How provocative and different will New Way California be? That’s the group founded by Assemblyman Chad Mayes and supported by former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in an effort to revive the California Republican Party. What drives this question is the talk Schwarzenegger gave at the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference as reported by Politico Magazine in which he said he was planning to sue oil companies, making the incendiary charge, ‘If you walk into a room and you know you’re going to kill someone, it’s first degree murder; I think it’s the same thing with the oil companies.”

Is New Way California on board with this approach? Tough rhetoric for an organization that defines itself as, “A movement of Republicans & Centrists committed to problem solving & robust civility.”

The issue of climate change spurred the creation of New Way California. When Chad Mayes was minority leader he teamed with a number of Republicans to support an extension of the cap-and-trade law. It lost him his job as leader. But he persisted in pushing the issue. One of the first two Internet ads created by New Way California declares that “Climate Change is Real.”

Schwarzenegger’s charge is that oil companies knew that the use of fossil fuels was harmful to people and to the environment. He hopes his proposed lawsuit would at least lead to warning labels tagged to fossil fuels. (There are already warning labels at gas stations due to the Proposition 65 requirements warning that products used at the site can cause cancer.)

It’s interesting to note that oil companies such as Chevron, ExxonMobil, and Occidental all financially supported Schwarzenegger in his last gubernatorial run.

For over a decade, Schwarzenegger has lamented the diminished influence of the California Republican Party. No question the party needs to turn around its acceptance to voters. Is New Way California the answer?

Ironically, if New Way California follows Schwarzenegger’s lead, an organization viewed as a moderate political alternative could gain attention from fiery pronouncements.

New Way California is holding a statewide summit in Los Angeles on Wednesday March 21. Ohio governor and former presidential candidate, John Kasich will join Mayes and Schwarzenegger. You can learn more about New Way California and sign up for the summit here.