Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) expressed optimism for the Republican Party’s future in liberal California during his speech at the California Republican Party’s fall convention in Anaheim on Saturday.
“All it takes is a little new thinking applied with old principles. The principles of Ronald Reagan,” Cotton told the packed ballroom of Republicans, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The Golden State is home to 5 million registered Republican voters and 8 million registered Democrats.
Cotton reportedly honed in on the state’s new gas tax, passed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in April, as well as the state’s vehicle hike fee, citing the negative impacts those measures will have on every California resident. He suggested these measures could backfire against the Democrat ruling political class.
“If you live in West L.A. or San Francisco and you have the money to afford a Tesla, maybe you’ll be OK.” He reportedly added, “What about the farmer in the Central Valley who has a pickup truck and needs to fill it up three times a week?”
He also took shots at legislation signed into law by Brown earlier this month that turns California into a sanctuary state. Brown signed Senate Bill 54 into law after cutting a deal with Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles), who is challenging liberal Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) — a relative moderate.
Though Democrats are targeting seven vulnerable GOP-held congressional seats in 2018, Republicans are not entirely on the defensive in the Golden State.
In August, Republicans launched an ad indicating they will target Democrats who support single-payer health care in California in 2018, namely Bryan Caforio and Josh Harder in the Golden State’s 25th and 10th Districts.
Four Democratic California congressmen are also targets for next year’s midterm elections.
They include Reps. Ami Bera (7th district), Salud Carbajal (24th district), Scott Peters (52nd district) and Raul Ruiz (36th district).
During a luncheon speech at the convention, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) blasted Gov. Brown and lauded President Donald Trump, hailing the commander-in-chief as the Ronald Reagan of our time. “I don’t think history will be very kind to Gov. Brown,” McCarthy said, according to the Los Angeles Times.
He reportedly pointed to improvement to the economy and regulation since Trump was sworn into office in January. “What a difference nine months and one election makes. What a difference,” McCarthy reportedly said. “A man who ran for president on issues and keeps his word and actually enacts the things he promised to do.”
McCarthy also blasted Republicans in California’s state legislature who voted for Democratic policies saying, “My advice to those Assembly members in Sacramento: You will not win a majority by thinking you’ll be Democrat-light. You will win the majority by showing the differences in the party.” He reportedly added, “You will not win the majority by voting against your own principles on a Democratic policy and let Democratic targets vote no. You will not win the majority if you’re concerned about being able to stand behind a podium with a Democratic governor instead of giving the freedom to Californians across this entire state.”
Assemblyman Chad Mayes (R-Yucca Valley) stepped down as Assembly Republican leader after he and other Republicans voted with Democrats for an extension of the state’s cap-and-trade program.