GOP turnaround possible in Calif.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Becky Yeh - California correspondent (

A former lawmaker who's now poised to lead the California GOP says he plans to be a "nuts-and-bolts" chairman who will implement three basic changes that could usher in a "Republican renaissance" in 2014.

Brulte, Jim (R-CA)Former California Senator Jim Brulte says if he is elected chairman of the California Republican Party, his back-to-the-basics strategy will return the state GOP -- which is "in shambles," he says, after losing seats in November, giving Democrats a two-thirds majority -- to its former glory (see earlier story). The party is also in debt and struggling to gain voter registration.

Brulte told those attending a recent meeting with the San Diego Republican Party that his first priority is to develop a statewide funding operation to help the GOP generate funds on its own, as it has been reliant on members of the legislature, the governors, and gubernatorial nominees for too long.

"The party that says welfare should not be a permanent state has become a welfare recipient," he points out. "There is no large ... California Republican Party fundraising operation -- that's why the California Republican Party is in debt today."

So he believes the GOP must recruit and train candidates who represent the state's diverse population.

"Focus on the basics, and those basics are raising money, recruiting volunteers, and recruiting and training candidates," the Republican submits. "If we do that, 2014 could be a great year for us."

californiaIn the 1990s, Brutle gained the GOP a majority in the California Assembly for the first time in 25 years. Party faithfuls now hope he will be able to return the state's government to a balanced two-party system.

"To have a strong, vibrant, two-party system in this state, we have to go into every neighborhood in California and recruit candidates from every neighborhood, help train those candidates, and to the extent possible with the limited resources we have provide technical support to those candidates," Brulte insists.

"I want to be maybe the most boring chairman in the history of the California Republican Party," he continues. "I want to be the nuts-and-bolts chairman who helps begin the process of bringing back the Republican Party and a two-party state here in California."

The California GOP has dropped below 30 percent in voter registration for the first time in history. Democrats in the current state legislature now hold the supermajority and are poised to raise taxes without Republican opposition.

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