SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — For years now, California has been a blue state, but the state’s Republican party leader says she is confident conservatives could make inroads in the upcoming midterm election, and it all starts with messaging.
“We’re going to be working every day to bring our message to some communities that have never heard that message before and talk about what Republican solutions are,” said California GOP Chairwoman Jessica Millan Patterson.
The 2022 midterms are set to include key races for Congress, half of the State Senate, all of the Assembly, and major contests for statewide offices, including the governorship.
In part, she said, the GOP’s message includes some of the state’s most pressing issues including homelessness, the cost of housing, and an increase in crime in many places.
Patterson argues those matters have only been made worse by high taxes and what some in the GOP have called “soft-on-crime” legislation.
“The policies that California Democrats have enacted, which make us feel less safe, make it harder for people to buy homes, to even afford California,” Patterson said.
The road ahead for the California Republican party will not be easy.
While Patterson anticipates the GOP could pick up a handful of crucial Congressional seats in toss-up districts, several polls in the race for governor show incumbent Gov. Gavin Newsom leading his Republican opponent, State Senator Brian Dahle, by at least 25 points.
Those polls numbers are in a state where Democrats have long held a supermajority in the legislature — and where registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans by a margin of about two to one — with no party preference voters not far behind.
“When I was first elected chair, it was a really dark time for California Republicans. We were the third-largest party behind decline-to-states,” Patterson said. “In July of 2020, we surpassed decline-to-states and we continue to build on that margin. It’s about engagement.”
That engagement is coming in new less traditional methods like new GOP community centers popping up across the state, like one in Bakersfield.
“They’re not the typical campaign headquarters. We have English as second language help at these headquarters,” Patterson said. “We have legal help. We have civics courses that help people prepare for their citizenship tests. So what we’re doing is engaging in these communities and engaging early and showing people that we care.”