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Who Will Lead The Republican Party In California?

Republican Leadership
Leo McElroy talks about who will lead the Republican party in California

DWANE BROWN (Host): Republicans scored big victories across the country in the mid-term elections this month, but what happened to the GOP in California? We're joined on Morning Edition by nonpartisan Sacramento political consultant Leo McElroy. California Democrats made a clean sweep of eight state-wide contests on Nov. 2 Leo, where do you think the next Republican leadership will come from?

LEO MCELROY (Political Consultant): Well, they're probably going to have to import somebody from somewhere else because there's precious little left in California. The people they counted on, even the moderates who were expected to have the best chance of surviving the state-wides, Abel Maldonado and Steve Cooley both lost their races. And in an interview with the Associate Press, Duf Sundheim, the former chair of the Republican party, said very simply and very morosely -- they know who we are and they don't like us.

BROWN: And not much traction from the Tea Party here?

MCELROY: Not much at all. The Tea Party had very little effect in California. You know, it was a mixed bag around much of the nation, because the Tea Party in many cases was responsible for kicking out experienced legislators and replacing them in the primary with people of questionable background who lost in the general election. So, Tea Party was a mixed blessing at best for the Republican party. But here in California, they were pretty much a non-factor and the question is now, where do you find leadership? You have no state-wide officers, your legislative leaders are going to be increasingly unimportant because the voters passed a measure that makes Republicans irrelevant to the budget vote. And so gee where do the leaders come from? Sarah Palin, could you move to California?

BROWN: You could probably get a little more reaction, at least. So why do Republicans in California also have a tough time on the immigration issue?

MCELROY: Well, it's fascinating, this has been a tough one for them all the way along. They were really starting to make end roads on the Latino vote. A lot of Latino families are pretty socially conservative and the Republicans sensed a natural affinity and then Pete Wilson came along and he decided to do a get tough on immigrants drive with Prop. 187 and it pretty much turned off Latinos for a long time. Then it looked like they were coming back and then Meg Whitman and her house keeper came along and there went that. The Arizona law came along, there went that. And now you have people who are talking about a drive to enact an Arizona-type law in California and that again is going to probably force the Republican party off the track so far as Latino voters are concerned. I mean the momentum is relentless and the momentum is downhill and off the cliff.

BROWN: Well, let's talk about the Democrats. Who do you expect to influence Governor-elect Jerry Brown when he takes office in January?

MCELROY: This is something that's fascinating to a lot of people. The only people that are emerging so far, who appear to have likely roles in the administration are his go-to guy at the attorney general's office, deputy attorney general Hume and his wife Ann-Gust Brown, and the widespread predictions of those two will be the major players in the inner chamber. Beyond that though, he doesn't seem to be reaching out. A number of former aids who have worked for him like Tom Quinn who was once his campaign manager say they will not be in the administration. There's no sign of him bringing Gray Davis back from whatever hole Gray has buried himself in. Gray was the first governor's chief of staff under Jerry Brown. He might be equipped to do that again, but there's no sign that he's going to be brought back. So everybody's wondering what's Jerry doing and why aren't we hearing anything about appointments? Why aren't we seeing any momentum building up here to fill out that administration? And the only thing we're hearing from his campaign manager Steve Glazer is, let's have patience.

BROWN: Nonpartisan political consultant Leo McElroy.