Republican leader wins despite election losses

Nov. 11, 2012

Katy Grimes: Despite losing two important Republican Assembly seats in the election and handing state Democrats a supermajority, California’s Assembly Minority Leader  Connie Conway, a Republican, was surprisingly and handily reelected to her leadership position Thursday.

“It was a Connie Conway love fest,” said one Capitol staffer who asked to remain anonymous.

Republican Assembly incumbents and candidates who were presumed to win across the state were left out to dry, while other races where Republicans appeared not to have a chance were supported by the Republican Caucus, according to Republican insiders.

Many in and around the Capitol were speculating last week that Conway would be replaced if she did not voluntarily step aside, as is the time-honored practice whenever there are election losses under a Legislative leader.

Republican Assemblyman Martin Garrick stepped aside as minority leader of the Assembly after losing only one seat in the 2010 general election.

Money makes the world go round

Money and politics go together like heroin and drug addicts; they have the same effect on most politicians. Legislators are far too invested in acquiring and keeping their jobs.

Critics of Conway said they were most upset over the loss of two key Assembly races. Assemblyman Chris Norby, R-Fullerton, who was expected to win reelection, trailed on election night, and is losing as absentee ballots are still being counted.

Norby’s opponent, Fullerton Mayor Sharon Quirk-Silva, a Democrat, received an infusion of money the last week of the election. Capitol insiders close to the Republican Caucus said that Norby requested help and more money to fight off the attacks, but was left hanging.

Republican Assembly candidate Pedro Rios ran for and lost the 32nd Assembly District in Kern County. Rios was not supported by the Republican Caucus during the primary, nor during the general election. And Rios lost to the Democrat.

Meanwhile, in Sacramento, the Republican Caucus focused on the newly drawn 8th Assembly District race between Democrat Ken Cooley and Republican Peter Tateishi. But Tateishi’s campaign, as well as Tateishi, was virtually MIA in the district. And Tateishi lost.

Hollow promises

While Gov. Jerry Brown has been promising that he will ensure that California does not spend beyond its means, the Democrats now have the supermajority ability to override the governor’s vetoes.

It looks like business as usual in Sacramento, full of hollow promises and unholy deals, with rancorous Republican leadership now leading a superminority.

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