Ron Nehring, former chair of the California Republican Party, announced today he’ll run for lieutenant governor against former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, the incumbent Democrat.
Nehring headed the state GOP from 2002 to 2011. Before that, he headed the Republican Party in San Diego County, one of the GOP’s traditional strongholds in the state. During that era, Republicans have gone from controlling most of California’s statewide elective offices, even briefly grabbing a majority in the state Assembly, to being completely shut out from statewide office and holding fewer than one-third of the seats in each house of the Legislature. It’s also a period in which Republican voter registration has fallen from 36.2 percent of eligible California residents to 28.7 percent (Democrats are down, too, from about 46.8 percent to 43.6 percent).
Nehring is positioning his campaign as one that will bring “bold, serious reform” for the state. In a statement on his campaign website, he accuses Newsom of using the state’s No. 2 elected office as “a taxpayer funded gubernatorial exploratory committee.” He says Gov. Jerry Brown’s policies have created a state with high taxes, a high rate of poverty and shrinking economic opportunity.
Nehring’s statement also says, in part:
Around the world, California is recognized for the innovation, creativity, and hard work of its people. But today we have a government that is failing in too many ways: sky-high unemployment, more poverty than any state in the nation, failing schools and a toxic environment for job creation. We can do better. …
… Today we’re taking the first step in putting forward a better vision, better ideas, and a better plan for California,” said Nehring. “At a time of serious economic problems, California needs leaders who will be relentless in putting forward the bold reforms needed to make our state competitive again.
Nehring’s statement promises “comprehensive tax reform, pension reform, regulatory reform, education reform, reining in frivolous lawsuits, and more.”
The statement uses the word “reform” nine times in all, but offers no specifics on programs Nehring advocates.