Brulte seems to believe that the party’s problem is not so much its message as its failure to engage, to be heard in the countless communities and regions that it simply conceded to the Democrats. “There’s lots of places,” he said, “where we’re not making a sound.”
People don’t vote for a party, he told me, they vote for candidates. That’s classic California stuff: It’s not likely that you’d hear that from many pols in Boston or Chicago.
But it may be true of California’s anti-political politics. In any case, that seems the strategy: Develop a bench of Republicans in local office, mayors, city council members, county supervisors, one that includes more women, more Latinos, maybe a few gays and you have “farm team” of future candidates for higher office.
Brulte has numbers, and some names: 40 percent of local officials are women, he said, and many are Republicans. Then there’s Carl DeMaio, the openly gay San Diego “New Generation Republican” who’s running for the House in the 52nd District. There’s GROW-Elect, headed by former San Mateo supervisor, former Bush White House aide and former San Diego Chamber of Commerce President Ruben Barrales.
GROW-Elect’s aim is not outreach to Latinos but inclusion – to find promising candidates and get them elected at the local level. Like Brulte, Barrales says you can’t build a party from the top down – that’s failed – only from the bottom up.
Saturday, December 28, 2013
Jim Brulte and the California GOP
At The Sacramento Bee, Peter Schrag writes of California Republican Party chair Jim Brulte: