GOP’s Texas-California connection grows

GOP’s Texas-California connection grows

rick perryIf present trends continue, California Republicans could set up a virtual government-in-exile in Texas.

As is now well known, outmigration from California has reached historic highs. Although just 2.6 percent of the large Texas population is now Californian in origin, Texas has received the largest number of Californians from any state in absolute terms. As The New York Times reports, Texas is now home for almost 680,000 people born in California — a figure that excludes non-native Californians who picked up stakes and relocated to the Lone Star State.

Number-crunchers have not drilled down much into the demographic details of the California-to-Texas migration path. But it’s not hard to understand what kind of Golden Staters would be especially drawn to the move.

A successful jump to Texas is aided by factors such as a well paying job that can relocate or translate into the same or better employment. But cultural reasons are among the motives for a self-induced transfer. Californians capable of moving are apt to consider Texas because they are dissatisfied with their own state’s high taxation, high unemployment and extensive government intrusions.

The same holds true if they’re unhappy with the public education system, the legacy of illegal immigration, or the political party that has dominated California politics for years on end.

In short, California Republicans are especially primed to become Texans — and Texas, under Gov. Rick Perry, is especially primed to welcome them.

Playing the inside game

That sort of synergy is clearly no coincidence. But the connection runs even deeper than the cultural and political climate in the two states. The “new” Perry — the more confident, competent figure that emerged from the wreckage of Perry’s bungled 2012 primary campaign for president — is not quite as home-grown Texan as some might believe. Rather than digging down deeper into his home state roots, Perry turned for help to an outsider with a powerful political pedigree — in California.

His name is Jeff Miller, a consultant volunteering a full suite of services to Perry. Miller rose to prominence fundraising and advising former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. He’s among the most plugged-in and well regarded of California Republicans. But, in a sign of the condition of his state’s party politics, Miller is making huge waves — and spending lots of time — in Texas.

As the Texas Tribune reported, Perry’s inner circle feels no shame in heaping praise on Miller. Described as a “perfect extension” of Perry, “the one that has the governor’s ear,” Miller is said to supply the “focus and leadership that was missing” in the Perry camp.

An alternate California

The strange consequence of the arrangement is that Rick Perry 2.0 has become something of a shadow governor of California. Not only is he acting the way a Republican running the state might act; he’s actively recruiting talent and leadership away from the Golden State — and not just in politics.

Jaws dropped, for instance, when Perry succeeded in luring Elon Musk’s SpaceX away from California — where credulous legislators in Sacramento bent over backwards to secure what critics described as the most flagrant kind of crony-capitalist tax deals. Assembly Bill 777 was hurriedly passed to secure a raft of tax exemptions for SpaceX activities, leading The Wall Street Journal to slam state Democrats as Musk’s “Sacramento Pay Pals.” As the Silicon Valley Business Journal reported, the Texas deal will see $85 million and 300 jobs flow into the Brownsville metropolitan area, among the nation’s poorest.


Similar criticism, however, has not attached to Perry’s creative approach to building the Texas economy. With Miller at the helm, the importance of California to that strategy is clear.

Notably, Miller isn’t the only California Republican putting down Texas political roots. In 2011, Texas became home to former Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, R-Irvine. An influential officeholder representing nearly half a million people, DeVore’s resume included time spent in the California National Guard and in the state’s aerospace industry. He was the model Republican to bail on his home state and make inroads in Texas.

Now, he’s Vice President of Policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. In an op-ed at National Review, DeVore summed up the rationale behind his reinvention simply: Just by looking at “the two states’ respective balance sheets,” it was clear that “Texas’s legislature is run by makers and California’s by takers.”

That’s a narrower pitch than many California Democrats will appreciate. But California Republicans in Texas exile don’t want a scattershot approach. They’ve already seen spectacular gains in attracting political and business talent.

Now, it seems, they’re refining their message and their outreach. If the buzz around Rick Perry continues to build, it’s likely  the governor will frame a new presidential campaign around the intriguing idea that Texas shows America what California could be — if it wasn’t run by Democrats.


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  1. SkippingDog
    SkippingDog 15 August, 2014, 17:49

    Yep, it’s a great day for the confused state of Texas. Wonder how Perry will like one of his own foul prisons?

    Reply this comment
  2. idmoochers
    idmoochers 16 August, 2014, 07:33

    Spoken like two moochers. Keep sucking.

    Reply this comment
    • SkippingDog
      SkippingDog 16 August, 2014, 11:52

      Do you think Perry will get to do his time at one of those private “Corrections Company of America” prisons he loves so much?

      Reply this comment
    • SoCalSteve
      SoCalSteve 18 August, 2014, 11:09

      idmoochers must be soft on crime. The only people who suck are the Regressives.

      Reply this comment
  3. BC
    BC 16 August, 2014, 14:20

    Yes we will soon see if Texans are stupid enough to believe the charges against Perry. We already know how stupid Californians are.

