Republicans should listen to Kevin McCarthy

Judy Lloyd
President of Altamont Strategies

Republicans meet this weekend at their State Convention in Sacramento to discuss their nominations process in the aftermath of Proposition 14. Some may think it’s an inside baseball debate. The truth is that what happens this weekend will have a tremendous impact on the Republican Party, its candidates and their ability to win future elections.

California’s highest ranking Congressional Republican Kevin McCarthy has become active in this debate. He is co-sponsoring a measure with State Senate Leader Bob Dutton and Assembly Leader Connie Conway. The plan focuses on the principle that Republican voters should decide who their nominees are – not party insiders.

McCarthy addressed California Republican Party delegates via teleconference this week contrasting the differences between the process for party endorsements that he and a vast majority of Members of Congress, State Senators and Assembly Members support and the one proposed by the current party chairman.

McCarthy sees a bigger picture than party bosses do. He fears disenfranchisement among our men and women in uniform, rank and file Republicans, and the state’s growing Latino population if the alternative plan is adopted.

He cites a nationally-know example of a backroom party deal that went bad. It happened when party bosses in New York State picked Dede Scozzafava as their special election candidate in New York’s 23rd Congressional District. Her views were at odds with Republicans in her district on health care and economic issues. She eventually dropped out of the race and Republicans lost the seat.

Unlike some of the party leadership, McCarthy has served in various capacities on the grassroots level as well as being elected. He started on his local central committee, got elected to the State Assembly, became the Republican Leader, won election to Congress and is now the #3 point man in the U.S. Congress as Majority Whip.

He started the “Young Guns” program to recruit candidates for U.S. Congress with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI). They recruited young men and women all over the country to run for the United States Congress as Republicans. The result: a Republican take-over of 65 seats in Congress and success at the ballot box everywhere except California and Oregon.

This weekend Republican delegates can heed the advice of McCarthy, Conway, Dutton, Strickland, and other conservatives with a positive track record, forge a compromise, or adopt the alterative plan that leaves politicos who benefit most from the process to make the decisions.

It’s time for California Republicans to get with it and professionalize the party operation. Delegates should support McCarthy, Dutton, and Conway. They were chosen by the votes to lead and they know the pathway to success.

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