When I have to moderate commenters such as “Timothy Rickets” on this blog (in the case of Council members overspending Grass Valley’s “junket” budget), I know it didn’t sit well — though it’s a point of fact.
More important, I’m reminded that the local GOPers have a more determined political strategy than the local Democrats.
They are better organized, better funded, their “operatives” are more passionate about winning — and some of them will happily resort to mudslinging and name calling if needed.
The Democrats are a more “happy-go-lucky” bunch. They are preoccupied with their jobs and families. They are not as focused politically as the local GOPers — still dominated by the hard right. This group eats “purple people.”
It doesn’t matter on the national scene (except for local political bragging rights). Nevada County is not exactly a political bellwether, as Orange County once was.
But the aggressive politicking does impact the local municipalities — helping to shape policy making in Grass Valley, for example. It’s interesting to watch too, because registered Democrats outnumber Republicans in Grass Valley.
Truckee remains solidly Democratic — but the tea party worked doggedly behind the scenes to find a candidate to run against Richard Anderson (a popular local progressive). They’ll keep plugging away, with hard-right Congressman Tom McClintock still representing this area.
This November, the bipartisan hot button is the Grass Valley City Council race.
In June, the political hot buttons were the judge’s race (Anderson against Smyrnos) and the District 1 Supervisor race (moderate GOPer Beason versus tea party-endorsed McGuire). The GOP endorsed Smyrnos but punted on the District 1 race (another sign of the hard right’s influence).
This time around, the local GOP has gone out of its way to endorse Jan Arbuckle for Grass Valley City Council.
The endorsement is highly strategic. This group wants to continue dominating the City Council — a stronghold of highly conservative beliefs as the County Board of Supervisors becomes more moderate. Nevada City has long been a lost cause for the GOP (though the Council is more pragmatic than progressive, at least in its current form).
A few Grass Valley City Council members are staunch GOPers. The others are “social liberals” but routinely side with the longtime conservative business interests (supporting the reopening of a the Idaho-Maryland Mine or the Loma Rica housing project; suing the County over airport land-use; or nixing a historic preservation ordinance).
The decisions have shaped how Grass Valley is perceived by neighboring municipalities and residents — often with a “my way or the highway” mindset. They resonate throughout the region too: A major housing development or reopening a gold mine in Grass Valley impacts all western county residents, not just theirs.
In Grass Valley, the Democrats hope Jim Firth can beat either Jan Arbuckle or Howard Levine this November. It’s a “too little, too late” political strategy, however; they didn’t round-up enough qualified candidates to unseat the majority.
The pressure won’t end in November. Progressive Supervisor Terry Lamphier will find his seat hotly contested when he comes up for re-election in 2014. I expect longtime Council Member Dan Miller will run against him, with a strong GOP endorsement.
To be sure, the Democrats have scored some local wins: Lamphier’s victory over staunch conservative John Spencer is one example. Another is the defeat of Prop. 23 (which would have suspended the “global warming act”), one that still eats at the hard right. But the Democrat’s strategy is inconsistent — evidenced by the weak show out for the Grass Valley City Council race.
Here’s what the local GOP is up to:
•Political blogging. Our hard-right blogging contingent isn’t just a random effort. The local GOP and tea party refer members to their blogs as a source of information. While entertaining, at least to some, the plan is to present a unified message to the community. The same goes for Rebane’s commentary on KVMR and The Union.
•”Voter integrity campaign.” The local tea party video for “voter integrity,” which we discussed previously, is here. It is an organized effort for poll watching in November, though some see it more as voter intimidation than voter integrity. Rebane has been a poll watcher.
•Campaign signs. There are lots of “Romney-Ryan” campaign signs appearing, well outnumbering the ones for Obama. The Levine and Arbuckle signs are popping up on the property of staunch conservatives (like Robinson Enterprises gas stations).
•Local GOP endorsements. The local GOP Central Committee takes endorsements seriously, hoping to sway the community, even in supposedly nonpartisan races. The endorsements are here. This group is still dominated by the hard right, not moderate GOPers.
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