money or the ability to raise their name recognition, let’s forget about Donald Trump,” Whalen said. “He’s the least of their problems.”

This article was originally published by


  1. The way to win is to educate the public on the stark comparison of going forward with Democrat policy, versus Republican- White House Administrative policy. And don’t be shy about it! This is an opportunity to begin to shine the spotlight on what the Dems are doing to bring on Socialism versus Liberty in this state, and bankrupt it at the same time!
    Now what is not to understand about that? It is still the economy stupid, and maybe even LIBERTY! Stand up and be proud to be a Republican for all it stands for. It is time! Time to educate.

    • Well said Aprila; but they need to be Republicans that follow the U.S. Constitution.

    • It would appear that California is lost for good. If the people of California are unable to see and realize what is happening to them, then, no manner of education will change that. If they are unable to see the effects of Socialism; high taxes, high crime rate, sanctuary city policy; congestion, corruption, ad infinitum, then how will they change just because someone tells them what they are allowing is hurting them. Hell, this is being said every day in thousands of different ways. Together with the “top two” candidate policy, (which should be illegal) the ability of illegal immigrants to vote, and the open defiance of the rule of law, the Demo’s have this state pretty well locked up. Probably the best thing we could do is all leave the state and let them suffer the destructive hell they are bringing down on them.

      • Robert-
        All the California universities, the mainstream media, the public school system from kindergarten up to Harvard, are teaching lies and not teach about this country’s history at all. People need it spelled out for them in a realistic way that they can relate to in their every day lives and how changes will affect them. That is the education they need. That must come from the candidate who will have the podium.

        And yes, all good points have been made about voter rolls, illegals, and the rule of law being enforced. I believe the only way this state will change the dynamics is from the current TRUMP administration doing things on a Federal basis that will wake and shake Californians, financially, socially and legally. I am hopeful that will come.

  2. Republicans have been losing, because they have acted like diet-Republicans; like “almost” Democrats. They have in the past almost magically had the 3 or 4 Republicans change their votes to pass the left wing budget. Wow; how did that happen? Fakes.

  3. Travis Allen is a good man and I am working to help get him elected. He needs our support to win this election and with prayer and hard work, he will win.

    • showandtell says

      Hoping voters will realize early on that Travis Allen is the best Republican candidate in the race and not waste time with the others. Check him out yourself and you will see for yourself that this is true.
      “Travis Allen asks ‘Where does it end?'”

  4. Robert Dorn says

    If we can eliminate the voter fraud, as in illegals voting, the Republicans might have a chance.

  5. Trump needs to send in the militia to keep illegals from voting and make sure the election is honest for once–and then there will be change–and get rid of baldy now–I am sure that pecker nose vulture got in illegally

  6. THE CAPTIVE says

    All the important points have been put down here. I like having a militia coming in (we need it) and much light needs to shine on Brown still following the treasonous BHO as he acts on wrongs that he thinks are ok to take away different freedoms of the citizens and give it to illegals and LEFTISTS who think the incursion of islam is ok too. There is a real stink coming out of the CA swamp and the more it gets drained the better!

  7. First and foremost, recall Brown (; then start recalling some of the of the Demo/Commies in the legislature. That will only happen when we get the 10 or 11 MILLION ILLEGALS off the voting roles. Wouldn’t hurt to see how many dead people are voting democratic either. Of course we also have convicted felons voting too.
    Maybe we should have a revolution.

  8. He needs to get funding from the RNC and build the base for support, he needs to be heard and demonstrate he is worthy of the fight that will be up coming….Ca is one big socialist trash bag, the freebie crowd and slugs preside here, the battle will take straight forward talk and action that will sink in as the fight’s all uphill from here…

  9. TheRandyGuy says

    Pointless. The state is lost and no matter who runs, a liberal Democrat will always win. Get out – move to a rational state and do it as soon as you can.

  10. I was given a choice of eating ground glass or voting for a democrat.
    Ground glass ain’t half bad with sugar on it.

