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Some of us may consider California such a reliably blue bastion that we tend to overlook what goes on there. But the fact is the state has a long history of electing Republican governors, from Reagan to Wilson to Schwarzenegger.

Something tells me that's not going to happen this time around.

Comparing illegal immigration to a war that threatened the United States' future, GOP gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly once exhorted citizens to rise and join his fight to stop people from crossing the border, according to audio of a speech he gave in 2006.

"I am a descendant of Jim Bowie, who died at the Alamo," Donnelly, then a leader in the Minuteman border-patrol group, said at a rally in Temecula that year. "It is rumored that he took a dozen Mexican soldiers to their deaths before they finally killed him. How many of you will rise up and take his place on that wall?"

Putting aside for the moment the question of what mishap in his toilet training could spawn such grandiose pretensions in adulthood, Donnelly's 2006 musings, made while he was playing "Border Vigilante," have done more than roil the California GOP. They may have driven a permanent stake through its heart.  A new Field Poll indicates that 34% of the state's likely Republican voters will vote for Donnelly, the "Tea Party" favorite, in the state's open primary. Donnelly leads the GOP field by overwhelming margins, despite trailing incumbent governor Jerry Brown by a breathtaking 40 point margin.  If he wins the GOP primary--and it looks like that will happen--the two will square off in November. This has prompted abject consternation among the state's Republican establishment:


[T]he California GOP continues to drift farther from the mainstream and is increasingly losing relevance as the state grows more diverse and more Democratic.

“This is a battle for the soul of the Republican Party,” said Larry Gerston, a political-science professor at San Jose State. “If Donnelly prevails, it indicates that the fiscal conservatives, the evangelical conservatives and the Tea Party conservatives control the party and leave Republicans with little opportunity to succeed in the long run.

Allan Hoffenblum publishes the California Target Book, which handicaps the state's legislative and Congressional races. He suggests "The Donnelly" will adversely impact many of the state's remaining Republicans:
“Donnelly has strong views on guns and immigration,” Hoffenblum said. “If he’s at the top of the ticket, it could do tremendous harm for people” like Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Modesto, who is locked in a tight race for re-election in his Central Valley swing district.
Strong views indeed, for a state where Hispanics and Latinos make up 38% of the population.
In the 2006 speech, Donnelly painted an alarming picture of illegal immigrants' effect on the United States. They have caused the destruction of schools, the bankruptcy of hospitals forced to provide them free medical care and led the government to abandon its citizens, he said, asserting that the country was on the brink of a battle similar to the Civil War.

The notion that illegal immigrants come to this nation for a better life "is one of the lies," he said. "At least 20% are coming to commit the crimes that American criminals will no longer commit."

He paused as the crowd laughed, then continued: "Of that 20%, how many are rapists? How many are murderers? How many are child molesters? And how many are terrorists? We don't know."

Hispanics have been alienated from the California Republican Party since former GOP governor Pete Wilson's forceful advocacy for the anti-immigrant Proposition 187. Donnelly rose to the top of the GOP ticket after the campaign of Abel Maldonado imploded. While Maldonado, the well-regarded former Lieutenant Governor to Schwarzenegger, was not expected to win, he at least provided a credible attempt by the GOP to mend fences with the Hispanic and Latino community.

That hope has been dashed.

Donnelly now leads all Republicans in the race to unseat the hugely popular Jerry Brown. On the one hand, I guess, that gives us a clear a clear picture of how dysfunctional the GOP party apparatus is in the Golden State. But really, are the pickings so slim that they need to field this guy?

Donnelly was cited two years ago at the Ontario airport after he was caught with a loaded .45-caliber handgun in his carry-on luggage while trying to board a plane.


Donnelly was placed on probation and paid a $2,200 fine after pleading no contest to two misdemeanor gun charges.

"I believe in the Second Amendment. I believe that the right should not be infringed, and it ain't about whether you like guns. It's about whether you love freedom. And if anybody wonders where I stand on the Second Amendment, let them wonder no more."

So we don't need to "wonder" what he thinks. We know the "descendant of Jim Bowie" thinks it's OK to bring a loaded handgun onto a plane.  Because you never know when a Mexican might try to sneak aboard.

Offered the chance to revisit his remarks, Donnelly instead doubled down on them this week. His rationale?

"The truth is, people will respect you if you stick to your guns," Donnelly said in an interview Tuesday night at a Republican event in San Francisco.
For the Republican Party, that's apparently true no matter how much of an asshole you are.

Originally posted to Dartagnan on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 08:07 AM PDT.

