Blakeslee accuses state GOP chair of “thuggery”
March 18, 2011
State Senator Sam Blakeslee (R-San Luis Obispo) called the outgoing state GOP chairman “a failed leader who has resorted to thuggery” after storming out of a heated meeting of the Rules Committee Friday at the start of a three-day Republican convention in Sacramento. [SF Chronicle]
Blakeslee, who has been leading the charge against attempts by conservatives to revise the party’s endorsement of candidates, left the meeting at the Sacramento Hyatt and leveled his criticism of outgoing chairman Ron Nehring to the press.
Conservative activists want to change GOP bylaw allowing for state and local committee members of the party, typically conservative grassroots activists, to choose to endorse one GOP candidate over another in a primary election — a first in the party.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield, Blakeslee and a host of state elected officials have protested the move, saying that it would hurt the party’s future and in effect take endorsement of GOP candidate out of the hands of GOP voters.
Both Blakeslee and Sen. Bob Dutton, the state Senate minority leader, walked out of the rules meeting in protest.
Critics say that change proposed by Nehring would make it far more difficult for moderate candidates — or even incumbents — to get the endorsement of traditionally conservative party activists, while giving them undue power on endorsements.
Blakeslee later returned to the meeting, telling his colleagues “I am disturbed by the conduct of this party.”