A Case For Changing The Republican Party of San Diego County — Part Six: Changing the Endorsement Process

Brian Brady Brian Brady 4 Comments


We’ve had some great discussions in this series and I spent a lot of time discussing the Volunteer Neighborhood Precinct Captains. I’ve served on two other county committees (Camden County, NJ and Maricopa County, AZ)  before serving on the San Diego Committee. In those committees, the Precinct Captain was elected and was the basic building block of party governance and operations.

Take a look at what’s happening in Arizona. John McCain is trying to purge the “tea party” precinct committee captains:

The ambitious effort — detailed to POLITICO by nearly a dozen McCain operatives, donors, and friends — has stretched from office buildings in Alexandria, Virginia, where strategists plotted and fundraisers collected cash for a super PAC, to Vietnamese-American communities across Arizona, where recruiters sought out supporters eager to help the incumbent defeat the tea party.

Team McCain’s goal? Unseat conservative activists who hold obscure, but influential, local party offices.

Under the byzantine rules of Arizona Republican Party politics, these elected officials, known as precinct committeemen, vote for local party chairmen. The chairmen, in turn, determine how state and local GOP funds are spent, which candidates are promoted in an election year, and which political issues are highlighted — all matters of central concern for McCain heading into 2016, when the threat of a primary looms.

Why does this matter? Senator McCain is out-of-touch with the party volunteers. The party volunteers know that a Republican will win the Senate race in 2016 and want a more conservative politician to represent the State rather than the honorable but centrist McCain. It’s a real battle for power and the establishment folks don’t want to give that power up.

You’ve heard me criticize the makeup of our local Central Committee. Over 60 percent of our voting members rely on the industry of politics and elected public service for their primary source of income.  While most of them are principled people, it’s hard to vote against your pocketbook.  Our committee lacks a majority of volunteers with no financial gain in the outcome of our endorsement votes.

Our endorsement process is broken — it alienates a lot of people. After reading through this entire series, I’ve concluded that two things could change us for the better: getting people elected to the Central Committee with no financial stake in the party endorsements (which can’t be attempted until 2017) or changing the way we endorse candidates (which can be changed in the next month). The latter is the only option we have this election cycle.

My final installment will be a proposal to do just that. Expect to see it this weekend.

PS: Please read the linked article before you comment. It’s a fascinating study in how county/state politics works. I know a number of the players in Arizona (on both sides of the divide) so I understand why each is doing what they are doing. What happens in Arizona will have lasting effects on the way we do business here in San Diego.

Read the whole series:

Part 1–  What happened to the “San Diego Model”?

Part 2– The Neighborhood Volunteer Precinct Captain

Part 3– Where Did Our Voters Go?

Part 4– Who makes up the Republican Party Coalition?

Part 5– Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?


Comments 4

  1. Independence and impartiality are critical for CentCom members. It looks like McCain is trying to do what Ron Paul asked his supporters to do in 2012, “become the party”. I think there’s room for centrists, cultural conservatives, libertarians, and tea party members within the party committee, and independence from monetary interests can help foster the success of the big tent.

    Also, I believe Central Committee elections are in June 2016, not 2017. Could be wrong but I’m pretty sure thats what the registrar said.

  2. Post

    ” I think there’s room for centrists, cultural conservatives, libertarians, and tea party members”

    I do too but candidates should make their case to Republican voters.

    “independence from monetary interests can help foster the success of the big tent”.

    I proposed this idea, to remake the way we elect the CentCom:

    It was soundly rejected by XCOM.

    “Also, I believe Central Committee elections are in June 2016, not 2017.”

    You’ are correct but those elected members don’t take office until 2017. I’m trying to distinguish that one action can have immediate effects and one won’t have an effect for at least two years. If you want to change RPSDC for this upcoming election cycle, changing the endorsement pro0cess is the only way

  3. Brian,

    Once again, thank you for your time and effort to take on this valuable and timely body of work.

    The Politico story is disturbing on multiple levels. While I have always had a great deal of respect for “Captain” McCain (having been the training officer and instructor/interrogator at the Navy’s SERE School, I was privy to some details about his POW ordeal that much of the public is probably not aware of), Senator McCain has become an increasingly disappointing GOP figure.

    Its one thing to sound like a broken record, and another to start to feel like one…but, frankly, the Arizona antics are sadly not that surprising. One only need to see the Thad Cochran debacle, or the McConnell ordeal, or countless other districts where the Tea Party candidates (advocating real change) were vilified, ostracized, demonized, and cauterized from the process…by the Establishment GOP hold-overs. The whole parade of issues many have highlighted in your series all come into view more clearly as related to races and endorsements in the County, and specifically the 52CD race.

    We all know politics is a contact sport…but we all know a penalty/penalties when we see one..(The Detroit Lion, Sue, stepping deliberately on Aaron Rogers ankle is evident of that) …and the “refs” are also the powerbrokers here as well. Here in SD, we saw this starting with the Big “Secret” Meeting in La Jolla in Aug 13..with all the power players from the 3 focal points all converging on one insider nexus- Papa Doug with his media empire, Sanders with his Star Chamber of Commerce, and TK with the political muscle…and only Demaio and Faulconer were the politcos attending…fancy that…sure enough, they got the endorsements, and went 1 for 1 in election results…

    Then the expediting of the endorsement for the 52nd ahead of all others (for all the reasons we have exhausted previously) ..you and I have different takes on this, but I think we agree the process is flawed…Jorgensen, ostensibly a “Tea Party”-like guy misses the outright delay of the endorsement by one vote..(this has been relayed to me as one..two..but lets say it was remarkably close..even more so if you count the CC members that told Kirk to his face they were behind him, then suddenly switched…perhaps later for the “those voting with their pocket books” discussion..)

