Politics

“A sh*tshow”: Calif. GOP leader boosted Dems in race that cost party State Senate seat

While California Republicans confront low expectations with their slate of candidates on the statewide ballot, party activists and Central California Republicans are fuming about one outcome from Tuesday’s primary election: the fourth Senate District.

The seat, a San Joaquin Valley-Sierra foothill hybrid district, boasts a 3.38 percent Republican voter registration advantage, according to California’s pre-primary voter registration statistics.

By registration, it is the fourth most-conservative registered district in the 40-member body.

However, in a shocking twist, the voters in the heavily-GOP district will be represented by a Democrat come December 2022.

The seat, which became open when Sen. Andreas Borgeas (R–Fresno) opted against running for re-election in 2022, played host to a six-way fight among Republican contenders.

By comparison, Democrats fielded two.

As reported late Tuesday night, those two candidates – Tim Robertson (D–Keyes) and Marie Alvarado-Gil (D–Amador County) – are set to vie for the seat in November, courtesy of California’s jungle primary format.

Three Republican contenders split 46.8 percent of the vote three ways.

GOP leaders in Stanislaus County held little back in expressing their displeasure at the unfortunate fate befalling the woebegone party.

“This is the nightmare scenario,” Joseph Day, chairman of the Stanislaus County Republican Party, told GVWire. “A lot of people thought that they would have a chance to win. So they jumped in, but they split the votes and that’s unfortunately what can happen.”

GOP leader’s mailer to Democrats infuriates

In an even stranger twist, the icing out of Republican contenders from the solidly Republican seat may have been sealed by efforts by the Senate GOP Leader Scott Wilk.

A wave of mailers directed at Democratic voters, sent by Wilk’s 2026 Lieutenant Governor campaign committee, pressed for voters to consolidate around Robertson, likely in the hopes of ensuring one of the six Republicans would advance.

However, one side of the mailer included comparisons of Robertson to Alvarado-Gil, including a photo of the likely November contender.

A Stanislaus County Democrat who did not wish to be identified told The Sun on Wednesday that she received three copies of the mailer in the waning days of the June Primary.

The Sun contacted Wilk’s office for comment on the strategy behind the mailer, along with the ultimate result of the 4th district. His office did not respond prior to publication.

Republicans in the north Valley, meanwhile, have privately vented at the lack of involvement and intervention by party officials to consolidate support around a single GOP contender to ensure the party held the safe seat for the next four years.

Mailers from a party leader promoting Democratic candidates, however, added insult to injury.

“With the field that crowded why would you even think about sending a mailer promoting both Democratic candidates?” one senior Sacramento Republican told The Sun on Thursday morning, challenging the strategy and musing about slimming GOP prospects in the Senate.

“It’s a total shitshow.”

Alex Tavlian is the Executive Editor of The San Joaquin Valley Sun and Executive Director of Valley Future Foundation. You can reach Alex at alex.tavlian@sjvsun.com.