Response to Stephen Frank: Understanding Central Committee Endorsements
In a recent Op-Ed written by Stephen Frank (a local political consultant) and published in Citizens Journal, a publication owned by one of the challengers in the Central Committee race, accusations of foul play and “slimy” politics were made against the endorsed Central Committee candidates.
For background, Steve Frank recently ran for the Chair of the California Republican Party and received less than 10% of delegate votes as Jessica Patterson easily won election. Frank’s ultra conservative views seemed out of touch with many California Republicans as demonstrated by delegate votes.
But, in local politics, the most recent scuttlebutt is around the Ventura County Republican Party’s Central Committee (District 2) election set for March 3, 2020. In this race alone, fourteen people are running for just 6 seats. Candidates include incumbent GOP seat-holders as well as Tea Party members and even those with disdain for the party.
Voters for these positions must be registered Republicans since the California Republican Party has a closed primary.
The Ventura County Central Committee consists of 5 districts, each related to a geography. The number of seats is determined by the number of registered Republicans in that district. District 2 is the largest district in the Ventura County Central Committee. Districts are aligned to the Ventura County Board of Supervisors Map.
Accusation of Foul Play
Six of the 14 candidates were endorsed by the Ventura County Republican Party.
After this occurred, murmurs began with accusations of foul play. The accusations arose from Central Committee members unanimously voting to support the endorsements made by individual district caucus members for their own race. This vote meant that members of the district caucus could choose to endorse themselves and questions arose around the fairness of such a vote.
Opposition to this vote are misguided.
First, while five of the endorsed candidates are incumbents, one is not. This means the caucus didn’t just vote for themselves.
When the members caucused, there are many considerations taken into account to select the endorsed candidates.
The political party concept is defined as a group joined together around common ideals and focusing efforts for the common good towards a common cause. The political party system is guided by bylaws and party rules. The caucus followed the bylaws when making the endorsement.
For someone to become a leader of a political party, they should have exposure to those ideals and the level of commitment needed. The best experience in the Republican Party is to work as a volunteer on any number of activities or events. To date, many of the non-endorsed candidates have not participated at any event in which members of the Ventura County Republican Party have observed. It is very hard to endorse a leader of an organization when they have never been a volunteer in the party. Since leadership takes a lot of community involvement, to not witness any involvement in recent times is a red flag.
For those non-endorsed candidates that have participated as volunteers, some party members concluded that they were counterproductive to party objectives. And while one candidate is now a new member to a Republican affiliate group outside of District 2, they have been excused, asked to leave, or resigned from three local affiliated Republican organizations within because of their behavior in meetings.
Finally, other non-endorsed candidates were aligned with party ideals and were able to show up periodically, but did not demonstrate (in the most recent 24 months) the ability to make the deep time commitment needed to be both a local leader in the party and to assist at the local headquarters with candidates and volunteers.
Participation in the party is defined by hours of volunteer work, participation in community activities and candidate campaign work. On average, a Central Committee member will expend between 10 to 50+ hours per week in election season. If someone cannot commit that time, a leadership position is probably not the right fit.
So who are the six endorsed candidates?
Kerry Nelson, Tamara Howard, John Andersen, Dianne Alexander, Angela Nardone, and Chantal Margottin, all of whom have invested thousands of hours over the last 24 months. Overall, the six endorsed candidates have been involved in multiple Republican organizations in good standing and have helped on one or multiple election campaigns. In addition, they have represented the Ventura County Republican Party at community events and have volunteered in both election cycles and in the “off-season.”
These candidates have demonstrated they have the ability to make the commitments to the party and to local campaigns.
To learn more about the candidates, click here.