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California Voters Tired Of ‘One-Party Rule’ In Sacramento, Says New State GOP Chairwoman

Andrew Nixon / CapRadio

Jessica Patterson takes the stage moments after being elected California's GOP chair.

Andrew Nixon / CapRadio

The new chairwoman of the California Republican Party is encouraging voters who can’t support President Trump to consider splitting their tickets and voting against Democrats at the state level.

Jessica Patterson is the first woman and first Latina to head the state GOP. She’s been on the job for just a couple of months after winning her leadership post in late February at the party’s convention.

She says she knows she has a big challenge turning around a party that lost every major California race last year and holds just 24 percent of registered voters.

“We really need to focus this cycle on making sure that we are running super localized campaigns," Patterson said.

In an interview with Capital Public Radio, Patterson said she hopes to encourage California voters who despise the president to reject “one-party rule” in Sacramento. Here are highlights from that conversation.

Interview Highlights

On her message to voters who don't agree with state Democrats or President Donald Trump

People aren't leaving our country. People are leaving our state. And so I think you have to be able to differentiate on candidates across the board. And right now, the failed policies of California Democrats are affecting us more on a daily basis.

On how she plans turn around the California Republican Party

I was not blinded to the challenges that would come with being the chairman of the California Republican Party. And so we also knew that we had to come in with a plan to energize people. And when you say tired of it, I think a lot of people are tired of it. And they're tired of one-party rule. And they're tired of the failed policies of Democrats that have been coming out of Sacramento.

I think for certain, we need to make sure that we have alternatives. I don't think it's enough being the opposition party and just being a party of no. It is incredibly important that we understand that at the end of the day, people have real problems. They have real problems that they want solutions to. And if we want to be successful, we need to engage in these places where that message hasn't come for a long time.

On whether California is impacting the Democratic presidential race

Oh, I think it absolutely is. And I'm very very happy and excited about that. Because I think that the more we see more candidates get in, the more we see three freshman members that are running the Democratic Party nationally, you're going to see candidates that are pushed further and further to an agenda that is not consistent with even California, I believe -- but the overall country. And so I think that it is a good thing for my party when we have so many of these candidates that are moving so far to the socialist side of things.

On being the first Latina to run the California Republican Party

So first of all, I'd say that our board as a whole, our 23 board members, is an incredibly diverse board. When you walk into one of my board meetings, half of the board members are women. We have four Latinos on our board. We've got two openly gay men. We've got a Taiwanese immigrant as our vice chair.

And so it is a fantastic thing to see. And not because any of us ran on being the first anything. We all ran on the issues that we believe were important to the delegates, and the vision that we had for our party going forward. So the fact that the media and others are taking notice of this beautiful diverse board that is a great reflection of California is a good thing for our party and it's a good thing for our brand.

This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

Ben Adler

Capitol Bureau Chief

Capitol Bureau Chief Ben Adler first became a public radio listener in the car on his way to preschool – though not necessarily by choice. Now, he leads Capital Public Radio’s state Capitol coverage, which airs on NPR stations across California.  Read Full Bio 

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