Democrats losing membership in SLO County

May 18, 2015

Republican-vs.-Democratic-jpgBy JOSH FRIEDMAN and KAREN VELIE

As the Republican Party loses ground in California and risks losing statewide competitiveness, it is the Democratic Party that is suffering the greater erosion in San Luis Obispo County.

Since 2009, the Democratic Party has lost 7,394 voters, a decline of 13.1 percent in SLO County, according to statistics provided by the county clerk-recorder’s office. In contrast, 3,531 county voters left the Republican party during that span, a decline of 5.6 percent.

As of February 2015, 59,047 county voters, or 39.7 percent, are registered Republican, and 48,857, or 32.8 percent of county voters, are registered Democrats.

Total voter registration in the county is 148,821. As a whole, voter registration dipped 4.9 percent from 2009 to 2015. But, decline to state party affiliation registrations increased by 9.5 percent from 29,048 county voters registered decline to state in 2009 to 31,815 this year.

In 2009, two of the five supervisor districts in the county were heavily Republican, one was largely Democratic and two were closely split between registered Republicans and Democrats.

After redistricting occurred in 2011, District 5, which had swung from party to party for decades, became largely Republican. A section of District 1 moved into District 5 during redistricting. Redistricting is the redrawing or adjusting of district lines, which occurs every 10 years to ensure each supervisor district has similar population numbers.

With new boundaries drawn and a steady flow of voters leaving the Democratic Party, SLO County’s supervisor districts now lean right. Three districts are now heavily Republican, one is moderately Democratic and one district has a close split between Republicans and Democrats.

BOS Group

District 1, which runs inland from the Monterey County line to Templeton, currently has 5,910 more Republicans than Democrats. Republican Paso Robles Councilman John Hamon is currently running against Democratic Paso Robles Mayor Steve Martin in the race to replace Republican Supervisor Frank Mecham.

District 2 which runs along the coast from San Simeon to Los Osos and includes a portion of San Luis Obispo, has 2,166 more Democrats than Republicans. Democratic Supervisor Bruce Gibson is currently serving his third term in the District 2 seat, and he has twice won reelection with ease.

District 3, which includes Grover Beach, Pismo Beach and a portion of San Luis Obispo, has only 554 more Democrats than Republicans. Democratic Supervisor Adam Hill is running for reelection in District 3 and faces challenges from San Luis Obispo Councilman Dan Carpenter and former Grover Beach Mayor Debbie Peterson.

Carpenter is not affiliated with a political party, but his fiscally conservative stance on the San Luis Obispo council has appealed to Republicans. Peterson is a Democrat, but she opposed Democratic leaders in becoming a vocal critic of the San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District’s dust rule.

Conservative Republicans Lynn Compton and Debbie Arnold currently occupy the District 4 and 5 seats. District 4, which includes Nipomo, Arroyo Grande and Oceano has 3,026 more Republicans than Democrats; and District 5, which includes Atascadero and portions of Templeton and San Luis Obispo, has 3,974 more Republicans than Democrats.

Party leaders link the declining local Democratic Party registration to changes in local party strategies and public outreach.

San Luis Obispo County Republican Party Chairman John Peschong said that locally Republicans actively recruit new members while staying focused on their three primary issues – smaller more efficient government, low taxes, and protecting personal freedoms. At the same time, local Republican leaders avoid focusing on fringe topics and attacking their opponents.

“We have a continuing registration program and we stay away from fringe topics,” Peschong said.

“I would never call anyone a racist like Adam Hill called Sam Blakeslee or say opponents are against poor people,” Peschong added. “It turns people off. We are going to stay focused on our message.”

Attorney Stew Jenkins, the former Vice-Chair and Secretary of the San Luis Obispo County Democratic Central Committee, said that local Democratic Party leaders have stopped working with local activist to increase membership and instead rely on “paid political ‘con’sultants from Los Angeles and Sacramento” who have brought their “constructed campaigns focused on fears, negative advertising, and targeted mailings that go only to ‘likely’ Democratic voters.”

“The current leadership of the San Luis Obispo County Democratic Central Committee demonstrates dependence on the paid political consultant class, rather than the consultants depending on the membership and real outreach of the Central Committee,” Jenkins said. “There has been more emphasis on excluding Democrats not in lock-step with the exclusionary leadership. The efforts to bring together the kind of coalition that would win elections in our rural county have ceased.”

San Luis Obispo County Democratic Party Chair Pat Harris did not respond to several requests for comment.