    Reply this comment
  4. Richard Rider
    Richard Rider 18 August, 2014, 10:45

    Note that none of the liberal trolls here will comment on the ongoing loss of jobs and businesses to Texas.

    Well, how COULD they? Better to deflect the topic to an indictment — or “lousy prisons.” Why would these trolls talk about matters of substance — especially since they have no rebuttal to offer?

    Reply this comment
    • SoCalSteve
      SoCalSteve 18 August, 2014, 11:15

      Tell the whole story, Richard.

      1. California is creating jobs at a faster clip over the last 12 months than any state except Texas.

      2. California ranked 14th best nationally when costs are measured as a share of state productivity.

      3. There’s a limited connection between labor costs and economic growth. For example, business costs are cheap in Buffalo, N.Y., where there’s little economic growth. But in super-expensive New York City, business and investment are booming.

      And please don’t deflect this by trying to shoot the messenger–your usual modus operandi.

      Reply this comment
  5. Richard Rider
    Richard Rider 19 August, 2014, 07:25

    SoCalSteve — References? URL’s?

    More important, it’s no surprise CA jobs are rising RELATIVELY rapidly — we dropped the most! Indeed, Nevada with its high unemployment (higher than CA) was the second best job growth state (NOT California as you incorrectly assert) in a recent 12 month period. Is Nevada’s economy doing well? Nope.
    (EXPLANATION: The above link is a URL, which is my SOURCE for my facts. Where’s yours, SoCalSteve??)

    There’s more. California is losing mid-range jobs — the vaunted job growth is primarily in low wage jobs. This is your booming economy??

    In spite of the jobs growth in CA, we still have high unemployment. CA is tied for the 5th worst state unemployment rate (June, 2014) – 7.4%. National unemployment rate 6.2%. National unemployment rate not including CA is 6.0%, making the CA unemployment rate 22.6% higher than the average of the other 49 states. (Sadly, one of the best performances we’ve managed in several years – we were at 4.8% in Nov, 2006 – vs. national 4.6%).

    There’s more: California’s real poverty rate (the new census bureau standard adjusted for COL) is by far the worst in the nation at 23.8%. We are 48.8% higher than the average for the other 49 states. Indeed, the CA poverty rate is 20.2% higher than 2nd place Nevada. page 13

    Keep whistling past the graveyard, SoCalSteve. Our migration patterns are clear. More people seeking employment are leaving California — especially middle aged, middle class people with skills but little opportunity in the high cost Golden State. Texas — in spite of the influx of hundreds of thousands of economic refugees from other states — has a lower unemployment rate than California, which is LOSING people to other states.

    Reply this comment
  6. Richard Rider
    Richard Rider 19 August, 2014, 09:32

    a) Texas added more than 1,000 jobs every day over the last 12 months, a total payroll increase of 396,200 from July 2013 to July 2014.
    b) Texas payrolls increased in the last two months (+77,000) by more than the net increase in California payrolls since December 2007.
    c) Texas added more than 15 workers to the state’s payrolls since December 2007 for every one worker added to payrolls in California (1,078,600 net new jobs in Texas vs. 69,400 net new jobs in California). — Item #10
    Also excellent graphic comparing the two states employment history.

    Reply this comment
  7. Richard Rider
    Richard Rider 19 August, 2014, 13:42

    If that’s not enough to give Californians cause for concern, here’s a five more “California vs. Texas” comparisons to ponder:

    1. The national “supplemental” (adjusted for cost of living — the new BLS standard) 2010-2012 poverty rate is 16.0%. Texas is higher, at 16.8%.
    But California’s supplemental poverty rate is by far the worst in the nation at 23.8%. We are 48.8% higher than the average for the other 49 states. Indeed, the CA poverty rate is 20.2% higher than 2nd place Nevada. We are 45.1% worse than Texas. Table 4

    2. According to recent U.S. census figures, the 2009 median household income in California is significantly higher than Texas.
    CA — $58,931
    TX — $48,259 — 18.1% less than CA
    But, ADJUSTED FOR THE COST OF LIVING, the Texas median household income is significantly higher than California.
    TX — $53,009
    CA — $44,456 — 16.1% less than TX

    3. California’s huge GDP (8th largest in the world — down from 5th largest in 1999) is often touted as proof positive that we are more financially successful than other states. Of course, not mentioned is that CA is by far the most populous state. A better gauge is the per capita GDP. Here are the 2012 figures:
    CA — $46,029
    TX — $46,498
    More important, the Texas GDP is growing significantly faster than California’s. And note that the GDP is NOT adjusted for inflation!

    4. California residential electricity costs an average of 27.6% more per kWh than the national average. CA commercial rates are 44.4% higher. For industrial use, CA electricity is 74.4% higher than the national average (October, 2013). NOTE: SDG&E is even higher. California industrial rates are more than DOUBLE the Texas rate.

    5. 500 top U.S. CEO’s surveyed rank California “the worst state in which to do business” for the 10th straight year (May, 2014). Texas is again ranked the best state.

    Reply this comment

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Chuck DeVoreRick PerryTexasJames Poulos

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