Jim Brulte’s Three Objectives as California Republican Party Chairman: Start a Party Fundraising Program, Encourage Local Grassroots Activism, Recruit Candidates Who Reflect the People of California

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

UPDATE (January 18, 2013): The Republican Party of San Diego County has posted two YouTube videos of Jim Brulte’s remarks at their January 14, 2013 meeting.

Here’s a video of the entire 13-minute speech:

Here’s a two-minute video summary, featuring highlights:


I’ve been compiling the written, credible advice from California Republican Party leaders and activists concerning how Republicans in California can improve their election performance and become more effective at state and local governments in protecting economic and personal freedom. (See Proposed Changes for the California Republican Party in 2013-2014: A Compilation of Advice from Party Leaders.)

Now, we’re getting an idea of what plan the next party chairman will implement.

Jim Brulte kicks off his campaign for California Republican Party chairman on January 14, 2013 in San Diego.

Jim Brulte kicks off his campaign for California Republican Party chairman on January 14, 2013 in San Diego.

On January 14, 2013, former state legislator Jim Brulte spoke at the monthly meeting of the Republican Party of San Diego County.

This was an appropriate setting for Brulte to officially kick off his candidacy for California Republican Party chairman and outline his plans, because the San Diego County Republican Party successfully turned itself around (in ten years) to became effective in carrying out the basic tasks of a political party operation while maintaining a consensus set of principles. (I write about this in my June 19, 2012 column in www.FlashReport.org, The Untold Story: Years of Challenging, Unglamorous Work Led to Big Republican Election Night in San Diego on June 5)

In fact, Brulte called the Republican Party of San Diego County the “gold standard” for county committee operations, and he said he intends to model the state party’s operations based on the San Diego County “back-to-basics blocking and tackling” approach. Brulte is going to focus on mechanics (or “political technology,” as the Leadership Institute calls it) and leave the policy messages to elected officials and candidates.

Brulte has identified grassroots activism as one of his three area of focus.

Brulte has identified grassroots activism as one of his three area of focus.

At the end of the meeting, the San Diego County Republican Central Committee unanimously endorsed Brulte for California Republican Party chairman. San Diego County Republican Party chairman Tony Krvaric sent an email to activists with these links to news coverage of the speech and event. (I selected the article excerpts for the summaries and chose the bold highlights.)

Brulte Kicks Off CRP Bid at San Diego GOP Meetingwww.FlashReport.org – January 14, 2013

Senator Brulte laid out his plans which include the need for the CRP to establish its own statewide fundraising network, so that the party would not be reliant on the top of the ticket, or financial support from legislative leaders.  He talked about the need to export the “San Diego GOP model” for grassroots activism all around the state — because a resurgence in our “ground game” would be essential for future victories.  Finally Brulte talked about the importance of recruiting local candidates for office that reflect the changing demographics of our state…Brulte’s message of a return to the “nuts and bolts” of winning campaigns will be well received all around.

Statewide ‘Republican Renaissance’ Seen if San Diego GOP Is Used as Model – Rancho Bernardo Patch – January 15, 2013

  • “Our party is right,” Brulte said…“There’s absolutely nothing wrong with Republican principles…We just need to get back to the basics of trying to win elections.”
  • “The California Republican Party has to be as good and capable and competent and excellent and outstanding as the San Diego County party.”
  • Brulte made no suggestions on how to reframe Republican policies, saying others could explain “the issues.”
  • His only hint that the party needed to improve diversity was saying: “The table will be big enough for anyone who wants to sit at it and pull in the same direction.”
  • Brulte said: “I want to be the most boring chairman in the history of the California Republican Party. I want to be the nuts-and-bolts chairman that helps begin the process of bringing back the Republican Party and a two-party state in California.”
  • STEP ONE: the path to GOP success lies in launching a statewide party fundraising operation, growing the grassroots and recruiting more candidates. “For too long,” he said, “the California Republican Party has been reliant on members of the Legislature, on Republican governors” and wealthy GOP candidates for governor to share funds with other Republican candidates. “The party that says welfare should not be a permanent state has become a welfare recipient,” he said, noting the lack of a fundraising arm.
  • STEP TWO: “You can’t build the party from the top down…you have to build a party from the bottom up – and that means re-invigorating the grassroots.”
  • STEP THREE: recruiting candidates from “every neighborhood in California…It is axiomatic that in a neighborhood election, the candidate who most looks like, sounds like and has the shared values and the shared experiences of the majority of people in the neighborhood tends to win.”

GOP Leader Lays Out Rebuilding VisionSan Diego Union-Tribune – January 14, 2013

  • “We just need to get back to basics,” Brulte said, laying out a theme for fundraising, candidate recruitment and training and better grass roots organizing
  • “We have to rebuild from the bottom up,” he said, adding the party needs to recruit candidates that look, sound and talk like their neighbors…Republicans know they have major work to broaden the party’s appeal…
  • work to rebuild the party starts with wiping a roughly $500,000 debt and creating a large-scale, statewide fundraising operation…
  • “We ought to be a help to Republican Party officials and candidates, not the other way around,” he said, referring to the GOP’s reliance on self-funded candidates for statewide office and a small cadre of wealthy donors.

According to a January 14, 2013 San Francisco Chronicle blog post (Jim Brulte: Will Take CA GOP 6 years to Rebound), it’s going to take a while to turn things around, but it needs to start now or a turnaround will become unfeasible:

“A minimum of six years,” Brulte told The Chronicle. “This is a corporation that is bankrupt. There is a lot of heavy lifting that needs to be done and we all need to share in doing it.”

That’s not to say he’s kissing off the next cycle. Republicans need to “either stop the bleeding and/or start turning it around” in 2014 or Brulte said the party will be in the pits “for the rest of the decade.” The legislative supermajority gives Dems a supermajority of fundraising power that will be hard for Republicans to overcome…

Remaking the Republican Party: Experienced Hand Seen as Key to Revitalizing a Wounded GOPSan Diego Union-Tribune – January 18, 2013

Brulte’s agenda is straightforward:

  • Raise money to wipe out a roughly $500,000 debt.
  • Establish a statewide fundraising operation.
  • Early recruitment and training of candidates in every electoral district in the state, including traditionally Democratic ones such as those dominated by African-Americans, Asians and Latinos.

“If we do that, 2014 can be a great for us”…Brulte says the right mix of money, candidates and grass-root efforts will make 2014 “the year we can begin the Republican renaissance, and the year we can begin to take back California. The team will be big enough for anyone who wants to join and pull in the same direction.”

Of course, some of the comments posted under these articles (not necessarily representative of the ordinary voter) blast the Republican Party for its policy positions rather than the mechanics of its campaigns. Brulte is assuming that a majority of California citizens believe in limited government, and therefore funding, volunteers, and appealing candidates can get people to switch their votes to Republicans or to start voting – and vote for Republicans.

It will be an interesting test to see if the population of California is now inexorably committed to democratic socialism and its related philosophical tenets. In the meantime, the demographic base of the Republican Party will likely continue to move out of the state (see the January 15, 2013 Fox & Hounds column California’s Demographic Dilemma).

2 comments

  1. […] UPDATE (January 15, 2013): My post Jim Brulte’s Three Objectives as California Republican Party Chairman: Start a Party Fundraising P… […]

  2. […] Jim Brulte’s Three Objectives as California Republican Party Chairman: Start a Party Fundraising P… […]