This story has been updated.
San Diego County Republicans are set to re-elect Paula Wissel as chairman on Monday, but not everyone is happy.
Backstory: Former chair Tony Kruvalik, who chose Wissel as his successor two years ago, disappeared from public view after being the provocative and highly visible leader of San Diego’s party for more than a decade. rice field. He followed the equally available and always quotable chairman, Ron Naehring, whom he considered a mentor.
In contrast, during her two years as chair, Whitsell has almost completely avoided public conversations about politics. She steadfastly avoided our and others’ requests for interviews, not substituting emails or social media interactions exactly for her. The sudden absence of the tumultuous chairman of the San Diego County Republican Party seemed to symbolize the end of the party’s relevance in San Diego politics.
However, the party did well in the cycle, winning in Escondido, San Marcos, Carlsbad and Chula Vista. With the last vote finally tallied, La Mesa’s Republican her Laura Lothian retained her city council seat by just 11 votes out of about 35,000.
And finally I had the chance to speak briefly with Whitsell.
“We’ve done this well,” she said. “They asked me to stay for two more years, so I decided to do so.”
Again, “very good” is relative. It is the first time that San Diego City Hall has no Republicans in elected office.
But yes, there were some victories.
opposite opinion: Brad Garvell was elected along with Wissel to the Executive Committee of the Republican Central Committee in January 2021. Although he plans to remain on the Central Committee, he is currently not running with Wissel and is deeply disappointed in her leadership.
Garbel is the campaign manager for Coronado Mayor Richard Bailey and writes a well-read newsletter about local conservative politics called the Republican Roundup. It seems that
He suggested the party convene a meeting to digest the results of the election, similar to what we wrote about what happened after the party collapsed in 2018.
“…But who would have the courage to do that?” he asked.
Then he got sharper. On 30 November he came out strong against Whistell.
“Two weeks from today, the party will re-elect its weakest chairman ever: a chairman who does not conduct media interviews, a chairman who does not have a social media presence, a chairman who does not build relationships with the donor community,” he said. is writing
Gerbel said he had spoken to candidates and grassroots activists, and said most of the feedback about the party was bad.
“The common response I heard was that the chair did not call them back. I heard this complaint many times this election season,” he wrote.
Whitsell declined to comply with his allegations. Garber also declined to give an interview to elaborate on his points.
We recently did an exit interview for our podcast with Rep. Chris Kate, who is currently in his final days on the council, and asked him about the future of the Republican Party. He said he was optimistic that he could build on that, recruit even better candidates, and reap real benefits.
However, I asked if it would be possible if former President Donald Trump would also be on the ballot in two years. Democrats have relentlessly used Trump to sink local Republican candidates.
“We need a leader who is willing to go against the most ardent and ardent people who support him. So I hope that happens,” Kate said.
Then he made a prediction about Trump.
“I personally think he will either get on the ballot or be nominated in 2024. I joked that I should be able to remind myself a little over a year after I started picking people to run for .
I asked Wissel about his thoughts on whether local Republicans would be hurt if Trump led the party again in an election year.
“It’s a national race, and San Diego is my responsibility. There’s going to be a lot of water under that bridge in two years, and at this point it’s time to comment on who should be the presidential candidate.” It’s too early,” she said.
It’s not the kind of pushback Kate would like to see, but it’s also not Trump’s endorsement from a woman who showed some pretty fervent support for Trump a few years ago.
Democrats expected to retain current party lead in early 2023 election
It’s been seven months since Will Rodriguez Kennedy left his position as chairman of the San Diego County Democratic Party. Sexual misconduct allegations filed in September after local prosecutors said they would not prosecute. was eligible for the .above event.
Rebecca Taylor has been the party’s acting chairman ever since, a period that covered an election cycle that contained good news for the Democrats – they now control every seat on the San Diego City Council, becoming the first countywide seats – and some bad news – they took control of the mayoral offices of Chula Vista, National City and Escondido, among other seats. lost.
But now that the party is gearing up for the start of the 2024 cycle, I was curious what the plans were for a more permanent leadership arrangement.
Party bylaws call for biennial meetings where the party’s central committee elects an officer to lead the organization for a two-year term. It will be held in two meetings in January, once on January 10th to elect vice-chairmen for each of the five districts of the county organized by the party. , the election of the next chairman will be held. Individuals running for one of these seats must nominate themselves by January 3.
Changing party chairmanship was a fairly quiet matter until shortly after the 2018 election cycle when Rodriguez Kennedy went up against Craig Roberts.
Now Rodriguez Kennedy’s second term, which he took on leave following the allegations against them and never returned, is simply set to expire and the vacancies to be replaced.
Taylor, who has served as acting chairman since resigning, will run until the end of his term. She told us on Friday that she decided to run after talking with party members and elected officials, and she is confident she will win.
Taylor said he intends to keep the “SANDAG strategy” started by Rodriguez Kennedy. This is an initiative by which the party prioritizes races that could lead to his SANDAG board seat.
“We will focus on creating benches, reaching out to people on how they can help the party, soliciting candidates in advance and mobilizing people all year round,” Taylor said. “In this way, when community priorities become apparent, we can act on them.”
She said she’s never heard of anyone trying to go against her, but that could change.
“I don’t take anything for granted,” she said. “Until then, we are reaching out to our members and getting their feedback. Naturally, it is mostly about improving the organization and finding people who are reflective of the community they represent.”
South Area Vice Chair Sarah Ochoa, who will serve another term, said she doesn’t expect any major changes in the party’s leadership.
“We’ll see what membership decides in January, but I think a lot of current leadership has gone to great lengths to increase transparency and access to the party. It won’t change.” she said. “In my area, we’ve had some disappointing losses. We’ve lost a couple of mayoral seats and Imperial Beach’s parliamentary majority. Locally, by comparison, we won 77% of our elections and ballot measures, and those ballot measures had some serious objections to overcome.”
- Near-term SANDAG strategy: After Republican John McCann won the mayoral election in Chula Vista, much attention has been focused on whether he will eventually represent the city in SANDAG. The party is already in discussions with elected officials in the city and elsewhere about board appointments, Taylor said.
“We are having early discussions with stakeholders and elected officials to make sure we are working together to place people in appointed positions that reflect our priorities. I will,” she said.
Update: This article has been updated with a comment from Rebecca Taylor.
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