Rob Bernosky for Chairman of the California Republican Party
Why I am Running
When companies consistently miss targets, boards typically replace CEOs. When sports teams consistently lose, coaches are typically let go. It may not be just the CEO or coach that is the problem, but simply a matter of the entity needing a refresh and a new approach to business to be successful. The California Republican Party is in that state.
There are 2 primary problems in today’s CAGOP: Results and judgment about external reality.
The California Republican Party holds only 18 of 80 State Assembly seats (23%). We hold only 8 of 40 State Senate seats (20%). Out of 52 Congressional seats, only 12 are held by Republicans (23%). We have 0 out of 2 US Senate seats (0%). For the constitutional offices, we are 0 for 8 (0%).
And of course we only have 24.4% voter registration.
Overselling its success is where current leadership of the Party excels: convincing its board, its delegates (actual voting members) and donors that it is succeeding. Everyone there will tell you that things are just going great.
As a current and former county Party chair, Republican nominee for State Assembly, Republican nominee for California Secretary of State, and former board member and regional vice chair of the California Republican Party, I am in a good position to know how the CAGOP actually operates. With all of those positions and being a businessman, homeowner, and tax-paying resident, I have all the evidence I need to assess we have failed.
However, current leadership of the California Republican Party will tell you that they are enjoying great success, because we elected Kevin McCarthy to Speaker of the House. I don’t want to take anything away that a California Republican was elected to Speaker; that is great for California. Unfortunately, although we participated with our 12 votes, California did not elect Kevin McCarthy to be Speaker; the country did. Claiming that as our success is an embellishment of how it actually occurred. The semi-false narrative of success about raising tens of millions of dollars is also a problem. Yes, huge amounts of money are raised in certain Congressional races and funneled through the state Party. Consultants who work nationwide raise millions of dollars and they are used to secure the few seats we have here. The CAGOP focusing your attention on that as a measure of success is an attempt to divert attention from where we fail the most: the pain we Californians feel from consistent failure in Sacramento (and the fact we actually only have 12 out of to seats in Congress).
All but the wealthy in California know that pain at the gas pump, in our utility bills, at the grocery store, in our high tax rates, our high crime and homelessness, bad schools, the lack of affordable homes, being forced into electric cars and natural gas appliances, lack of water resources, and overall lack of common sense in governing. This all comes comes from Sacramento, where we have failed miserably over two decades in having any say in how we are governed. Kevin McCarthy does not play in Sacramento. He plays in Washington DC. This is not a bad thing, but the California Republican Party needs the same in Sacramento! Kevin McCarthy supports current management of the California Republican Party because we are a partner to help him and other California members of Congress in Washington D.C.
How has the California Republican Party participated in the decline of our values being represented? In the past two decades or more our world has changed. We have less of a volunteer pool because everyone has become busier and we have not been able to sell them on why they should give up any of their time. Many have left California. The Democrats got ballot harvesting, extended and mail in voting, and instead of us taking advantage of that, too many in the Party declared we were not going to participate. So while we are sitting at home waiting for election day, our competition is out picking up ballots. The California Republican Party did an inadequate job of selling voting early, which they should have even if we don't like it.
To be fair, we do see limited success with our congressional seats in a few Republican stronghold areas. We can also claim success in helping out the Republican National Committee in presidential election years because we have the largest delegation to the Republican National Convention and therefore have an outsized influence on who the country’s nominee for President will be. Again, the role the CAGOP mostly plays here is accommodating the national consultants for raising money here, to be spent elsewhere. (We do not actually play a role in electing presidents due to the nuances of presidential politics). The pain Californians feel most sharply and every day comes from Sacramento, where Republicans are not relevant today.
Of course, we are a divided party. And the new chair is going to have to do a good job of listening to all levels of ideology and convincing everyone to work together to start easing the pain. End gaming those you disagree with in your own Party gets you exactly to where we are today: impotent.
Within our Party, those involved with the presidential and few congressional seats have all the money and control. The 22 board members or so are placeholders. They have good intentions, are honorable people, but they have no control or focus. We need to get them productive.
It's time for new leadership in the California Republican Party.
The California Republican Party has obligations to its members to help at the national level, but cannot abandon governing in Sacramento. My read is that everyone, individuals, businesses, trade associations and even the California Republican Party has given up on our values and and principles being represented in California. My goal is to stop people from giving up and to get started on turning our situation around.
We need to retool and rethink how we get become a statewide party again and let the rest of the state know that we are here. We need to get back into the statehouse again and become part of the bill-making process.
What Do I intend to Do
- As your candidate for Secretary of State, I am committed to:
- Fair and transparent elections;
- Restoring confidence in our election, ultimately increasing voter turnout;
- Cleaning California’s voter rolls;
- Modernizing voting technology that is safe and secure to protect every ballot cast;
- Inspiring civic engagement;
- Finding new and innovative ways to register Californians eliminating messes like Motor Voter;
- Opposing efforts for taxpayer-funded campaigns;
- And creating an environment of opportunity and learning, so vulnerable communities have the convenience of voting like other communities.