Jim Brulte


By Jerry Roberts and Phil Trounstine
January 11, 2013

Now that Jim Brulte has nailed down the imprimatur of Jon Fleischman, the avatar of California’s right wing, the coast is clear for the former legislative leader to run for and win the chairmanship of the California Republican Party without noisy grunting from the Neanderthals who have long held sway over the party.

Brulte won’t make a formal announcement of his candidacy for party chairman until at least sometime next week, after he has completed talking to every California Republican in the House, state Senate and Assembly – a few of whom he still has to reach.

But Brulte has told people he’ll be seeking election to party chairman and he has studiously avoided talking to the news media about it. What he has made clear to those he’s spoken to is that he will have one simple goal: to rebuild the California Republican Party from an operational standpoint.

Calbuzz wanted to discuss with Brulte his personal views on immigration, abortion, the split roll, gay marriage and the whole concept of compromise and deal making. But alas, Brulte won’t go there. Not yet anyway.

Of course, his legislative record in the 14 years he served in the Assembly and Senate on these kinds of issues is fairly unambiguous: he’s pro-life (ahough since he doesn’t endorse shooting abortion doctors he’s something of a moderate in the California GOP on this issue), he’s tough on illegal immigration (although we have no idea if he’d support a pathway to citizenship); he’s anti-tax and pro-Prop. 13 and he doesn’t like gay marriage.

But Brulte has always been a pragmatist, too. And if he could get something for the Republicans in exchange of allowing the Democrats something on their side, he’d make a deal. When Gray Davis was governor, for example, Brulte, then the leader of the GOP in the Senate, was not nearly as big a problem for the Democratic governor as was John Burton, the unreconstructed liberal leader of the Democrats in the Senate.

Brulte was always more interested in governing than he was in making ideological stands on issues – which made him a principled, conservative legislative leader of the ilk that’s in short supply in Sacramento these days. Oh, he’s also smart.

Unlike his immediate predecessor, current chairman Tom Del Beccaro, Brulte will be spending more time with donors and grass-roots organizers than he will on radio and TV talk shows.

He’s telling people in the GOP that he’ll set out to do three things:

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