Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)
Ron Nehring is taking one for the team, the Republican team, by stepping into the lieutenant governor’s race. That’s an honorable choice. But I wonder if he and his party might be better off if they sat this one out.
Nehring’s view is that the California GOP, as a statewide party, needs to have a candidate for each statewide office. California needs a debate on the issues, and it’s hard to have such debates without candidates. Nehring told me via email that he’d support reform to allow the governor and lieutenant governor ran on a ticket, as is done in other states. But for now, in California in 2014, lieutenant governor is a separate office and the GOP needs a candidate, and so he is running.
I see this differently. I can understand how the logic of fielding a strong candidate for every race may apply to other statewide races, but lieutenant governor is an exception. It’s a nothing job. And having a thoughtful person like Nehring run for governor is a waste of time and resources. Essentially, he’s spending time running a race he probably can’t win for an office that we could do without.