    Then once the primary season started, the true colors of the establishment took over; The Media Black out by San Diego’s own poser conservative, Roger Hedgecock, who told Kirk personally he would NOT have a decorated Marine Officer, Conservative, and San Diego native on his show…because he was supporting Carl…(his boss is Manchester)…then the Lincoln Club, of which I understand the Jorgensen’s were members backs Carl, and the consultant class, along with the funding flows to Carl..Carl already had nearly a million in the warchest compared to Jorgensen’s 150k..so the consultant class sniffed where the money was going to come from a fell right into place (not to mention Carl’s not so vailed threat at the closed endorsement session that the NRCC would not provide the local party with “support” if Carl was not endorsed.. so TK and Sanders, Sudsbury, et al were “pleased..”.)..

    …and finally the avarice and despicable way the party treated Jorgensen after the endorsement..to included revealed lying and use of false avatars by DeMaio and his staff (and one frequent contributor on this site..who I understand has still not apologized to Claire Riesse for his nefarious handwork) ..disinformation spread about Kirk’s political and fiscal policies…and of course the tell tail sign of cowardice…hiding from any debate format..Demaio’s staff actually instructed speaking venues that they were to have a 15 minute buffer for any venue where he or Kirk were to speak…the one venue where Peters, Simon and Jorgensen actually met was a last minute cancel for Carl..who was the only candidate in the 52cd who did not show….(This was orchestrated by Carl, but no doubt with tacit approval or guided indifference from the party officials..no debate..really? WTF??)

    Evidently, many have commented how “outsiders” flooded into Carl’s campaign…and he starts the Obama-esque diatribe about “if you don’t support me, then you are intolerant..” The New Generation” narrative of ridding the party of “old white” men (how delectably ironic; his entire endorsement, funding, and campaign was orchestrated by “old white men..” )

    Many will see this as sour grapes on the part of Jorgensen supporters..believe it..we are way past that now..however, one aspect is true; Think if the Establishment GOP, even here is SD, were to have succeeded in thwarting a Scott Walker, or Allen West, Ted Cruz, or Mia Love, Mike Lee, and scores of others that rose during the Conservative revival…and to think we could have had a “Kirk Jorgensen..” and we see now, the fears of millions of conservatives have been realized as the deliberate and calculated steps to eliminate conservatives were so aptly captured…so much for the “paranoid and delusion” meme..

    I think the Tea Party and other conservatives/libertarians were initially naive…novices to the slick construction of TV-savvy campaigns were form becomes more endearing and winnable than sustenance…where tarnished, tired, unethical, hangers-on can still get one over the finish line, supported by their respective train of Media, Chamber, and Local Party Muscle…I saw the Todd Akins and Christine O’Donnells step on it early on..but for everyone of those, we had a a potential KJ, or a Marco Rubio, or a Trey Gowdy or Mike Lee well entrenched in the “win” column.

    When I arrived in SD in 2007 and began attending the “Chairman’s Circle” events, it didn’t take this 3rd string QB from a no name division two school long to figure out all was not right in the state of Denmark..we’ve seen good, loyal, dedicated people tarnished, many former vibrant and valuable supporters thrown under the bus, and even talk of a recent candidate who was given an endorsement, only to be forced out and having had his backing by the local party revoked when something more “lucrative” for the cronies came along……this isn’t competition anymore, Brian…its insidious..its unethical. immoral, and un-American to see the process putrified by a small group of self-serving, pocket-lining power mongers…

    As much as many might choose to make my opposition, and tens of thousands of others who have left the party over the current reign, about DeMaio’s sexual behavior and life choices..for me, and thousands of others, it was always about the process, the platform, and principle…DeMaio was simply a symptom. Given what has been revealed and transpired, for anyone to claim anything else is self-serving smoke filled coffee-house crap…

    Thanks again for your astute, measured, and civil series…I sincerely hope it will have the impact you seek.

  4. Having finally Read this 6 Part series that Brian has presented, as well as all the discussion that it has garnered, it is time for me as CC Member to finally weigh in on a few things:

    1) I completely believe that it is time that the endorsement process is changed. What we have been doing, and I as a voting member of it, with the process that it now is, has hurt our Republican Party here in San Diego. What we are doing now is flawed.

    2) What I say here is not in any way an indictment directed at any of our current Central Committee Members, but rather the process itself.

    3) In the last 2 Election Cycles, we have seen at least 2 different “Republican vs Republican” Primary and General election races that have done nothing but hurt our Party, with the bad feelings and divisions that these races created. The 52nd Primary race in this last cycle being one of them.

    4) Brian is correct, the Endorsement Vote for the 52nd this time around was NOT rigged, as some may think, but the current process allowed for this early endorsement to be made, to the detriment of the Party and the Republican Party members of San Diego County. I didn’t think that way at the time, but I do now. I do not mean that the endorsement of Carl DeMaio was bad, but that ANY endorsement at that time at all was bad.

    5) Our current endorsement process with so many early endorsements really does cause the average Republican Voter in the street to become disengaged. Not enough chance is given to the possibilities of candidates to rise up from the people to be able to run. This really does lead to the perception that I have heard all to often, “The Party is top down and is shoving these candidates down our throats.” When people have this perception (and they do), they will not likely believe that their concerns are cared about by the Party and will not likely engage when it comes time for elections. This is one of the the two reasons why we have lost 80,000 Republican registrations (the other reason is the Republican Party in general even nationwide does not stand on any of its own principles).

    Unless we can be a Party where the people of the Party can be heard, then we will not be successful in future elections.

    So I will support good changes to the endorsement process.

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