Republican State Board of Equalization member criticized the Ventura County Republican Central Committee for escalating the fundraising race for the open seat on the Board of Equalization ( BoE). Here is the post from his blog:
***Party Endorsements Insult Voters***
Our California political system makes party nominees and the party the focus of the November general election. However, for the June primary election the candidates are on their own. Although the state and local parties have the legal power they rarely intervene in a primary fight
and should never do so without some overriding reason where the endorsement helps the party. Never until a week ago when the Ventura County Republican Central Committee endorsed a candidate for my job, and I am told they did so with no candidate debate, and in fact only one candidate invited. I am termed-out of my position on the Board of Equalization and there are 4 candidates pursuing the campaign. There is no reason in the world that the Republican Party voters in the 2nd District should not be allowed to choose their own nominee without party interference. This is an insult to the Republican voters in the 2nd District.
Now Barbara Alby (whom I have endorsed), Alan Nakanishi, and Roy Ashburn will have no political choice but to go after county central committee endorsements. I regret this. It was a dumb and unnecessary move for Ventura County to change the nature of the race. As political activists and campaign law specialists know when the party does endorse then party resources can be spent on their candidate and money can be legally laundered to the party in amounts higher than would be legal for the candidate to accept personally. So the other candidates have no choice now but to go after official party endorsements in other counties. And with 34 counties in the 2nd District every county committee is going to come under pressure. Ventura has unleashed a free-for-all for legal campaign laundering.
Endorsements are critical to communicate with voters for a low visibility position. I understand why candidates would pursue endorsements as a way to send a signal of their values and views. Raising money for a position like this must also be especially difficult. There is always interest group money but that comes with risks. There is money from personal friends but that might not go far enough.
Getting endorsements from party organizations is critical to raise Ideological money in a contested primary. Getting this endorsement will help George Runner introduce himself to voters and will help him raise money. But is Bill Leonard right that the chain reaction is going to be a problem?