Business Bets on Democrats to GOP Chagrin

Joel Fox
Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily

From the business perspective is the top two primary working out as hoped? Looking at the lineup of 28 same party run-offs, mostly Democratic contests in this heavily Democratic state, business can advocate for and help fund the more business-friendly Democrat in each race.

Yet, in many cases the winning Democrat will stay true to the overall Democratic Party line. In most cases, but not all. A highlighted example, the debate recently over cutting gasoline consumption saw some Democrats ignore the pleas of their party’s governor and legislative leaders to the satisfaction of the oil industry and other businesses.

Are occasional victories enough for business? Or do business groups believe that in the current California political climate, getting occasional victories from some business friendly Democrats is the best they can hope for.

Republicans in the legislature beg to differ. Republicans say they are more sympathetic to business and to economic concerns. However, if business doesn’t support Republican candidates financially in campaigns, the GOP asserts, then a stronger business agenda will not advance in the legislature.

Business leaders appear resigned to looking for the “best” Democrat.

A well-known example played out when former Assembly Republican leader Kristin Olsen made it known she was interested in challenging Democratic incumbent Cathleen Galgiani for the 5th Senatorial District. Business interests felt Galgiani was a good enough vote in the senate. The business groups let the state Republican Party know it’s wishes and in turn the party refused to help Olson with financial support for her campaign. Resigned, Olsen chose to run for supervisor in Stanislaus County.

There is sort of a chicken and egg scenario at play here. Are Republicans sliding from relevance because the business community chooses to place their bets on business-friendly Democrats, or is business forced to follow that political path because of the irrelevance of a competitive Republican Party?

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