At the initial summit for New Way California, a group created by Assemblyman Chad Mayes to revive a slumping state Republican Party, former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger offered a suggestion to force change in the party—tell donors to stop giving .

There are signs that is already happening if the high profile governor’s contest is an indicator. In dropping out of the governor’s race, former Republican congressman Doug Ose said he stopped his campaign because donors were not stepping up to support his candidacy.  Leading Republican gubernatorial candidates John Cox and Travis Allen, while raising some independent cash, have not been raking in the big dollars usually associated with a run for a high-profile, statewide race in California, although Cox has contributed millions to his own campaign.

It should be noted that in the latest Public Policy Institute of California poll released yesterday, Cox has vaulted into second place, which could potentially help his outside fundraising.

However, as I’ve noted on this site previously, many business community supporters who in the past have backed GOP candidates are not coming forward to help any GOP statewide candidates feeling it would be a futile exercise.

One of the beneficiaries of that circumstance appears to be former Los Angeles mayor, Democrat Antonio Villaraigosa.

On hand at the New Way California summit was Mike Madrid a long time Republican consultant who is working for Villaraigosa in this election.

Madrid is a supporter of the New Way approach of opening up the party to fresh ideas but says the current two leading Republican gubernatorial candidates are sticking to traditional Republican orthodoxy and are “running down the road to irrelevancy.”

Madrid said if the New Way California effort fails, the trend toward Republican Party irrelevancy will escalate. The party makes up only one-quarter of the state’s registered voters.

Madrid’s effort on behalf of Villaraigosa comes from his belief that the former mayor is a pragmatic politician. This governor’s race should not be about ideology, Madird said. The current Republican Party brand is leaving a “ton of votes” available to a candidate that takes a practical approach to governing.

Comparing the Republican Party to a sinking Titanic, Schwarzenegger, the last Republican governor, said that only 59% of the state Republicans have a positive view of the Republican Party. He reminded an audience of a couple of hundred attendees that he warned a state party convention a decade ago that the party was “dying at the box office.”

“How right I was,” said Schwarzenegger.

Chad Mayes said the image of an intolerant Republican Party that serves the rich and big business must change. More emphasis must be made on giving opportunity to all, he said. Given that the rich in the prominent California industries of entertainment and high tech clearly favor and offer their largess to Democrats, there may be a chance to correct that image.

Ominously, Ohio governor John Kasich who joined the summit, offered a lesson on how both major political parties would suffer if they did not cater to citizens’ needs. “Imagine if Los Angeles had two department stores, one red and one blue,” he said. If customers could not find what they want they will turn to a new, boutique establishment. In other words, he was warning if the party doesn’t reform, a new third party could replace it.

Schwarzenegger said it could take a long time to achieve success. New Way California takes the next steps by holding future meetings and by creating a non-profit foundation.

Don’t be surprised if Schwarzenegger asks those donors he urged to starve the state party to help fund the foundation.