Also republished by California politics.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I wonder if he even has any relation to Bowie. (6+ / 0-)

    My guess is no but I do like watching the continued implosion of the GOP in my state.

    Most of the people taking a hard line against us are firmly convinced that they are the last defenders of civilization... The last stronghold of mother, God, home and apple pie and they're full of shit! David Crosby, Journey Thru the Past.

    by Mike S on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 08:14:21 AM PDT

  •  Apparently, Jerry Brown is kicking ass in polls (4+ / 0-)

    Saw that in a tweet yesterday from Greg Sargent, IIRC. Thanks for the post, Dartagnan. :)

    I ♥ President Barack Obama.

    by ericlewis0 on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 08:15:59 AM PDT

  •  Oh, and how does one get "cited"... (4+ / 0-)

    ...for trying to take a loaded .45 on a plane, IN A CARRY-ON?

    "Here's a ticket, sir. Have a nice day and a safe flight."


  •  CA GOP must be shitting their pants (12+ / 0-)

    In particular
    CA-10 Jeff Denham R+1 (71% Hispanic)
    CA-21 David Valadao D+2 (40% Hispanic)
    CA-39 Ed Royce R+5 (33% Hispanic)
    CA-49 Darrell Issa R+5 (26% Hispanic & he's corrupt asshat)

    Also CA-25 and CA-31 where Buck McKeon and Gary Miller decided to retire (35% and 49% Hispanic respectively).  

    Honorable Mention

    CA-08 Paul Cook (35% Hispanic)
    CA-22 Devin Nunes (45% Hispanic)

    That's 6-8 seats that could be impacted in an off year election by higher Hispanic turnout.  Good job GOP.  It almost seems like they WANT to give the House to the Dems.  Because governing is hard work.

    This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

    by DisNoir36 on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 08:38:19 AM PDT

    •  I wonder how much (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dartagnan, AnnieR

      the Hispanic vote Nationally could change things in congressional districts with similar numbers.

    •  The GOP makes it easy for a Latino to vote against (4+ / 0-)

      them, but it'd help even more if Democrats were able to deliver more to get Hispanics to vote for them.

      Were the GOP sane, there is much in Latino culture that would otherwise make the GOP a natural fit (deeply religious, traditional, socially conservative). Fortunately, the modern GOP is not sane. It is the Democrats job to seize on their mistakes and happily many are.

      I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires. - Susan B. Anthony

      by pajoly on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 09:51:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah not necessarily true (7+ / 0-)
        Were the GOP sane, there is much in Latino culture that would otherwise make the GOP a natural fit (deeply religious, traditional, socially conservative).
        -Hispanics are predominantly catholic.  Catholics are not real Christians in the eyes of many in GOP unless you're part of Opus Dei.
        -Hispanics are big on family.  Republicans have no qualms about breaking up Hispanic Families.  Although Obama has done a bang up job of that too
        -Hispanics more than any other group of people want the gov't to help people.  
        -Hispanic social conservatism is vastly different than Republican Social conservatism.  For example, things like birth control, abortion and sex are not as big a deal breaker with Hispanics as it is with the Santorum crowd.

        This notion that Hispanics would be naturally GOP were it not for the racists among them is utter bullshit.  Hispanics may be religious but pocketbook issues are far more important than whether or not their health insurance can allow you to get birth control.  Hispanics like many other Catholics can distinguish between church teaching and other issues.  That's why something like 95% of all catholic women believe in birth control.  The GOP would have been able to dupe many Hispanics into siding with them with their bullshit promises of wealth and low taxes for everyone who works hard but as we saw with Jeb Bush in Florida and GWB in Texas and the USA, even they couldn't get a majority of Hispanics to vote for them.  That was the high water mark as far as the GOP and Hispanics.  At this point chances are much more likely that the Hispanic vote for the GOP will approach African American vote in terms of percentage  

        This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

        by DisNoir36 on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 10:31:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  A triumph for transparency (3+ / 0-)

    The California GOP is very well-represented by Tim Donnelly.  He is strongly for guns, strongly against minorities, viciously anti-choice and, of course, a good Christian.

    In other words, he is a perfect representative of the GOP.  It would be such a fraud to see Neal Kashkari as the Republican nominee.  It's not that I agree or disagree with any of what he says or thinks, but he is just entirely unlike his party.  

    The party leaders are hoping for a low turnout in California and will do their best to stuff a sock in Donnelly's mouth. That will be a task and Republicans up and down the state will disavow him.

    As usual, the key will be turnout.  If Donnelly can inspire higher Democratic turnout, November might be pretty good here.

