California’s republican party held it’s convention this past weekend, and discord and disunity were the overriding themes, beginning with the opening keynote when the party’s candidate viewed as having the best chance to win the party a statewide office declined to support the party’s nominee for the the state’s highest office.
Current Fresno mayor Ashley Swearengin, the gop nominee for state controller, who despite currently trailing Democrat Betty Yee by 14 points in the latest Field Poll, is seen as the party’s best bet to win a statewide race in several years and the party’s choice to open their convention, vividly displayed the party’s disunity when she indicated that she could vote to re-elect Democrat Jerry Brown to his fourth overall term as governor.
|Whether this is based on an honest belief that the gop candidate Neel Kashkari, former president george w bush's choice to administer the TARP bailout program, is unqualified for the office, or whether personal bias enters into it is up for speculation. The fact is, however, that Swearengin has had a personal issue with Kashkari since the stunt he pulled a few months ago, spending a few||
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A second gop statewide candidate, Pete Peterson, the nominee for Secretary of State, also failed to endorse Kashkari, who currently trails Brown by 21 points, saying that he did not plan on voting for every republican on the statewide ballot. But, he refused to actually endorse a candidate for any statewide office, and his reasoning is really worth examining. The duties of Secretary of State include overseeing elections, and Peterson has said that as a candidate for that office, and as the holder of that office, one should be “an independent administrator of California elections”.
Regarding the Kansas senate race, when the Democratic candidate dropped out of the race, giving an independent candidate a good chance of unseating the republican incumbent Roberts, Kobach refused to remove the Democrat from the ballot. He was then ordered to do just that by the state Supreme Court, but Kobach then “ordered” the state Democratic party to pick a new candidate, a power that his office does not posses. He also argued to the Supreme Court that ballots had to be printed by an absolute, federally-
But, back to California and the gop convention: Reacting to the party’s candidates’ failures at unity, some powerful state republicans such as former state chairman Ron Nehring were outraged, while others, such as current vice-chair Harmeet Dhillon, tried to downplay any significance of the discord.
The convention also featured a luncheon speech from soon-to-be presidential candidate, Sen Rand Paul, who told the throngs of republicans gathered that if the party was to become successful, that they had to become more inclusive. Perhaps he should send Kobach a copy of that speech.