Andy Pugno had to be stopped at all costs. How dare anyone take on an incumbent. If an incumbent was beaten by a challenger, that would set a precedent. The problem is that we now live in a Prop 14 world, this “top-two” system invites challenges to incumbents.
So, the story of what happened in the primary is that Connie Conway made a deal with the Devil, Charles Munger. Munger wanted to put a conservative head on a stick. Connie Conway wanted to protect her leadership vote – Beth Gaines, since Alan Mansoor was deemed to be a jerk, he was served up to Prince Charles as the main course. (This claims in this paragraph are sourced by several political insiders)
Munger came after Mansoor with $700K, and Charles Munger showed up in time to rescue Beth Gaines from a well-funded challenger that was getting traction, Andy Pugno. The added bonus? Charles Munger got revenge on his detractors in Placer County and got to light up the author of prop 8 – a measure that Charles Munger vicerally opposes. It is unclear if Munger was directed to attack the Placer GOP Central Committee by Republican Leadership or just Dave Gilliard – but mounting evidence shows either or both to be the case.
While the Republicans lost three seats in the Assembly and narrowly held two others that should have not been close – Connie Conway get her wish. The most incompetent Assemblymember in California was re-elected. Even the Sacramento Bee referenced that Beth Gaines is unable to answer questions with staff present and that the district deserved better.
Now, California gets to enjoy one-party rule, but Munger got his man, he was able to keep the author of prop 8 out of the assembly.
Here is the tale of the tape for how Beth Gaines was kept in office:
California Association of Realtors: $35,906.41
Golden State Leadership Fund $25,693.51 – this is the PAC funded by PG&E/Dentists/San Manuel Indians
California Senior Advocates league $37,578.86
Howard Ahmundson $60,412.14
California Optometric Association $4,500
Charles Munger $316,297.74
California Tribal Business Alliance $50,000
The Total = $530,388.66 in independent expenditures IN THE MOST REPUBLICAN ASSEMBLY DISTRICT IN CALIFORNIA!
The sad commentary on this race is that Placer County’s Republican Central Committee was ground zero. What has happened in Placer County is a microcausm of what is wrong with the state GOP.
However, Beth Gaines is the poster child for what is wrong with those in leadership of the GOP. Beth is incompetent, unqualified and those of us that dared to stand up have been attacked for it and likely in the twisted thinking of Charles Munger and Republican leadership – those of us that supported Beth Gaines’ opponents are the problem and they were justified to call in $530,388.66 in support for Beth Gaines while leaving other candidates to the wolves.