The California Republican Assembly (CRA), the largest and oldest GOP volunteer organization in the state, announced on Wednesday that they chose to endorse radio host Larry Elder in the California Gubernatorial recall election.
The CRA had held an endorsing convention over the recent weekend in Valencia. As the CRA bylaws state that candidates needed two-thirds of the delegates to receive the endorsement, many there expected to have no final endorsement. However, a final tally of votes found that 68% of the delegates chose Elder. That number was confirmed earlier this week and was announced on Wednesday by CRA President Johnnie Morgan.
“A supermajority of CRA delegates believe that Larry Elder will make the best governor for California, and I agree with them,” said Morgan in a statement.
The CRA endorsement marks one of the few given by the GOP or GOP organizations this year. While the candidates have received some local or individual level GOP support, such as Elder being endorsed by the Orange County Republican Party and former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer being endorsed by Senate GOP Leader Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita), larger groups declined to endorse candidates.
The CAGOP, which is strongly in favor of the recall, declined to officially back a candidate earlier this month after going to the effort of changing bylaws to allow them to endorse in this recall.
“That decision made endorsements from County party organizations or the CRA all the more important,” explained former lobbyist Harry Schultz to the Globe on Thursday. “The CAGOP doesn’t want to drive voters away. If they had picked a moderate, which has been their leaning for the last several election cycles, a lot of the party would have been upset and possibly not vote. Same with picking someone more conservative, because then you make the moderates mad.”
“Instead they didn’t pick anyone, allowing voters from across the spectrum to vote with their hearts. So now the candidates, for blocs of voters, need to go with the CRA or individuals for endorsements. This election, they ultimately haven’t mean all that much among the candidates, with most of the attention going to the recall question itself. But endorsements like the CRA choosing Elder are important too because there is still an influence there, plus it gives a good bellwether. A lot of early endorsements were for Faulconer and Cox for example, but more recently Elder and even Kiley have been nabbing some. With Newsom facing a stronger and stronger likelihood of being recalled in the last month, new endorsements are showing up in generally more conservative candidates, showing a confidence among voters that the recall will succeed and that a more conservative candidate can now win.”
The recall election is to be held on September 14th.