We might be saying Assemblyman Leo Hamel next year — that could be a very good thing for the Republicans in San Diego. I met Leo Hamel in 2012 at a Lincoln-Reagan dinner. I knew his name because of his high-profile jewelry business but I had never met the man. During our conversation, I realized that Leo was a libertarian. He supported Rand Paul and Carl DeMaio and understood that the political fight, for libertarians, had to be through one of the two major parties (thank to Prop 14).
If you asked me if I would support a candidate Hamel, in 2012, I would have said “Of course but he has far too much positive stuff going on to deal with Sacramento”. I know a lot of people, like Leo, who have neither the time nor the inclination to campaign and win these seats– they are too busy “pursuing happiness”. Stated differently, the folks who share my vision of limited government are too busy, personally fighting the apparatchiks, to eliminate their threat to everyone else.
Thankfully, Leo decided to take the fight TO the apparatchiks and I’m thrilled about it. There are three reasons why I urge Republicans to coalesce around his campaign:
1- He stand for our principles. Leo understands that, in California, big government is the problem rather than the solution. He has experienced, first hand, how: regulators interfere with voluntary transactions, make us less safe, and create protected cartels which inhibit competition and prospects for upward economic mobility.
2- He can win. Leo’s family is on bill boards and on television advertisements. He has great name recognition throughout the County. With over thirty years of business experience, more people have done a transaction with his firm than there are registered voters in the 71st Assembly District.
3- He can grow the Republican Party. I don’t see Leo as a guy who is going to compromise principles but his principles appeal to independent voters in the 78th, 78th, and 80th Assembly Districts. While I expect an Assemblyman Hamel to represent the 71st Assembly District well, he can appeal to disaffected Democrats and independents in Districts where Republicans lose. If we are ever to compete in those Districts, elected officials from safe Republican Districts have to help us in the tougher ones. Mike Harrison and Phil Graham understand that.
Leo is already “talking” to people in those Districts through the single best communication medium– commerce. He has six stores in San Diego County: two are in the 78th, one is on the 79th, and one is in the heart of the 80th. To paraphrase an old stock broker’s ad, “When Leo is speaking, and people are listening”.
If the 2016 Presidential campaign has taught us anything, this is the year of the outsider. The good news is that Leo Hamel is no demagogue, seeking to turn Americans against one another– he just wants to get the government off of our back.
Leo Hamel for California Assembly.