The Sacramento Press Club hosted a “conversation” with California Democratic Party Chair Rusty Hicks and California Republican Party Chair Jessica Millan Patterson Sept. 11.
However that conversation moved right into a debate with the first question about California’s Motor Voter program. CAGOP Chairwoman Jessica Patterson addressed the “very flawed program” noting how quickly the DMV tried to fix it when it was exposed how many illegal aliens were illegally being registered to vote by the California Department of Motor Vehicles.
Immediately, someone with the Sacramento Press Club Tweeted, “That didn’t take long. @millanpatterson lashes out at “failed Democrat policies.”
— Sacramento PressClub (@SacPressClub) September 11, 2019
“It’s a new day,” Patterson said of the CA GOP. “We are telling people who feel neglected by the Republican Party, yet know of the failures of the Democrat Party, what Republicans would do differently.”
“The California Legislature has a lower approval rating than President Trump does in California,” she added.
“If the CAGOP cared about No Party Preference voters, they would allow them to vote in the Primary,” CADEM Chair Rusty Hicks said. Democrats allow all parties to vote in the Primary.
Moderator Jeremy White from Politico said many members of the California Republican Party try to distance themselves from President Trumps behavior, and asked Patterson if this is proving to be a problem. She largely ignored the question and instead said, “It’s the failed policies by the Democrats hurting California.”
Hicks said, “the facts don’t all add up – it was the Democrats who put forth policies for affordable housing.” He said he finds it interesting that blame is falling on Democrats for the homeless explosion. Hicks named several large Democrat-run cities where homelessness is creating a health crisis, “But San Diego is led by a Republican.”
“We aren’t getting any support from the [Trump] administration.”
“It’s your problem,” Patterson said. “Democrats run both houses of the Legislature, and the Governor.” She said at the recent CAGOP Convention, Mayor Kevin Faulconer spoke about his city and what they have done to combat the drug addicted and mentally ill homeless. “There’s no typhus,” she noted.
Patterson said with one-party-rule, there’s no balance in state policies.
Hicks* noted the recent cuts by U.S. Housing and Urban Development, and said the Trump “mortgage deductions went to gains for the super-wealthy.”
Patterson said a bigger problem for Californians is the 50 different lawsuits by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, SB 27, the bill to keep President Trump off of the Primary Election ballot if he doesn’t turn over his tax returns, and homelessness, instead of focusing on real issues.
“Trump is the best GOTV for Democrats,” Hicks said, noting Orange County is one example of a red county going blue. He said Democrats focused on healthcare, a path to a decent retirement, clean water and air…
“It would be great if California Democrats did focus on those things,” Patterson said. “53 percent of Californians think they have to leave because they can’t afford to live here – all under Democrat rule. They are not leading their best lives, and instead looking for an exit strategy.”
AP’s Kathleen Ronayne asked about safe seats, and if the CAGOP will pick up seats in the next election. “We will protect what we have and pick back seats lost,” Patterson said. She said candidates like Newport Beach Mayor Diane Dixon are good, solid candidates. Dixon announced she is running for the state’s 74th Assembly District seat in 2020 in a challenge to freshman Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach).
“We are recruiting in areas we know we have the right message,” Patterson added. “We just need the right candidates and to get the message out.”
“Safe seats – safe is a four-letter word,” Patterson said. “I knew what I was signing up for. This state is at a turning point.”
“I believe in the 58 county strategy,” Hicks said. “Protect, preserve gains candidate recruitment, infrastructure lasts long past Election Day.
Ronayne asked about donor fatigue and attacks by the President. Hicks said the top of the ticket will drive lots of races and turnout.
“People are out there and they are pissed off,” Patterson said. “People are upset. People stop me and say, ‘I was a Democrat or NPP.’ People are fed up. This is good for Republicans.”
— Sacramento PressClub (@SacPressClub) September 11, 2019
Ronayne asked about SB 27, the bill to keep President Trump off the ballot unless he turns his tax returns over. “If SB 27 is held up by the courts, why shouldn’t President Trump just show his tax returns?”
Patterson called it “petty politics”and said the intent was to depress voter turnout. “It will be struck down in court,” Patterson said. “The Legislative Counsel warned the Legislature it was unconstitutional.”
“If it isn’t struck down, why not just show them?” Ronayne asked. “Democrats want to take choice away,” Patterson said. “But isn’t he taking choice away by not showing his returns?” Ronayne asked again.
“It isn’t petty politics to ask the President to keep his word,” Hicks said. “He’s filed for bankruptcy over and over, he’s screwed over his workers time and time again. Is he adhering to his own financial interests?”
“This was arrogant and overreach of Democrats,” Patterson said. “The Constitution is clear; it is not required to show tax returns.”
Jessica Millan Patterson was elected California Republican Party chair on Feb. 24, focused on taking the fight to Democrats and winning California elections, emphasizing her grassroots success, experience as a political strategist, communicator, and fundraising ability. She is the first female and first Latina chairwoman of the California Republican Party.
Rusty Hicks was elected California Democratic Party chair on June 1, after serving as president of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. He believes the party’s top priority should be grassroots organizing to create people-powered election victories.
Editor’s Note: AP’s Kathleen Ronayne was originally mistakenly credited with this quote.