While Republicans in Colorado are deathly afraid of Tom Tancredo winning their party’s gubernatorial nomination, Republicans in California are voicing their opposition to a similar candidate — Tim Donnelly, a former member of the Minuteman Project.
Donnelly, a Republican who once compared the defense of the US-Mexico border to “a war,” is running some 40 points behind the incumbent Governor Jerry Brown. But it’s quite likely that Donnelly will make it to the November runoff under California’s top-two primary system.
And that has state Republicans worried — even former governor Pete Wilson, aka “El Diablo” (as he is known from his Proposition 187 days).
The story of how Pete Wilson caused the near-extinction of California Republicans is well-known. As Governor, Wilson pushed the incredibly anti-immigrant Prop 187 to passage in 1994, inciting a backlash from Latino voters, who swung dramatically away from conservative candidates in the state. California has been solidly blue ever since, and Pete Wilson’s role in Meg Whitman’s 2010 campaign was a factor in costing her the Latino vote and the election.
But even “El Diablo” understands how bad Tim Donnelly would be for the California GOP and its ability to reach out to more voters — including Latinos. As Wilson warned today in a letter posted at a conservative blog:
With Tim Donnelly on the ballot, it would be a losing campaign, risking injury to our party and our state, and to other Republican candidates who deserve to win.
The California GOP isn’t the only one who needs a warning — not when Congressional Republicans have just opted to kill a military DREAMers bill that is just about the easiest thing they could pass on immigration reform. California is slightly ahead in the demographics game. But the electoral cliff is coming for the GOP nationwide if they don’t stop listening to their Steve Kings and their Tim Donnellys — and stop blocking immigration reform.