In Santa Barbara County, both major parties lost approximately 15 percent of registered voters between 2009 and 2015, while decline to state party affiliation voters increased by 33 percent. Santa Barbara County currently has 75,673 registered Democrats, 56,185 registered Republicans and 46,520 residents who are registered as decline to state party affiliation.

Statewide, Democrats hold a large lead over Republicans, and the gap has widened in recent years.

In October 2014, 43.3 percent of California voters were registered Democrat, Republicans accounted for 28.1 percent of state voters and 23.3 percent of California voters selected the decline to state category.

The percentage of California voters registered Democratic has remained relatively stable over the past decade. But, Republican registration dropped from 34.3 percent in 2006 to 28.1 percent last year.

Even so, the majority of California counties remain Republican-leaning, but the gap is closing. In 2006, 35 counties leaned Republican while 23 leaned Democrat. But, as of October 2014, Republicans controlled 31 counties, and Democrats controlled 27.

For the past few years, Democrats have flirted with having a super-majority in the Legislature, and they achieved it temporarily.

National voter registration trends are similar to those in California, according to data compiled by the Pew Research Center. Between 2006 and 2014, Democratic registration remained relatively constant at about 32 percent while the Republican party dropped from 28 percent in 2006 to 23 percent in 2014.

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7 years of recession with no end in sight. The party in power throughout the majority of that time…Democrat. Obama Democrat Brown Democrat…Feinstein, Boxer, Capps, Pelosi, Democrat! What do you expect? You don’t have to kick me in the head!

You think we needed change in 2008?….hahahaha watch the news check your bank account and if you’re lucky to have one take a look at your paycheck! this is what it looks like when a nation needs change.


Right, elect Republicans and you will not even have a paycheck. All the loot will go to the 1%. That’s change to believe in.


The Chambers of Commerce and the corrupt, communist labor unions support democrats and RINOs who will enforce their agenda.

Read Trevor Loudon.


Can’t even quote an American? That’s some pride you have there “AmericaBeautiful”.


Why do you hate America ?

Rich in MB

Because of white privileged


Seems, every time a Republican holds office and has sway over the houses, the economy improves for everybody.

The “1%” war cry is old, ignorant, and just plain stupid. But, if that’s all you got…


Can I have a little of what you’re smoking?

President George W. Bush had a Republican controlled House and Senate for most of his eight years in office, and presided over one of the worst economies in decades. I have a link here for you and there is a video link of President Bush’s last press conference, where among the various topics he mentioned, one of them was the state of the weak economy.

The reason I brought up President GW Bush, is that when his father, GHW Bush was President, as with President Reagan and President Nixon, the Democrats had control of Congress most of the time. How far back do you have to go to try and prove your point? It will certainly be more than 50 years, maybe 100 or more?

Well, I say go for it; provide a link with some evidence to back up your assertion, please.


They all work for the same club, with the same goal in mind: The New Feudalism. They just go about it in different ways.


Categorically and demonstrably FALSE. Republicans never balance budgets, get us into multi-trillion $$$ wars with lies, and crater the economy. They transfer wealth from ordinary working folk and funnel it to their oligarch bosses and paymasters.

Republicans have done NOTHING for average Americans for the last 60+ years. I dare you to name any advancement or improvement they were in favor of during this time.

Republicans are just no damn good, and never will be.

Rich in MB

You mean like old Hillary…compared to young Rubio….ha ha ha

Fear…the left is in a panic of a Rubio vs Clinton election.


BALONEY ! You Republicans mess up and then blame the janitors !


A true conservative Republican like Tim Donnelly would definitely have cleaned up this state, but corrupt GOP shunned the very idea, only allowed a RINO to run, and gave us marxist dumbell Jerry Brown.


More reactionary toadsuckery. Jerry Brown, as governor, inherited a $27 BILLION deficit, and in two years created an $850 million budget surplus.

He improved California’s credit rating.

Jobs have been created and unemployment has been gradually tracking lower.

He facilitated the state operated health care exchange, and now 4 million more California residents have access to health care.

Just a few of Governor Brown’s accomplishments.

Republican’s would have done nothing, or send us down the road to perdition and bankruptcy like Republican governors have done across the country : Brownback, Kansas…Walker, Wisconsin …Scott, Florida…Christie, New Jersey… Deal, Georgia …LePage, Maine …Snyder, Michigan….Jindal, Louisiana…Haley, South Carolina… etc., etc.


You must “teach” at Cal Poly, to be stuck in this mindset. Get with it.

It’s neither “Dimmocrat” (communism) nor “Republican” (communism-lite). It’s Big Government or Individual responsibility.

Which do you prefer?

By the way, jobs are leaving the state: e.g., Toyota Torrance is moving to Texas, where business is encouraged, not destroyed—by Big Government.


