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They’re political partisans on opposing sides, but Bill Lockyer and Michael Capaldi agree that the GOP is likely to hang on, barely, to a third of the seats in the state Legislature this November, denying Democrats super-majority control.
They also think OC Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez is a distinct underdog in her race against fellow Democrat and state attorney general Kamala Harris for Barbara Boxer’s open U.S. Senate seat.
Democrat Lockyer, former state treasurer, attorney general and Senate leader and now an Irvine lawyer, and Michael Capaldi, chairman emeritus of the GOP support group the Lincoln Club, made their comments on the “Inside OC with Rick Reiff” public affairs program on PBS SoCal. The episode can be viewed here.
Capaldi said Republicans fear that the anti-Mexican rhetoric of presidential candidate Donald Trump will hurt the state GOP with Latino voters not just this November “but for some time.” But despite rising Latino population and voter registration, both Lockyer and Capaldi predicted that ticket splitting and continued higher white-voter turnout will spare Republicans a Legislative drubbing this time around.
“There are only one or two places where there is real competition so I don’t expect a major change in composition,” Lockyer said.
They also agreed that Bay Area-bred Harris, who is supported by most of the Democratic Party establishment and leading in polls, is the clear favorite for the U.S. Senate.
Sanchez, in a bid to appeal to Republican, independent and Southern Californians, has portrayed herself as more politically moderate than Harris and an advocate for water projects and other issues of importance to the Southland. She has stumped with San Diego Republican Congressman Darrell Issa, who touts Sanchez’s national defense expertise and approach to water problems.
But Capaldi said he doubted the Sanchez strategy will succeed.
“All of her votes in the United States Senate, if she were ever to be elected, would be nearly identical to all of the votes that Attorney General Harris would make, so from that standpoint Republicans don’t have a deep stake in it.
“And beyond that, this is one heck of a hard state to make an impact in. She would have to get her message out to people who have never heard of her, 18 million voters … California is massive, it’s a gigantic echo chamber and one little voice gets lost, and to try to reach across the aisle and pull Republican voters in, I just think it’s a physics problem, it’s not gonna happen for her.”
Lockyer took a poke at California’s “top two” primary system that produced the all-Democratic race.
“What bothers me is the lack of choice for Republicans. I don’t think it’s fair, I think it’s a First Amendment issue that they don’t have someone they can vote for.”
He said Democratic voters face the same dilemma when choosing candidates in heavily Republican districts.
All “Inside OC” show times are listed at www.rickreiff.com. The shows and post-show “Open Mic” segments are also on YouTube.