Like any other CAGOP Convention – especially when I am pushing for candidates, it is stressful and long hours. That is no big deal. But, for your intrepid blogger it was a great weekend on a personal level. For the benefit of a lot of Travis Allen supporters who are wondering what and how it happened, I will attempt to address some of it. There are some that have posted screenshots of re-registering out of the GOP, that is guaranteed to not be the way to solve any issues.
As a hardcore pro-life conservative, Travis Allen was my first choice for CAGOP Chairman. Steve Frank in my opinion was out of position to deliver results. The first awesome thing was being able to get to know Travis Allen and has team. I disagree with the negative characterizations I’ve heard about him from some. Knowing Travis as I do now, I get 100% why some love him and some hate him. I pretty much live in the same world.
Secondly, I got to spend several hours talking to CRA Vice President Tim Thiesen and CRA Exec VP Carl Brickey. After getting expelled from the CRA in 2015, those were the two relationships that I missed the most. I do believe my very public role in helping Travis Allen helped heal wounds and make the reunion possible.
Third, Almost all of Jessica Patterson’s team were polite and even friendly to me. I had a few chats with George Andrews. He is a good dude, one of my favorite swamp creatures if you will. I even chatted with David (Stafford) Reade, Jeff Randle and Mario Rodriguez. All three men were polite and friendly. Reade even cracked a joke about how good he looked with a Cigar in his mouth.
Mario suggested we connect in a few days. While talking to Mr Randle and Mr Rodriguez, our conversation was broken up by Andy (gimmecandy) Garakhani who stood out as one of the few that were outright rude to your intrepid blogger. I do intend to sit down with Mario, Jeff Randle and others – at least to meet them, ask a few questions and to try to establish some sort of relationship.
Fourth, I got to talk to Devon Mathis for about an hour. While I disagreed with his Cap and Trade vote, I understand who he is a lot better now. I also had a chance encounter with former Assemblyman Dante Acosta as well. It was fun to catch up with him as I am friends with his former Chief of Staff and go back to 2010 in the CRA with Dante.
Fifth, I got to meet Joshua Whitfield and Heath Flora. Both went out of their way to be polite and friendly. Flora suggested we open lines of communication. Easy enough.
Sixth, I ran in to John Cox who was genuinely glad to see me and just as onrey as I remember him. Good dude. I also ran in to Luis Alvarado a couple times, he is also one of the good guys even though I wish I could cure him of his TDS 😉
Jessica Patterson won with 54.6% of the vote on the first ballot. The margin was 285 votes. Reports I had indicated that the “leadership” team had something like 265-280 proxies. Reade himself indicated 280. One of the proxies they had was Kevin Kiley’s, whose proxy was carried by Consultant Kevin Spillane. This is an example of the operation they ran professionally to make sure they accounted for every vote.
There were allegations of “arm twisting”. As your intrepid blogger was able to dig deeper, it appeared to me not much more than having conversations and using persuasion on people that were willing to listen. This would include appointees taking delegates out to dinner to educate them on the finer points of Mrs. Patterson.
There were at least three known Travis Allen supporters that flipped during the convention. This is normal as people are generally unreliable and want to back a winner. As this human unreliability was on display and I am sure Mrs. Patterson’s campaign took inventory as people willing to switch last minute to back a winner are not the kind you build a movement on. In my political lifetime, I’ve seen that a gracious opponent that offers help after losing a battle is almost as reliable as someone on your team from day one. This is one of the main principles I personally operate by.
The only direct coercion I am aware of are nominees being told if they want to run again they should support Jessica Patterson. At that, I spoke with a couple of them directly, and only one really perceived that communication as a threat. When juxtaposed with the behavior of the Patterson Campaign team at the convention, it would appear that overt threats were not something employed.
It would be so much easier to explain Travis Allen’s defeat at the convention if I knew of tons of people that were coerced, it just simply did not happen.
I have some takeaways from the convention, and some I am not sure there are answers for and most there are.