  •  It's a vote-winning position in many places (3+ / 0-)

    But outside of a corridor running from San Diego and Orange County and pockets in the Central Valley, it's not going to do much for him in CA.

    I have no doubt that any GOP candidate advocating routine live fire at people crossing the border illegally will win his local primary (unless he runs against another GOP candidate who has actually killed a Mexican, then that guy's the sure thing).

    I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires. - Susan B. Anthony

    by pajoly on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 09:47:46 AM PDT

  •  The primary isn't until June ... (3+ / 0-)

    ... so I expect that most of the GOP voters haven't taken a close look at the field yet, and the other two GOP candidates have low name recognition.
    But jeebers, this guy is an embarassment.

    Still, if his candidacy imperills the likes of Jeff Denham ...

  •  Oh, brother...does the GOP have a factory... (2+ / 0-)

    ...that turns out these assholes?

    "The truth is, people will respect you if you stick to your guns," Donnelly said...
    You know where you can stick your guns, you clueless, neanderthal bigot...

    Lightly Seared On The Reality Grill

    by Retroactive Genius on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 09:58:40 AM PDT

  •  and yet so many Americans think it's (2+ / 0-)

    appropriate to send sleaze like this to DC to make our laws.  This makes me sick.  Republicans make me sick.

    The GOP will destroy anything they can't own.

    by AnnieR on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 10:01:17 AM PDT

  •  Latinos may be 38% of the population (2+ / 0-)

    in CA, but in the birth certificate data they are over 50%. Unless something drastically changes, the GOP has no future in California.

  •  Donnelly Should Do Back-Breaking Stoop Labor In (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the blistering summer sun in the fields of Southern California being exposed to carcinogenic pesticides for a pittance so he can appreciate what Caesar Chavez and Mexican immigrants contribute to America.

    He's a really dangerous psychotic asshole.

  •  Everything I've ever read about this blister... (0+ / 0-)

    ...makes me grind my teeth in rage.  Especially his "views" on immigrants of colour.  I want to SLAP the man for being such a fool.  I have to stuff it in whenever I see yet another sign supporting this carbuncle in my town.  Mostly a Democrat state or not, I'm live in a bastion of Tea Party froth, Libertarian nonsense and a church on seemingly every corner.  I don't think I've ever lived in a place with such a high number of places of worship per capita before.  Of course, not one of them is a synagogue or a mosque. Blows my mind.  We do have a good number of Pagans and a couple Buddhists, though (there is one monk who apparently lives around here and he goes for long walks through the woods and trails up here).

    The town is very "white", too, less than five percent of us are black, Latino or Native American.  I'm one of the Native Americans (I'm actually a mutt mix of French and Innu), and I'm an import from CANADA, for crying out loud.  :-p

    Happily, I see more signs of progressive leanings once in a while, especially through conversations with various folks in town.  Once, I even saw a kiosk set up to sign up folks to vote and it was specifically labeled Democrat and hope to see more.  Every other one I'd seen up to that point had been Republican or those bizarros from the LaRouche movement with their posters of Obama wearing a Hilter 'stache and demanding that he be impeached (for what isn't clear), their calls for reinstating the Glass-Steagall Act, their stance against equal rights for LGBT people and denouncing things like Climate change.  That I can only pick out one thing in their platform that I actually agree with speaks much for some of the silliness I see out of those twits.

    I can only hope the progressive sorts are not only out here in greater numbers, but that they VOTE.

    With the high number of foreclosures and houses being sold up here, people from "down the hill" (as locals call living in Riverside and Redlands and San Bernardino) are moving up to buy houses on the cheap.  Our demographics are going to take a big swing toward Latino and other more diverse faces.  I'm looking forward to it.

    I grew up in a very mixed race/ethnicity/culture area and being in one so homogonized is a bit of a culture-shock for me.

    I like the town, though.  My husband and I bought a house up here and I'm continually being surprised at the acceptance from a lot of people, even though I'm not exactly conventional in appearance (stretched piercings, long dredlox and I commonly dress very Goth, with long black skirts and a leather corset).  :-)  My only beefs with the area are the above mentioned bits.

    Crossing my digits that this nit Connelly loses, though it looks like he doesn't have a snowball's chance (I hope).

    If we acknowledge our fears, then we must also acknowledge the consequences of our actions when we react to those fears. Hate is based on fear, fear comes from a lack of understanding. When you understand, it is more difficult to hate.

    by TheProgressiveAlien on Sat Apr 12, 2014 at 10:53:29 AM PDT

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