I prefer that libertarian know-nothings move to a Randian, no-government paradise like Somalia or Myanmar; and let us civilized Americans alone.


Just as GW Bush inherited some simmering problems from Clinton, Obama inherited some boiling problems from Bush. Neither did a particularly good job of handling them and some were made worse. However, blaming all the problems on those currently in office (or, for that matter, primarily on the President) is ignoring the reality that these problems didn’t just pop up from nowhere.

I agree that the most of the Democrats you list did their jobs from poorly (Capps, Boxer, Obama) to horribly (Feinstein, Pelosi). However, with the GOP usually offering very flawed candidates and platforms, the voting public will continue to put people like them back in office (and wrongly so in many cases).

PS My paycheck has grown under Obama — although I think that I had more to do with that than he did.


Thank inflation, but never thank a democrat. Their purpose is NOT to enrich YOU.


Just a little correction for your rant; there is no such thing as the “Democrat” party, period. It is called the “Democratic” party, and those who register to vote and/or run for office representing that party are called Democrats. I know that some conservative wordsmith coined the phrase “the Democrat Party” in order to try and accomplish two objectives; one, to distance the sound of the name so that it doesn’t remind voters and likely voters that we have a political party with the word “democratic” in it, and two, by dropping the “ic” off the end of democratic, it can sound like you are emphasizing the last three letters “rat”. A desperate attempt to paint one party as something they are not (less than democratic, and equal to rats).

It really is a childish tactic.


None other than disgraced drunk red-baiter Sen. Joe McCarthy started it back in the 50’s, and these suckers are more than happy to follow his stumbling lead.

Mike Byrd

In the 1850s they liked to call themselves the Democracy Party, implying that to oppose them was to oppose democracy.


Republicans today like to call themselves ‘conservatives’, but they conserve nothing; and they despise the very concept of republican government …or any government at all.

Synonyms for ‘republican’, n: democrat, Jacobin, liberal, progressive, socialist, constitutionalist, Rousseauist; mod: democratic, constitutional, popular, electoral, autonomous, sovereign, representative.


So what do we call ‘Republicans’, when clearly they are NOT republicans or conservatives. I’ve been mulling this over, and want to be definitive …not just ‘anti’ this or that, even though negativism is a big part of their ideology.

Have been contemplating ‘Spenglerites’, or ‘Spenglerists’ ( re: Oswald Spengler; who advocated a nationalism based on corporate socialism ).

This would/might obviate the Godwin implications of the conflation and confusion that imposes a false intellectual censorship.

Debatable if it would work though, as most Americans are too dense and apathetic to learn and understand.


Learn from democrat history, people. Look at Democrat-destroyed DETROIT. Democrat fantasies mean loss and trouble in real life. They are children and CANNOT be allowed power any more if this state and country are to survive.


the reagan admin refused to enforce labor laws “patco banned forever” caterpillar used german factories to break peoria unions violating 1955 labor law. law is only as good as enforcement allows can’t blame the Dems or unions for Detroit .


Political affiliation does not matter.

Voting record and who a candidates lobbyists are/what and who the lobbyists represent are all we need to know.


You know for sure that if a person declares themselves a “democrat” that they are marxists. With Republicans, it’s 50-50.


It’s called discrediting yourself, this is what happens when sharing the echo chamber chants.


No, it’s called getting the word out.

Mike Byrd

During my morning perusal of news sites I noticed a comment by AmericaBeautiful and thought, this person has an interesting outlook, so scrolled down because I was interested in better understanding his/her way of thinking. Then I got to this – all Democrats are Marxists – and became convinced this is just one great satire. He/She has to be pulling our legs. The closest to any remaining Marxist on the planet would have been found in Cuba. . .many years ago. In America the John Birch Society outlived the tiny Marxist movement.


Yeah…could be a satire/stereotype, but the reason it’s plausible is that these stereotypes do exist. There really are people that are this batcrap looney.

BTW, did you know that the father of the Koch brothers was one of the founders of the John Birch Society ? Apples from the tree, and now we have the Koch funded Tea Party in its various permutations.


I’m much more pragmatic.

I simply follow the money.

Politicians are pretty, polished, salespeople of the snakeoil. Through many a forked politician’s tongue, many promises have been made and broken.

Here is a perfect example: Lois Capps! Yay LOL.

Now, everyone put on your thinking caps and pretend you DON’T know anything about her. Based on the $$ she receives from contributions, just how do you think she will vote on the subject of off shore drilling?

How about based on voting record?

I have faith that there are still a majority of Americans who possess their common sense and reason. They simply need to know how and where to look to find the answers they seek.