- Jessica Patterson led the floor session with poise and professionalism after she won the election. It is clear she prepared for it. She is not a good off-the-cuff speaker and with practice she will get better. I have been told her nickname in the consultant world is “The General”. This means she has a skill set to lead.
- Volunteer Group endorsements matter. The Corrin Rankin for Vice Chair Campaign had a professional operation. This blogger lit up Peter Kuo hard and people read the posts en-masse. Mr. Kuo won with 57% of the vote on the second ballot. With the leadership types releasing all of their controlled delegates to vote however on the other officer elections, it is clear most deferred to the direction of the volunteer clubs that endorsed Kuo.
- Candidate nomination speeches and show matter. Patterson used her 15 minutes to burn Travis Allen down to the ground. It featured jilted PAC President Carl DiMaio venting his rage on Travis Allen. The weekend featured multiple negative attacks on Mr. Allen. This stuff works. Peter Kuo’s campaign executed this phase almost flawlessly as he used surrogates to make an emotional appeal to parlay his residual name ID in to a victory on Sunday.
- The Orange County GOP is a shell of itself. Greg Gandrud beat their machine straight up 595-593. Gandrud also “Out-Retailed” all the other candidates on the floor of the convention.
- Randy Berholtz ran a flawless campaign. He started out with high-profile supporters, introduced himself through them and then carried home a 3-1 victory.
- Several in Jessica Patterson’s team went out of their way to tell me there is no “Black List”. They added that at 24.5% registration that we need to build bridges, etc. I want to believe there is no black list, but with almost 10 years of residency on said black list I have to defer to my own personal experience as a guide.
If you are Jessica Patterson, you enjoy the win for a couple days and start contacting groups that did not support you. Somehow, the list of people jilted from being delegates need to be reached out to. Obviously, money needs to be raised. If there is a black list, it needs to be torn up and people on it need to be brought in to the fold.
If you are the team around Jessica Patterson, you have a string of gutted Central Committees, volunteer organizations that are shells, with still others fracturing in to a million pieces. You have a shrinking donor base and an apathetic caucus that only showed up to protect the status quo at this convention. What do you do? Do you care about the shrinking, splintering Volunteer Organizations? Do you try to revitalize Central Committees, or do you try to continue controlling shells as per the last 10 years? What do you try to sell donors on? Is it possible to get sitting GOP legislators to engage?
If you are Travis Allen, you have a choice to make. Stay or go? I hope it will be to use the movement you have as a force for good within the CAGOP. Given what I know about Travis Allen, I am sure he will do the right thing.
Your intrepid blogger spent 2 months torching Jessica Patterson’s campaign and crew. I do believe that we framed the debate correctly – it was indeed the insiders (aka the swamp) versus the rest of us. Given that the lines were clearly defined, and everyone knew them, they made their choice clearly.
I am sure a few people will not like me very much. It is clear that I personally did not make any new enemies this weekend. I don’t engage in cowardly anonymous attacks, I sign my name to them. The behavior and interactions I had with people this weekend told me that while they are irritated with me, there is a level of respect for being willing to stand up and be counted.
That said, your intrepid blogger will follow through on his promise to respect the results of the election. I am looking forward to meeting some of these people in person, smoking the peace pipe and figuring out how to win some elections next year.
Lastly on a personal note – the California Impact Republicans was given a full charter by the CAGOP at the end of the 2019 convention. This was the culmination of a 3 1/2 year mission after being expelled from the CRA in 2015. The CIR was created to be a group of Conservatives, Squishes and in between with a goal of recruiting candidates and winning elections. We tell people we are no-compromise conservatives that welcome everyone. As of today, the CIR is in 11 counties with 14 chapters. I will be stepping back from a position of executive leadership to a more advisory role as a political director now that the organization is self-sustaining.
Thanks for reading – if you are a Travis Allen believer, supporter and activist, please do not go away. There are a lot of good conservatives that need you to stay plugged in. In the 21 years I have been involved, I’ve been through the gamut of wins and losses, yet here I am still standing. My message to you is please stand with me.