Former GOP leader of the California Assembly recruits Schwarzenegger as he looks to find a 'new way' for the party

Chad Mayes

"Republicans have failed to be able to reach out to folks, to average folks, in California.”

By: John Myers, Los Angeles Times

Saying it’s time for his party to regain its relevance in California, the former Assembly Republican leader said Tuesday he’s launched a new political organization to focus on issues where the GOP can find common ground with voters who now routinely elect Democrats.

“I think a lot of us are feeling very nervous about going into 2018 with the current dynamics that we’re facing today,” said Assemblyman Chad Mayes (R-Yucca Valley). “And I think, in large part, that’s because Republicans have failed to be able to reach out to folks, to average folks, in California.”

“They don’t think we care about them. They don’t think we are working for their benefit,” he said.

The Mayes effort will be called “New Way California” and will get help from the state’s most prominent Republican, former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. A spokesman said Tuesday that Schwarzenegger is “100% into the effort” and willing to help in any way he can.

The formation of a new political action group, which is expected to include a Super PAC for the coming election cycle, comes after Mayes stepped down from leading his Assembly caucus last summer after criticism from his own party for helping Gov. Jerry Brown and Democrats renew California’s cap-and-trade climate program. He said other Republicans are expected to join the effort in the coming months.

“There are a handful of us,” Mayes said, “that have said enough is enough.”

Exactly which issues the new group will focus on remains under discussion. Assemblyman Rocky Chavez (R-Oceanside), who joined Mayes in discussing the effort with state Capitol reporters on Tuesday, offered a few issues on which he thinks Republicans should focus — from the state’s energy future to income inequality and funding for early childhood programs.

“Those weren’t traditionally Republican issues,” Chavez said. “But those are areas where I believe, policy issues, that will make the party relevant.”

California Republicans hold none of the eight statewide elected offices, with candidates losing each of those elections every time since 2006. The most recent state report shows GOP voters now represent only 25.9% of the registered electorate, a decline of some 300,000 voters since 2011.

Mayes offered up a list of “governance principles” the new political action organization hopes to highlight in 2018 — from compassion to compromise and civil discourse.

“There are so many folks all across California, that feel they have no place to go,” said Mayes. “There are Democrats who are disaffected with the Democratic Party, there are Republicans who feel the party no longer represent them. And there are independents that feel like they’ve got no place to go.”

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