Saturday, November 27, 2010

LA Times: State's GOP is sinking fast

George Skelton
From Sacramento

Go ahead: Accuse me of shooting the wounded. But it may be that the body already is dead.

I'm referring to the California Republican Party.

How alive could the state GOP be after suffering the pounding it took on Nov. 2, a day of historic party triumph elsewhere across America?

"It's not just wounded, it's in a coma," says Republican Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado.

Maldonado was one of several Republican victims on election day. He lost the lieutenant governor's race to Democratic San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.

I wouldn't be belaboring the obvious about the party's sorry shape except for a news release that caught my eye from veteran Republican consultant Kevin Spillane. He was senior strategist for Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley's campaign for attorney general.

Cooley was the biggest Republican vote-getter in California, which isn't saying much. At last count he was narrowly trailing Democratic San Francisco Dist. Atty. Kamala Harris by half a percentage point in their seesaw battle.

Most surprisingly, Cooley was beaten badly — by 14 points — in his home county, where he had won three district attorney races by landslides.

Why couldn't Cooley carry L.A.? Spillane points out that local races, unlike state contests, are nonpartisan. Local candidates don't list party affiliations.

"Cooley has been elected and reelected D.A. as an individual," Spillane wrote. "The moment the word 'Republican' appeared on the ballot next to [his] name in heavily Democratic Los Angeles County, it was a huge anchor that dragged him down, exacerbated by the collapse of the GOP ticket in the final week of the campaign."

GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman wound up getting trounced by Democratic Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown.

It was the GOP as Republican "anchor" that raised my eyebrows.


Posted by Steve Sinai

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