Russ Bogh offers conservative credentials in 37th District special election

The race is on to find a new representative for the 37th District in Riverside. Former state senator John Benoit relinquished his position in late 2009 in order to swap leadership roles, and become a member of the Riverside County Board of Supervisors instead. The Republican Benoit left a Southern California vacuum, which a number of candidates have actively been jockeying for. One of the candidates is Russ Bogh, a former representative of the 65th District of the California Assembly, and a longtime businessman.

Bogh is running in the April special election as a strict conservative and longtime resident of the district which he hopes to represent. He comes to the table with an already-wide swath of support, having garnered such awards as the 2004 Legislator of the Year award (from the California Fire Chief’s Association), the 2008 Honorary Guardian of Seniors’ Rights (from the 60 Plus Association) and was honored by the Riverside Sheriffs Association for his “Dedication and commitment to the Riverside County’s Law Enforcement and Citizens of Riverside County” (the law enforcement agency also expressed public support for Bogh’s candidacy). Running as a true blue conservative, Bogh’s success may foreshadow a trend of things to come.

Bogh has made clear where he stands on a number of the hot-button issues of the day, at least for Californians. He vows to protect state borders and stop illegal immigration and is a staunch believer that prisoners should never be released early from incarceration.

On transportation, Bogh has stated his belief that “We must relieve traffic congestion now,” and has backed that up with his support of various transportation projects and propositions meant to increase the number of freeway lanes, the specifications of who can use them, in addition to pushing for a steady support for transportation project needs.

Like most self-professed conservatives, Bogh also believes in cutting spending rather than raising taxes, and has been involved with various tax reform projects. And like a compassionate conservative, Bogh also is running with the plan to give greater funding to schools to best support students. Bogh has personally been involved in the construction of a number of Riverside County schools.

Following a strategy summed up by the mantra “Kick government in the pants,” Bogh’s campaign highlights three specific ways in which Bogh, if successful in his Senate bid, wants to shake things up in the Golden State. These include the creation of jobs “By putting the brakes to job-killing regulations”; by this, Bogh specifically points to tight regulations on which he blames a loss of more than 500,000 state manufacturing jobs in the last decade and tens of billions of dollars of losses.  Bogh vows to “Fight to stop this regulatory overkill.”

Next, Bogh addresses high tax burdens by vowing to “Cut taxes for families and business” in hopes of saving the economy and making state government “Leaner and more accountable.” Finally, Bogh plans to also focus on “Stop[ping] reckless borrowing and spending that’s killing our economy” by employing spending cuts and paying off the debt.

California is a mixed basket.  Arguably one of the most beautiful locations in the world, California also has a rather interesting history when it comes to political trends. Though many assume California is an exceptionally liberal state (and often that stereotype is based on some truths), California is also the state which was represented by former Governor-turned-President Ronald Reagan, and former Senator-turned-President Richard Nixon.

It was in California that Reagan changed his views from left to right, and was handily elected on a conservative platform. (Google the words “California” and “conservative” and see the 17.5 million hits! Compare that to 1.8 million hits for “Texas” and “conservative”… although granted, not all will be relevant to conservative causes.)

Though Bogh is running in a district which generally favors Republican candidates, it will be interesting to see if his staunch support of conservative credentials will help to further bolster his candidacy.  If Bogh can win handily as a conservative, additional candidates may seek to mirror his conservative commitments if it means success in California.