Chad Mayes Rejected by San Bernardino County Republicans in Stunning Rebuke over Gas Tax Vote
Assemblyman Chad Mayes appeared at the San Bernardino County Republican Central Committee meeting last night to make his case for the cap and trade vote, but it wasn't enough to stave off a stunning rebuke from his fellow Republicans.
On a 23-16 vote, the body called for Mayes to be removed from his position as the leader of the assembly caucus. About a dozen counties have now called for his removal.
Mayes has spent his entire political life building relationships in San Bernardino County having once been a member of the Yucca Valley council and working for various elected officials in the county.
The loss of support from the county central committee, the people who know him best, represents the beginning of the end for Mayes.
In attendance at last night's meeting was Jonathan Ingram, Chairman of the Riverside County Central Committee. Ingram has summoned Mayes to defend his position on the AB 398 cap and trade bill at the August 17 meeting at the request of his membership.
Mayes is unlikely to survive that vote. It is one thing for county central committees across the state to call for your removal. It is an entirely different animal when the two counties you represent demand your removal.
Mayes Makes His Plea
During his defense of the cap and trade vote, Mayes adamantly defended his position and expressed no regrets claiming that he would do it all over again.
In fact, he said he lowered taxes and reduced regulation. Here is the video of me confronting Mayes has he attempted to sneak into the meeting using the loading docks behind the building.
He maintained that his vote was a conservative vote stating that the alternative was a more onerous and costly Democrat alternative. His remarks mirrored those presented by Assemblyman Marc Steinorth, effectively morphing the Republican Party into the "Dem-lite Party."
The new Republican mantra centers around the idea that so long as we can pare back the planned increases in taxes and regulations then we are effectively reducing taxes and regulation. It parallels how Congressional Democrats used to talk about the federal government and its budget.
They would repeatedly suggest that by cutting the growth in projected government spending that they were actually cutting spending.
Mayes Owns One Mistake
No. We are not talking about his affair with Kristin Olsen. That subject was never brokered by the membership nor did Mayes make any comments on the matter.
His only regret about the cap and trade vote is that he did not do a good job getting out the message and shaping the narrative. He said he failed to do his job in that aspect and that it allowed lots of misinformation to be spread, not just by activists but even other Republicans in the state senate.
Chairwoman Highlights Damage Done from Vote
Chairwoman Jan Leja did not announce her support or opposition to the motion requesting Mayes to resign from leadership. However, she did provide some clarity as to the impact of the vote.
Leja said that she was getting pounded by conservatives and moderate Republicans. She announced that the email they sent out to their donor list a couple of weeks after the vote produced zero contributions or donations and that more than 100 people unsubscribed.
Later, her husband gave a blistering rebuke of Mayes leadership.
Steinorth Lays into Obernolte
I did not hear this part first hand but was told later that Assemblyman Marc Steinorth was whipping votes for Mayes.
Steinorth and Mayes have staffers and former staffers littering the committee. Steinorth's Chief of Staff, Heather Rouhana, is an alternate for Assemblyman Phillip Chen and she was a no vote on the motion as were several others.
Interestingly, I am told that after the meeting Steinorth laid into Assemblyman Jay Obernolte. Steinorth stated something to the effect of, "Well played Jay. But this is far from over."
I have heard rumblings that the Steinorth may feel threatened by Obernolte possibly making a play at some point for Senator Mike Morrell's seat and thus there is a source of friction there.
Mayes showed up to the central committee meeting and he deserves some credit for that. More importantly, his mere presence suggests that he will fight till the bitter end to stay on as the leader of the caucus. That was further reinforced by some of his comments.
He will not survive next weeks vote in Riverside County. I am very confident in that statement.
The California Republican Party meets the day after the Riverside County vote. I suspect by that point the party leadership will say "enough is enough" and that they will move to call upon Mayes to resign as well.
Given the loss of support in his home counties and likely excommunication by the party, I believe it will embolden another member to seize power and put Mayes out to pasture at the RINO petting zoo.
It really isn't a matter of if at this point...just when.