  11. “…popular San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer dashed the Republican Party’s hopes…”
    Faulconer is NOT a Republican, he’s a Quisling.

    • showandtell says

      No kidding, but look who wrote the article: Carla Marinucci, the biggest leftist at the San Francisco Chronicle and that’s saying something. (She’s now at Politico I think.) Her whole job is to try to convince you of what isn’t true.

  12. Faye E Withers says

    I think there are a lot of Republicans in California. Maybe not in S.F. and L.A. areas, but we are still here. I will only vote for Republicans, but won’t vote for one that is “Establishment” RINO!!

  13. What is there to sweat? Don’t confuse the MSN with the people. The California Democrats in Washington are not doing well. Pelosi can’t remember whose president, Feinstein will not give her blessing to Harris, and Harris will most certainly NOT get the presidential primary nod in 2020. She would most certainly lose most states until California came up the primary plate. 4M Californians voted for the Donald. Likely more will in 2020 in the state as the Asian community returns many into the conservative fold. Maybe not in public, but certainly in the ballot box.

  14. I think Travis has a chance. Even among liberals, a true California surfer has a lot of cred.

  15. Gary Von Neida says

    California does not need another R.I.N.O. ( Like Arnold ) Governor;but, She sure could use another Ronald Reagan—dream on—as long as illegal aliens are allowed to vote—-just look at Santa Ana—California will be a Communist satellite —making deals directly with China for example and keeping a flow of cheap labor—with welfare $17,000.00 a Year—on the backs of people that worked to build the State before it became a debt ridden banana republic—No Republican stands a chance so long as illegals continue to vote.

  16. Mike McD says

    How is it that Newsom (aka Gravid Nuisance) continues to get a free pass on his horrid conduct as Mayor – engaging in adultery with a Subordinate Female Staffer (with an admitted “Substance Abuse Problem” – which Newsom avoided mentioning whether he shared it) – who was Married to His Campaign Manager. The bought and paid for ‘free press’ has remained silent and the story has disappeared – and No Republican seems willing to point out how Unfit for Office such Behavior makes GN. So Why the Silence??
    AIDE QUITS AS NEWSOM’S AFFAIR WITH HIS WIFE IS REVEALED / Campaign manager confronts mayor, who is ‘in shock’

  17. Rottweiler says

    Robert, the comments he has made are spot on. There is no Republican voice in California and in some ways I hope these progressives get exactly what they voted for. I do not intend to retire here but the way the state is being managed it will look like Detroit in a manner of years. They can not sustain their debt by running businesses out, challenging the middle class for more taxes everytime they turn around and fund these massive and useless projects like the train to nowhere. Just look at the infra-structure of the city, the streets and curbs are in a state of decay and so is the political corruptness of the unions and the schools systems. There is nothing useful in a disasterous school system where they curn out 43-52% graduates with a passing grade of “D”. Nothing golden about California except the rhetoric from the left. Too bad they don’t get Obamacare for another 8 years so they could really see what crappy ideas the progressives have. I would almost welcome it.

    • 888American says

      Californians have awakened…things are going to change…The tide has shifted…a new chapter has begun….We are going to win back this state…3rd worlder.Illegal immigration is used to create new voting bases for Demon-craps.They are MORE easily deceived by the Demon-craps who give them freebies in exchange for votes..FREEBIES PAID FOR WITH ALL OF OUR TAXDOLLARS…FORCING REPUBLICANS TO FUND THE DUMBO-CRAP PARTY…

  18. 888American says


  19. 888American says

    The California Legislature has been over 65% Demon-crap for over 40 years….DRAIN THE SWAMP!!!! DRAIN THE SWAMP!!! DRAIN THE SWAMP!!! DOING THE SAME THING OVER AND OVER..EXPECTING A DIFFERENT RESULT..IS INSANITY…Only fools would vote away their freedoms and their wealth….

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