By Maddon Hoh-Choi
California’s Republican Party is the largest Republican party in the nation; with 6 million people in the Golden State voting for former President Trump, more than in Texas or Florida, states Trump actually won. Two of America’s history’s most iconic Republican Presidents, Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon, heralded from our great land. Yet, the current state of the CAGOP is a wreck, holding no statewide offices, legislative majority, and an incredibly small Congressional delegation. There are many reasons for their failure (I plan to go over them in a future edition), but today I simply plan to go through their biggest two Ls in the last two years.
During the 2021 Recall election, California Republican voters decided to prop up Larry Elder as their de-facto opponent to Newsom, instead of coalescing around the moderate, popular Mayor of San Diego, Kevin Falconer. Obviously, their strategy worked fantastically for them and Larry Elder is favored to win a full term as Governor this November (just kidding). Elder was beaten in a landslide and CA Republicans took another L despite New Jersey and Virginia Republicans pulling off shocking upsets in the same year. Falconer, whom many GOP insiders considered to be their best shot at beating Gov. Newsom, declined to run for Governor again. Senator Brian Dahle is now the Republican challenger, but as I wrote about previously, he’s incredibly underfunded and has close to no name recognition among voters. I, and many other forecasters, rate the Governor race as Solid Newsom, with no chance of our incumbent Governor losing his reelection bid.
Getting Kneecapped in Redistricting
While GOP legislatures rammed through aggressive gerrymanders in Texas, Ohio, Utah, and the Deep South, California’s Democratic legislature lacked any redistricting power. However, the California Independent Redistricting Commission spared Democrats from the wipeout they faced elsewhere. Shocking many political observers, every single Democratic incumbent got a double district Biden district, setting each of them up for a smoother reelection campaign.
Redistricting did the CAGOP no favors at all, forcing them to play defense in another political arena. Many Republican incumbents saw their reelection bids get much more difficult. Southern California’s Ken Calvert saw his district get dramatically reshaped from Trump+7 to Trump+1. Moreover, SoCal GOP incumbents David Valadao and Mike Garcia saw their districts receive more blue turf, with each of them getting Biden+13 districts. The Central Valley’s Devin Nunes saw his district get completely dismantled, leading him to resign to become CEO of Trump media. To put into perspective how brutal the new map is, President Biden won a whopping 86.5% of the new Congressional districts, despite only getting 63.5% statewide.
Will the CAGOP ever recover from its sorry state? Read the next issue of “Madd on Politics” to find out.