I now view voting for Congress like shopping for groceries. I don’t just run in to the market and buy Vons store’s New York Steak because they say it is the best price and best cut in town. I shop around, look at the sales, etc before deciding where to spend my $$. I think I want to have my best guess how the elected congressperson will spend my money. Shopping for Congress is the only way.


All you need to know is them bragging about a “surplus” on one hand, and trying to raise taxes with the other.


The Demofacist Establishment is waging war on everybody.

The Republicrat Establishment is waging war on conservatives.

Honest citizens are being left in the lurch.

Rich in MB

You nailed it exactly….


You two guys need to stop voting.

You’re too dumb to know the difference.

Theo P. Neustic

That was profound. Thanks for the intellectual response from the leftists.


SF….you are a gift to the Rebublicans, you have to realize that, don’t you?


I tell the truth about them and reveal how absolutely awful and wrong they are. It just pisses them off

I doubt many consider me a ‘gift’. Too many have threatened to kill me.


Americans who actually pay the taxes to support this country and its communist boondoggles lack the information to make choices that will be healthy for themselves, their children/families, and our state & country.

Every issue confronting America can be found in the propaganda of the left, e.g.:


So you don’t pay your fair share of taxes? Please stop using our resources.

Rich in MB

Notice if you will how the left deals with dissenters…. Take away their voting rights. Well they did start the KKK after all along with planned parenthood to week out the undesirable minorities….so what would you expect!


Carpenter is going to beat Hill like an overstuffed kettle drum…


Not if PG&E’s MC Tom Jones has any say about it.

Mike Byrd

It would be interesting to know the changes during the preceding 6-year period. Based only on anecdotal evidence I’ve noted within my sphere of observation, it might be that the exodus from the Republican party began sooner as the more extreme right began flexing its GOP muscle. This would result on fewer left to leave during the period covered by the article. Democratic flight from the party bosom seems to have begun a little more recently.

As to the comments about the local Democratic Central Committee, I concur. I have seldom been made to feel more unwelcome than at party events. Mine used to be the party of inclusiveness. No longer, at least not locally. I speak only of the hierarchy, not of the rank and file who remain interested and open to all sorts of folks.


Maybe it is hard to embrace someone using terms like “more extreme right,” “flight from the party bosom,” and discussion of inclusiveness when using those types of words. Inclusiveness works in all directions.

Mike Byrd

As stated, that’s what I’ve been seeing and hearing from people who have talked to me about becoming decline to states. As for inclusiveness, I have friends ranging from extreme left to extreme right and everything in between. And we enjoy talking politics and current events…all together.


The founding Fathers were against political parties, only they called them ‘factions’. Washington, Jefferson, Madison, even Hamilton was of this opinion.

Of course, there is an antidote for elitism at all levels of political hierarchy, and that is to become involved and organize with others of like sentiment. The first step to success is showing up.


Not surprising given our District 3 Democrat poster child, Mr. “waste-of-skin” Adam Hill.


The mind-numbed folks who have voted for the GOP and Dems may be figuring out that these two parties don’t represent their constituents.

The so-called Republican leaders have absolutely no backbone and represent nothing, while Democratic politicians are all about growing the government and pity the fool who gets in the way.

It’s all about the Establishment – the political class versus regular citizens. Independent voters are gaining, which tells you simply folks are sick-and-tired of not being heard. When voters understand they no longer matter with the political elites, then maybe change can occur … but don’t hold your breath.


The bottom line is that we have a 2 party system. If you don’t vote for the candidate/party that best represents your ideals then you end up not voting in most cases. The issue is that everyone seems to expect political purity, meaning, someone that represents their opinion in every way. It will never happen. As I conservative, I cringe every time I hear the likes of Hannity, Levine, Beck screeching about Republicans being RINOs when they don’t vote 100% in lock step with their point of view. I have seen it on the Democrat side as well with good men and women (think Joe Liberman) being excluded.


I agree with your general comments about political purity even if I disagree about Joe Lieberman being “good.”


Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont…independent, holds a national Town Hall call-in program EVERY WEEK on the Thom Hartmann Show. He listens to everyone and respectfully answers…even when he may disagree with their viewpoint.

Bernie is now running for president…as a Democrat, because that is the only system in place currently for it to be possible.

Don’t listen to the pundits. Check out his website: for his positions on the important issues and how many you agree with.

Rich in MB

It’s not a Democrat thing as much as a Politician Thing.

The voters are done with the Team Sports BS of my guy good….your guy bad.

We have sniffed out that BOTH sides and parties are BAD and not making decisions in the best interest of the people….it’s all about Politics and nothing about reality!

