Republicans in the Golden State believe a ballot measure that would repeal Gov. Jerry Brown’s 12-cent-per-gallon gas tax, known as Proposition 6, could be the key to reviving their party’s fortunes in California — and to preventing Democrats from winning the key congressional races they need to win back control of the U.S. House in November.
California is reportedly home to the highest average gas prices in the United States.
Democrats, are bashing the Republican-backed gas-tax repeal effort. “This is their Hail Mary, to try to use this repeal of the road-repair measure to light a fire under their voters,” California Democratic Party chair Eric Bauman told Politico. As for the GOP’s long-term prospects in the state, he added: “[H]ere’s the reality: They don’t have any voters.”
However, Donald Trump’s presidency has inspired some conservatives to come out of hiding, which could prove fruitful.
Democrats have targeted several Republican-held districts in California, particularly in Orange County, where Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) are retiring. Meanwhile, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Mimi Walters (R-CA) are also facing challenges to their seats.
Former San Diego city council member Carl DeMaio, a Republican who came out as gay several years ago, reportedly announced this week that he has raised over $1.1 million online for his campaign to repeal the gas tax. A poll conducted by USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times in May suggests the repeal may be headed for victory in November, with over 50 percent of registered voters saying they would vote for it.
John Cox, the Republican challenger to Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, has also made the gas tax repeal the focus of his campaign against Newsom.
Republican Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach) is the original author of the repeal the gas tax measure. He ran for governor but did not qualify for the general election.