As you all know, I supported and worked with Al Ramirez in his failed attempt to unseat Barbara Boxer in November. As you also know, Al was unsuccessful in the primary and Carly Fiorina was the GOP nominee. Again, as you also know, Carly was shellacked by Barbara Boxer. Big surprise there? Not!
Al Ramirez’ 2010 U.S. Senate campaign slogan was “Make California Special” to emphasize a plan for economic rebound. With a Special Election to replace Jane Harman, it is my opinion that Ramirez is the candidate with something special to reverse the GOP’s November misfortunes in the Great State of California?
During his US Senate race Ramirez would tell the audience in his speeches that to win in California, the GOP needed to do three things: 1. do well in LA County; 2. do well with voters under the age of 50; and, 3. do well with Hispanic voters. The 36th District fits exactly within this matrix and if Al Ramirez could succeed here it could present the formula for reversing the 2010 GOP statewide trends. Again, as you know, the GOP lost every single 2010 statewide race because they did poorly with these voting blocs.
The 36th District is only 25% registered Republican but over 30% Hispanic. It seems logical out of the names being tossed about on the GOP side including past candidate Mattie Fein or Damon Dunn, that Al Ramirez is the only candidate who could forge a strategy to even make the Run-Off. This Special Election will be held under California’s new Open Primary rules. The Top Two Vote Getters go on to the Run-Off regardless of party. Too many Republicans splitting the ticket could mean two Democrats in the Run-Off. Even if a Republican makes the Run-Off with a 45% Democrat registration and large Hispanic voting bloc it spells a less than 35% Election Day result for the GOP. That is unless Al is in the Run-Off as the GOP candidate. He, unlike the other potential candidates will get the Hispanic vote.
During Al’s Senate campaign, I consistently saw him receive strong and enthusiastic response from the electorate. However, his challenge was not from the electorate itself, it was from within the State Party leadership itself. Some in the CRP insisted on framing the race around Carly Fiorina because of her perceived ability to self fund. However, we all saw how that turned out. She didn’t really self fund at all.
Al Ramirez should be better utilized by the GOP in the Primary as a highly visible candidate the way the CRP propped up Damon Dunn. Ramirez’s image could have help reach out to those three key voting blocs mentioned by Al and cited above that no one else appreciates or understand. Al has also been more consistently involved in politics than the others since he first ran for office as a 22 years old college student. He has even worked to lobby for improvements in technology used by the Department of Homeland Security.
But make no doubts that while Al has a passion for public service, he’s no political hack having spent nearly two decades in the business world working for leading tech companies such as AT&T and Samsung where he gained International trade experience.
Now California has a second chance with Al. He has informed me that he is making calls about entering the Special Election. He is no stranger to the folks in DC or the NRCC. He’s also no stranger to the people of the 36th District having previously run a statewide race. At the end of the day, the GOP has not won when the demographics are as they are in the 36th District. So we should consider that Al is under 50, lives in LA County and is Hispanic. So, I’ll paraphrase what Ramirez would say on the stump that, “he’s got a natural base here”.
Maybe, this is his time. I encourage is candidacy and hope that all in the Party can rally to support him as well.
© 2011 by Frank T. DeMartini