No one wants to admit it, but the local Republican Party leadership’s edict that no candidates from their party accept money from unions has put some GOP hopefuls in a difficult situation, especially when it comes to public safety unions.
It looks like Irvine City Council candidate Jeff Lalloway is the latest member of this club.
Lalloway went to the Lincoln Club of Orange County for an endorsement. However, in order to get the Lincoln Club endorsement, candidates must sign the club’s version of GOP anti-union pledge. The pledge’s preamble goes like this:
The Lincoln Club of Orange County believes that the problem of public employee unions and their corrupting influence at all levels of government must be taken so seriously, that the Club will not endorse a candidate who does not sign the following pledge…
Lalloway signed the pledge and got the Lincoln Club endorsement. But then he went knocking on the doors of two public employee unions — the Irvine Police Association and the Orange County Professional Firefighters Association — and asked for their endorsements.
Lalloway says the apparent hypocrisy in this really isn’t — because although he wants endorsements from the unions, he doesn’t want their money.
Lalloway says his actions fall in line with his view of interest groups. He calls any interest group with “an inordinate amount of power” a corrupting influence. He also pointed to the massive amounts of money funneled into independent expenditure committees, a common occurrence in Irvine City Council elections.
“There’s money and then there’s just gobs of money,” Lalloway said. “I have a gripe with the politicians who succumb to money from interest groups — any interest group.”
But, he says, a fire or police union endorsement just means they believe in the same principles — like the importance of making public safety a city’s top priority.
Officials at the police union wouldn’t comment on whether signing the pledge would affect their chances of a union endorsement. However, a fire union official has signaled that the pledge is irrelevant and that the union won’t hold it against them.
“If a GOP candidate has supported us and continues to want our support, we are going to support them,” said fire union Secretary and Political Affairs Director Tony Bedolla. “We are loyal to our supporters irrespective of any pledges and won’t paint them with as broad a brush as the one our detractors are painting us” with.
At least one union guy agrees with Lalloway. Fire union chief Joe Kerr said when candidates seek the fire union’s support, it’s not seen as union support, but rather as the support of a respectable public safety organization.
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— ADAM ELMAHREK
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