Ex-state GOP chief Tom Del Beccaro launches Senate bid

26 Apr 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Ex-state GOP chief Tom Del Beccaro launches Senate bid.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Tom Del Beccaro, a former chairman of the California Republican Party, announced Sunday that he’s undertaking a longshot bid to succeed Barbara Boxer as California’s next U.S. senator. Democrat Kamala Harris has established herself as the early front-runner for the seat in a state where Democrats control every statewide office and both chambers of the Legislature.

He also will campaign to make California a water-technology leader. “I support a flat tax nationwide, the repeal of California’s high-speed rail bond and a comprehensive water infrastructure and acquisition program for California,” Del Beccaro said in a statement. “California, which historically has been a high-tech leader, should be the world leader in water technology to meet the challenges of tomorrow, and we need a new generation of leaders who will champion the policies necessary to foster that.” He plans to use the May 26 release of his book, “The Divided Era,” to help launch what he acknowledges will be an uphill campaign given the Democratic Party’s 15-percentage-point advantage in voter registration. In a written statement on his candidacy, Del Beccaro called for simplification of the federal tax code and vowed to ensure “that prosperity is not limited to the well-connected.” In a telephone interview, he said the science on global warming was unsettled, and therefore federal policy should not presume that human activity is causing climate change. Del Beccaro, the most socially conservative of the trio, estimates he’ll have to build a large grass-roots effort and raise upward of $10 million to be competitive. And he said he disagrees with a recent comments by Harris that “an undocumented immigrant is not a criminal.” “My focus is more about how to bring people to the table,” he added. “I am not running so I can say, ‘Some people are wrong and some people are right.’ I am going to be very specific in this campaign about solutions as opposed to just politics and yelling back and forth.”

Chavez’s lackluster fundraising in his campaign’s first few weeks — he reported less than $5,000 in the bank at the end of March — has raised questions about his viability. Allan Hoffenblum, a former Republican consultant who publishes the nonpartisan California Target Book election guide, described Del Beccaro as a “showman” whose candidacy would be hard to take seriously. “I think it’s an ego thing for him,” Hoffenblum said, comparing Del Beccaro to presidential candidates who aim less for the White House than for lucrative TV and radio jobs that can follow a high-profile campaign.

He also said he did not deserve blame for the the party’s poor election results on his watch. “There were far greater factors than I involved in that process,” he said, citing the heavy turnout of Democrats for the 2012 presidential election and labor’s costly campaign against a California ballot measure that would have curbed union spending on politics. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., was re-elected in a landslide and Democrats rolled up supermajorities in the state Assembly and Senate, reducing Republican legislators to spectators at the statehouse.

He said part of the fundraising problems during his tenure stemmed from a growing trend of donors giving money to superPACs, rather than state political parties. He also vowed a dramatic cut in deductions — but not those for mortgage interest or charitable donations — with the goal of eliminating giveaways to corporations and the wealthy. But it’s eclipsed by the $2.2 million that Harris’ campaign had on hand and demonstrates just one of the hurdles that GOP candidates will have to overcome to make the race competitive.

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