Of course left wing Liberalism doesn’t work, but that’s not what people are pissed off about.

It’s the slime nature of politicians that is causing people to register as Independent.

People know the game is rigged….Dems….Repubs…they are just twins from the same mother…and she is a whore.

Mike Byrd

Of course the Citizens United ruling went a long way towards making the parties as we’ve known them obsolete.


What if they held an election and nobody came?

I believe that we are headed in that direction. There has been no politician worthy of my vote in approximately 20-years and with Jeb Bush v Hillary on the horizon who will turn out? Not me.


So voter apathy is how you respond? Hmmm…


Don’t discourage the stupid from abstaining.


So when confronted with voting for one of two idiots, you choose one of the idiots rather than obtain? That’s insanity. Actually it’s only the stupid people who now vote. How do you think gwb and bho became president of the United States with Hillary on deck. Come on.


Wrong, it’s the stupid and ignorant that do not vote.

Then there are those who cut off there noses to spite everyone. It’s a form of schoolyard bullying “play my chosen game or I wont let anyone play at all”.

Idiots, just like Paul and Cruz, hate America because they don’t get our way.


People will come. It’s just people like you who will miss the vote, then complain about how bad the people who got elected are. Clear thinking.


Not many good people are willing to face the brutality of the democrat mainstream media.


Nor are good people willing to believe the bollocks that get’s posted in the comments by the little teddy cruz “screw America, start over” crazy fan club.

No solutions, just complaints.

Rich in MB

Which is a Great Thing!

This is the real reasons the Establishment hates the Affirmation of Freedom in the Citizens United Case. The establishment doesn’t want folks and groups having a say…they want to keep the power for themselves.


Are you talking about those groups of inbred billionaires having ‘a say’ that neutralizes the freedom of speech of millions …most often the majority ?

Or are you siding with the supremacy of the 5 ( count ’em, 5 ! ) lobbyist bagmen on the Supreme Court that negates the powers and liberties of the entire populous in favor of their plutocrat paymasters ?

Masters of Group Unthink ….Suckers United.

Rich in MB

Citizens United isn’t the problem….the Citizens ARE.

If I want to form a PAC with my friends, it’s my Constitutional Right to do so…just as it is the Constitutional Right of the Koch Brothers, George Soros, or anyone else.

Why does the left fear free speech so much?

Is it because they can’t compete in it?


Are you aware that your second sentence almost totally contradicts your first one which has an internal lie as well.


Rich in MB:

“Of course left wing Liberalism doesn’t work, … ”

Say what? You honestly believe that working to ensure justice for all, pushing to make it easier to vote so more people will participate, that keeping watch on corporate malfeasance, and making sure that the sick and disabled are taken care of are all “bad things” ?

Without “left wing Liberalism”, there would be no worker protection laws, no laws prohibiting children from working when they should be in school, no oversight on food safety, keeping watch on polluting industries, no incentives for alternative energy sources, and so on and on.

I am curious as to exactly what it is you believe that is “left wing Liberalism” that doesn’t work; care to educate anyone how it is you have come to this conclusion?


Reading the Communist Workers’ Magazines much, Bob?

Unions helping people died in 1995 when the leftists took control and now actually work AGAINST those forced to be members. Time to read something beside left-slanted college texts & the mainstream media.


Exaggerate much?

Again all complaints, no solutions.

Ted Cruz, All hat, no anything.


“Communist Workers’ Magazines” ; um, dude (or dudette, as the case may be), I’ve never even seen such a publication. Or are you inferring that all workers are Communists? Is it your assertion that anyone who works for a company, anyone who works for someone else, anyone who does not own their own business or maybe they are a trust-fund baby or received an inheritance is somehow, in your apparently warped mind, a Communist? What is your obsession with Communism anyway? I don’t think that there is more than a small handful of people living in the United States that would advocate for full-on, true, absolute communism. The state owning everything, the state determining most decisions, the state providing for everyone, and no one, and I do mean no one, owning anything of any value. Is that what you honestly believe is happening? If so, you are truly deluded. The only “true” (or pure) communism that has ever actually functioned in the world for any length of time are the kibbutz in Israel. The former Soviet Union, China, North Korea and to a degree, Cuba, have all been totalitarian regimes that used the term “communism”, but were (or are) NOT actually communists.

I have no desire to take away any of your possessions and I certainly don’t want to have anyone take away mine, nor do I want the government making most of the decisions for me. It isn’t going to happen, so stop obsessing about Communism. You really should be more concerned that we are all going to be serfs for the upper 1/10th of the top one percent who own most of the world …