The Republican Caucus in the California State Senate may soon be leaderless, if no one steps up to take the job.
According to a Los Angeles Times report, it is a job nobody wants.
Current Senate Republican Leader Jean Fuller of Bakersfield will be termed out of office next year, and she is searching for her replacement.
And it has evidently been tough going.
Being the leader of the “SuperMinority” in the California State Senate is a thankless job by any measure. There are only 13 Republican members squaring off against 27 Democrats, who hold all the power.
That was made evident last week when presiding member Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) cut off the microphone to Sen. Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove), and ordered the Sergeant-at-arms to remove her from the Senate Floor.
The leader of the opposition party in the California State Senate is a truly thankless job, in large part because it requires a tremendous amount of extra work without any of the benefits of actual power.
The minority leader must fundraise relentlessly, meet with lobbyists and industry representatives, prepare the caucus for floor by managing a team of consultants, and travel the state in support of new Republican candidates while defending the seats already held. In addition to all that, the leader becomes the de facto referee in all personnel matters and intra-party skirmishes — and must negotiate with the leadership of the majority party, who hold all the cards.
The Times went on to quote a number of members, and it was a resounding chorus of nays:
Perhaps one reason no one wants the job is that Republicans no longer hold the power to block a tax increase, having given the “SuperMajority” of two-thirds in both houses back to Democrats in this last election cycle.
Or perhaps the problem is that the job is so vulnerable. Republicans call the Minority Leader the “transition leader” — because inevitably, whomever agrees to be “appointed” leader by the current leadership is likely to be replaced by a newly-elected class, or ousted in a coup.
Tim Donnelly is a former California State Assemblyman.