By ADAM BEAM | Associated Press
SACRAMENTO – Brian Dahle, the Republican Party’s long-held hope of ousting Governor Gavin Newsom in California, he knows that to win in his progressive home state he cannot allow Democrats to label him a denialist rightist, who hates abortion, a lover of guns, and a grandiloquent.
That’s why Dahle, an affable farmer and state senator from the state’s sparse northeastern population, does his best to make one thing clear: “I’m not a crazy Republican. I’m a reasonable person. “
If voters believe that’s what he says and not how Democrats portray him, he will determine how Dahle does it against Newsom, a first-term Democrat who is a crush favorite in November.
Republicans have not won a state office in California since 2006 because their candidates are generally little known, poorly funded, and identified, rightly or wrongly, as strong social conservatives in a socially liberal state. The Republican Party has seen its share of registered voters decline to the point that Democrats now have a 2-1 advantage and there are almost as many independents as Republicans.
Under the California primary system, all candidates compete with each other and the two with the most votes advance to the general election. Newsom won last month with 56%, while Dahle received just 17% in a field of more than two dozen candidates.
With Dahle locked in as his opponent, the Newsom campaign quickly moved forward to identify him as the antithesis of what most Californians want.
“Dahle is a Trump Republican who wants to abolish the right to abortion, repeal California’s gun safety laws, and seek any relevance after being absolutely crushed by Governor Newsom in the primary vote,” the Newsom campaign spokesman said , Nathan Click.
Dahle acknowledges voting for Trump, calls himself “pro-life” and says he is a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment. But he says his record is more nuanced than Newsom’s campaign claims.
Although he voted for Trump, he did not publicly spread Trump’s lie that he was the legitimate winner of the 2020 presidential election. He voted against a proposal to make abortion a constitutional right in California, but went against his party and voted in favor. of a 2021 bill that would make contraceptives, including the morning-after pill, much cheaper.
On guns, Dahle voted against a Newsom-backed bill to allow private citizens to sue people who sell illegal firearms and a bill that would ban the marketing of weapons to children. Dahle’s office declined to comment on a new bill aimed at limiting where people can carry concealed firearms, a response to which the U.S. Supreme Court overturned state law last month.
He wants to make it a crime to steal a gun, support improvements for gang members and other former inmates who commit new crimes using guns. And he voted in favor of a bill to strengthen a California-exclusive program that confiscates weapons from convicted criminals who are supposed to not have them.
His plan to beat Newsom is to focus on what he believes are the real issues that matter to people: high gasoline prices, rising crime and the high cost of living in the state, while portraying Newsom, a millionaire businessman and former mayor of San Francisco. as an out-of-contact elitist.
“The facts are that (Newsom) is a failure. Show me something you’re succeeding at. And that’s what we’re going to talk about,” Dahle said.
As governor, Dahle said he would press for the suspension of the state gas tax, which at 53.9 cents per gallon is the second highest in the country. He says he would remove Newsom’s appointments to the State Parole Board, which he says often lets “violent criminals out before their sentences end.”
And Dahle said he would push hundreds of new permits for oil and gas drilling in the state at a time when California regulators are working on Newsom’s plan to ban the sale of new gas cars and turf equipment.
Newsom won in 2018 with almost 62% of the vote. He defeated a record last year by the same margin. He has $ 23 million in his campaign account and a record state budget surplus of nearly $ 100 billion, of which about $ 9.5 billion will be returned to most taxpayers on rebates to help offset high gasoline prices.
Dahle has just under $ 400,000 in his campaign account. Ask your followers to donate $ 1 a day for your campaign. It takes about 200,000 people to do this to catch up with Newsom’s fundraising, which is unlikely to happen.
“The key to his success would be to draw the media attention needed to define himself beyond party etiquette,” said Rob Nehring, a former California Republican Party president and 2014 Republican candidate for deputy governor. “If this is just a party preference vote even in a strong Republican year, it’s likely to fall short.”
Dahle grew up in Bieber, a small community of about a hundred people in the northeast corner of the state. His grandfather, a World War I veteran, came to California during the Great Depression and secured a land grant in Siskiyou County that, according to family legend, he won when his name was taken out of a pickle. The deed is signed by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Dahle said.
Dahle did not go to college. He tried to grow out of high school, but lost money quickly. To pay his creditors, he made lunch and stayed outside a lumber mill every morning for three days until the owner hired him. He worked in construction for a few years, including long hours in a gold mine, before starting a seed business that he still owns.
He won his first career for the Lassen County Board of Supervisors by defeating a popular teacher in the town of Susanville where most voters lived. He won a seat in the State Assembly by defeating Rick Bossetti, a former professional baseball player and mayor of Redding, the region’s largest city with about 90,000 inhabitants.
And he was elected to the state Senate by defeating Kevin Kiley, a fellow Republican in the Assembly who lived in a much more populated area.
“He did the things you should do and surprised his opponents,” said Jim Chapman, an independent Democrat who served on the oversight board with Dahle. “He has a very charismatic demeanor and from the moment I met him, I knew this guy was going to go somewhere.”
The life of the government seemed to suit Dahle and his family. He proposed to his wife, Megan, during a supervisors meeting. Now, Megan is a Republican in the State Assembly. They are like most married couples, except when they disagree, it can be part of a public record.
“I just make fun of him and tell him I was probably wrong,” Megan Dahle said of the times they voted legislation differently. “He is a farmer, so he works hard and has good relations with people. They can trust him. “
When he arrived in Sacramento, Dahle fell in love with his legislative colleagues from both parties by organizing tours of his district, which includes picturesque farmland in the shadow of the Sierra Nevada. In 2016, he worked with a bipartisan group of lawmakers to pass a law aimed at preventing patients from receiving surprise bills from health care providers outside their insurance network.
Last year’s recall elections essentially cleared the Republican camp this year, as none of the top candidates chose to challenge Newsom again. That created an opportunity for Dahle, who will be ousted from the Senate in 2024. He realizes that his success rests on a sudden political reversal in a state that moves further to the left with each election.
“I’ve seen the pendulum swing, and when it swings, it goes fast,” Dahle said. “So my message is, ‘Hey, do you want what you’re getting? How about trying something different?'”
‘I’m not a crazy Republican. I’m a reasonable person.’ – Press Telegram Source link ‘I’m not a crazy Republican. I’m a reasonable person.’ – Press Telegram