I am going to preface this by saying everything I know about Jessica Patterson as a professional save few exceptions is positive. Many professional political people I know like her on a personal level. I know her only by reputation.
The key issues we should focus on, is her long pedigree of service to the left of the GOP and her history as a staffer / paid political operative. It is the same criticism someone could level against myself or Steve Frank. While none of the three of us have done anything immoral by doing politics for a paycheck – being a paid political operative brings with it a conflict of interest as it relates to serving in a position of leadership in a political party or organization. While I personally would never work for someone I would not vote for, the natural cynicism of people makes that assertion ring hollow.
So this is the issue with Jessica Patterson: Who’s Chairman will she be? Since we’ve had a generation of CAGOP Chairs that were too close to the partisan electeds to the exclusion of the Grassroots, it is a fair question.
My knowledge of Jessica Patterson’s political work is extensive.
Jessica Patterson appeared to emerge out of nowhere in 2009, working for Meg Whitman’s ill-fated $150 Million disaster. It is my understanding that before that she was a paid staff of the Ventura GOP and a deputy field director for the Victory 2006 effort.
After 2010, two liberal Republican Political Consultants, Jeff Randle and Mitch Zak formed California Trailblazers in coordination with Kevin McCarthy, then an ordinary Congressman, but known to have ambitions. McCarthy wanted to clone the “Young Guns” program of the National Congressional Committee in California for Legislative Candidates.
While the circumstances behind Patterson’s Hire to the Executive Director position of the California Trailblazers is the subject of legend, that is the Job she has had since 2011.
Enter Charles T. Munger, Jr. Similar to a lot of stuff from 2010-2016, Mr. Munger was a primary funding source. While Trailblazers had other institutional donors (called the “Third House”), Mr. Munger was by far and away the primary funder of Trailblazers.
Trailblazers claimed to have no ideological bent – I take them at their word on this as their list of alumni is ideologically diverse. However, at the same time all of the outside money that poured in to Republican legislative races was almost exclusively to the benefit of “Moderate” Republicans.
While Patterson was executive director for Trailblazers, she also did consulting work for Charles Munger’s “Spirit of Democracy” PAC. They poured millions in to a who’s who of “Moderates”. Heath Flora, Frank Bigelow, Jordan Cunningham, David Hadley, Catherine Baker, Rocky Chavez and others had $1MM+ spent on their behalf over more conservative primary opponents and then their general elections. (note: neither Hadley nor Baker were opposed in their initial primaries)
In addition – in violation of the so-called support your incumbents rule, Spirit of Democracy attempted to unseat Incumbents Alan Mansoor and Tim Donnelly. This further undermines Jessica Patterson’s ability to claim to be a unifying force.
Most of these folks were “Cap and Trade” votes.
In my own home area, I had a front row seat to almost $3MM over two races spent attacking Andy Pugno who wrote Proposition 8 – the Traditional Marriage initiative that was overturned by the Supreme Court. While conservatives were being hunted down by the Spirit of Democracy, Jessica Patterson (and others) were on the payroll.
I personally witnessed as a Delegate to the CAGOP – Patterson involved in two proxy drills to stop attempts to adopt a position in opposition to the Prop 14 “Top Two” Primary system. Both were at the behest of Luis Buhler financed by Mr. Munger’s Largess.
In the 2016 Presidential Primary she was known to be supportive of, and possibly working for Marco Rubio and later John Kasich. Her twitter account has been cleaned of anything pre-dating 6-2017 so it is unclear if she was a “Never-Trumper” similar to many other CAGOP Consultants / Insiders.
I’d be remiss if I did not mention however that while she was employed to perform Proxy Harvesting for Mr. Buhler / Munger that she also whipped votes to approve the charters of the Log Cabin Republicans AND the California Impact Republicans. Both were controversial and both were opposed by Steve Frank. Both the LCR and CIR owe their existence in part to the delegate drills being run by Patterson.
I personally have never liked Proxy voting and would like to see it abolished. Jessica Patterson has made an honest living as a paid operative to harvest proxies to give people like Luis Buhler and Kevin McCarthy out-sized influence over the outcomes of CAGOP Conventions. When I was involved in getting the CIR Chartered, we were forced to deal with the “leadership types” as we knew we needed their proxies in order to get our charter. If you disagree with this dynamic, this is a compelling reason to support someone other than Jessica Patterson.
The California Trailblazers has also failed in its’ mission. The Republican Caucus has fallen from 28-20 in the Assembly and 14-11 in the State Senate. Some of this is the self-centered world of term limits where those in office don’t care about the world around them as long as they have their own seats and the other part is a failure to sell the product. On some level, Mrs. Patterson owns this.
The choice is clear – Mrs. Patterson has a pedigree of a Liberal Republican Political Operative. She is also a professional political operative, like Steve Frank. Travis Allen is a Conservative and is free of the entanglements. Choose wisely.