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End of Partisan Primaries Signals a Shift in Party Dynamics

by Lucy Ma, published


This week the California Republican Party announced its endorsements for the 2012 June primary. The final list came just two weeks after the CRP held their annual spring convention in Burlingame, CA, where party officials from across the state gathered to discuss the future of Republican politics. This year’s endorsement process marks a first for the Republicans, which voted last year to drastically change party by-laws in an effort to address California’s “Top Two Primary”.

Much like their Democratic counterparts, Republicans struggled to build consensus around a new endorsement protocol. The clear goal at hand was to implement a process that appears both fair and balanced, while trying to ensure that endorsements go to the candidate deemed most likely to make it through to November’s general election.

In the end, Republicans opted for a fairly complex solution. The first stage starts out at the county party level, which can endorse a candidate through a 2/3 vote, or pass a formal motion to oppose a candidate. From there, the final decision to endorse is then taken up by the State Party’s Board of Directors. The CRP Board takes into consideration local endorsements, but in cases where local Chairs failed to act or votes fell short of the 2/3 quota, the 24 member board makes the final call. It is safe to say that some are still far from thrilled with the final outcome, and in contrast would much prefer the method adopted by the California Democratic Party.

The CDP which gathered for their annual convention last month, held regional caucuses where local party leaders voted to determine the final endorsement for all of the state’s races.

California Republican Party Chairman, Tom Del Beccaro, does not seem to view the new endorsement process in the same negative light.  

"As the Party prepares to be a vigorous contender in California's first top two primary, we seek to promote the most competitive candidates in the field this Primary season," stated Del Beccaro in a prepared release. “As Chairman, I am very pleased with the level of thoughtful participation from around the state. It was an encouraging prelude to an invigorated Party getting ready for this important election year.”

It is important to mention that according to the California Republican Party, all candidates were given a right to a hearing during the final endorsement meeting, in addition to opportunities offered at the county level. The full endorsement hearing was open to the public and live-streamed on the web.

Click HERE for the full list of endorsements.

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