The California Republican Party needs to get it together

The California Republican Party has issues. If the GOP is ever going to regain a degree of credibility in California, it needs to do a better job of preventing clowns and cronies from being their party representative on the ballot.

Here’s what I mean.

In a Pomona congressional race, the Republican challenger to Congresswoman Norma Torres is, for the second time, a deeply moronic QAnoner who attacks Torres as a “baby-killing, Communist, opponent from Guatemala.”

In a Long Beach congressional race, the Republican challenger to Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia peddled this homophobic gibberish on Twitter: “Buddy Bobby our self proclaimed gay mayor has called for codification of Roe. What planet is our Buddy on?”

In Huntington Beach, the Orange County Republican Party and the Lincoln Club are backing Gracey Van Der Mark, the spiritual successor to other-dumpster-fire-idea Tito Ortiz. Van Der Mark is best known for being removed from school district panels after having this to say about a workshop on white privilege: “The colored people were there doing what the elderly Jewish people instructed them to do.”

In way too many races this year — the candidates who immediately come to mind include  Orange County Assembly candidate Soo Yoo, San Bernardino County Assembly candidate Joseph Martinez and Orange County superintendent candidate Stefan Bean — Republican candidates revealed themselves to be obsessed with conspiratorial nonsense about schools indoctrinating kids to be transgender or homosexual or whatever and then offering only the flimsiest support for such claims.

There are, to be sure, dimensions to the awfulness of many Republican candidates.

In way too many races, the GOP fielded candidates with absolutely no reason to be running besides basking in  whatever limelight a losing contender gets as a Republican candidate.

The top prize for this goes to insurance commissioner candidate Robert Howell, who left me deeply impressed with his absolute lack of understanding of the office he was running for and total void of ideas on what he’d even do if elected.

A second place prize must go to Angela Underwood Jacobs, the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, who really only technically has a campaign and otherwise is just taking up space on the ballot.

A special mention goes to the Republican challenger to Lou Correa in Orange County, who immediately conceded in an interview that he was advised not to run because he wouldn’t have a chance but decided to run anyway even though he doesn’t actually live in the district.

And on yet another dimension of Republican awfulness, I must draw attention to the Orange County Republican Party-backed candidates in Anaheim. In a city rocked by an ethics scandal following a corruption investigation into the former Republican Mayor Harry Sidhu and decades of fights over crony capitalism, the OC GOP-backed candidates include — drum roll please — former Sidhu allies and crony capitalism enthusiasts.

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Yes, the actual organized party leadership can only do so much.

Yes, to be a Republican candidate for many offices is a task no one of sound mind would possibly want to undertake because there’s zero chance of winning, so only the fools show up.

And yes, of course, there are terrible Democratic candidates, too. Duh.

But the Republicans — from individual voters on up to party bosses — need to stop letting their party get hijacked by horribly contemptible people, non-serious people and people devoid of principles.

Sal Rodriguez can be reached at

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