Politics Blog
By Joe Garofoli
Monday, January 14, 2013

The worst kept secret in California politics will be revealed Monday night in San Diego when former state senator Jim Brulte officially announces his campaign to be state party chair before a gathering of the San Diego GOP. Yes, we know we told you about all this weeks ago. The chair election will be in March at the state GOP convention in Sac, but the field is essentially cleared and it’s Brulte’s gig to take. Yeah, as we told you a while back.

Just talked to Brulte — whose choice has been lauded by Republicans from House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy on down — and asked him how long this turnaound job will take. Willie Brown told us his old Legislature rival could make progress by 2016. That was optimistic.

“A minimum of six years,” Brulte told The Chronicle. “This is a corporation that is bankrupt. There is a lot of heavy lifting that needs to be done and we all need to share in doing it.”

That’s not to say he’s kissing off the next cycle. Republicans need to “either stop the bleeding and/or start turning it around” in 2014 or Brulte said the party will be in the pits “for the rest of the decade.” The legislative supermajority gives Dems a supermajority of fundraising power that will be hard for Republicans to overcome.

Despite his transpartisan respect, Brulte told us that he won’t be a high-profile chief, pontificating on the latest public policy. He plans to be a “nuts-and-bolts,” kind of chairman.

How much of a rebuilding job is this? Brulte threw out an analogy to legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden.

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