Representative Devin Nunes told the California Republican Party convention over the weekend that the party should seek relevance by sponsoring five ballot measures laying out the party’s priorities—and if the measures fail keep trying every election. Speaking from experience, sponsoring multiple ballot measures is not a wise strategy.

I was co-chair of four ballot measures on the 2005 special election ballot that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger supported and all four went down to defeat. I am not the only one who had a negative experience trying to manage multiple ballot measures. Then state Attorney General John Van de Kamp, when he was running for the Democratic nomination for governor in 1990, sponsored three ballot measures. All lost.

Doing even one ballot measure is hard—and in a state the size of California with so many voters to contact and influence—it is expensive. Congressman Nunes told reporters that he thought that $10-$12 million would cover the effort. That amount might be okay for one campaign—maybe–but not five. And, if you keep running multiple campaigns that fail donors will soon disappear.

Nunes goal for the five initiative strategy is for Republicans to gain notice in a state in which GOP party registration numbers keep shrinking. He proposed initiatives to promote off shore oil drilling, eliminate the state income tax, move high speed rail bond money to water storage, change how public employee union dues are collected and create a part time legislature.

All these proposals have been tried in one form or another in the past without much success.

That’s not to stay that a failed measure should not be attempted again. However, the focus should be on one major reform.

I have some experience in that area, as well. Reforming property taxes met with a number of defeats over two decades before success was finally achieved with Proposition 13. The focus remained on the one issue over all that time.

Similarly, I believe if fiscal reform were the only measure presented in the special election of 2005 that would have had a good chance of succeeding. Tying a fiscal reform measure to a slew of other initiatives that included teacher tenure, union dues, and redistricting undercut the concentration needed to pass one major reform.

If Republicans believe an initiative strategy will bring them back to relevance in the Golden State they should focus on a single measure and not try to change the political landscape in one fell swoop.