Jim Brulte’s path now clear to be CA Republican Party leader
With word (h/t FlashReport) that California Republican Vice chair Steve Baric doesn’t plan to seek the big chair, the field is now all but officially cleared for longtime legislator Jim Brulte to assume the big chair, as we told you about several weeks back.
Baric told me he doesn’t want the job. He’s got a new private election law practice going and is committed to the work he’s doing as a member of the Rancho Santa Margarita City Council.
Plus, he feels that Brulte — who first went to the Legislature when Baric was a college freshman — is the right man at the right time for the job. “Quite frankly, I think that Jim would be a perfect fit for the job,” Baric told me. He knows how to win elections, he knows Sacramento and, Baric said, the party’s major donors are feeling better knowing that he’s likely to be in charge. “They’re still wary, but they’re excited about the possibilities.”
Combine that with the blessing Tuesday of conservative blogger Jon Fleischman — aka the man Jerry Brown calls a charter member of the conservative “Legion of Acceptability” — and Brulte’s path to the chair is as clear as a slip-n-slide.
Let the rebuilding of the California Republican Party commence. Grab a shovel. The hole’s deep and there’s going to be a lot of digging. Only 29 percent of Californians are registered Republicans and the party is $500,000 in the hole. Though they’ve dug out of THAT hole a little, even Baric told us he “wouldn’t hazard a guess” as to how deep it still is.
Uh-oh. Keep shoveling.
Baric and others — including Brulte — have been working behind the scenes for months to try to restructure the way the party works. When Brulte officially takes over the party gavel in March, Baric will be helping in significant way, he said. Stay tuned for details on what that will be.
One idea that’s getting a lot of traction among these reformers is to stress how California Republicans should get back to the basics. Translation: Spend more time on the nuts-and-bolts infrastructure of getting people elected. First run strong Republicans locally, then help them move up the ladder from there. Invest more time and money in growing the party, especially among among Latinos. It’s a long view and folks like Baric and Brulte are House Majority Whip Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield — another Brulte backer — are taking it.
That means spending less time lining up behind expensive ballot measures. Like ...