Imagine a Republican county supervisor from Crescent City winning the North Coast seat in Congress and holding onto it for 20 years. That’s what happened when Don Clausen, a World War II veteran, won the 1962 election in a district that stretched — as it does now, with some variations — from Marin County to Oregon. But that area of rugged coastline and liberal-leaning voters now has no Republicans in Congress or the Legislature, nor does any GOP candidate have a shouting chance of success in today’s election.
A handful of North Coast Republicans will be joining a flock of more than 4,400 GOP delegates and alternates at the 40th Republican National Convention in Tampa this week, not to baskin the sun but in the rhetoric of some three dozen convention speakers, including Republican luminaries like Govs. Chris Christie of New Jersey, Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Nikki Haley of South Carolina, House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.
Sonoma County is a sea of blue, reflecting the political bent that makes it the ninth-most liberal among California’s 58 counties. Sonoma and neighboring Mendocino County, at No. 8, are nearly tied on a political consultant’s scorecard that puts nine greater Bay Area counties — and Los Angeles — on the top 10 list of most left-leaning counties.
Remember Frank Riggs? We haven’t heard much about the former North Coast congressman since he left office in 1999 and then quit California for more Republican-friendly Arizona. Now, he’s back in the news, serving as Arizona campaign chairman for GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum.
The marginalization of the GOP in California is especially evident in the Bay Area, where independent voters now outnumber Republicans in five counties, a trend that could shape the outcome of some races under the new top-two primary system.
Presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann is making a campaign stop in at the Napa Valley County Club on Thursday, the second Republican candidate to visit Wine Country this month. The cost: $100 for hors d’oeuvres and no-host bar and $250 for a photo and private moment with the candidate. Current GOP front-runner Herman Cain may be the next to visit the area.
Assemblyman Michael Allen says it is time to separate fact from opinion surrounding the state’s budget crisis. He says Democrats have made difficult decisions to cut $10.7 billion in spending on a wide range of programs and services. Republicans say the cuts don’t go far enough and have blocked efforts to let voters decide whether to extend tax increases to help close the hole. Which side has the best approach?
The prosperity and well-being of all Californians is now at risk because of the state’s budget troubles, PD columnist Pete Golis says. And the worst is yet to come if voters do not extend existing taxes, he says. He takes aim at Republicans who refuse to place the tax measure on the ballot for voters to decide. What do you think? Should voters be given the chance to extend the taxes?