Vidak Victory Needs More Vetting
The California Republican Party scored an upset victory in the Central Valley. Andy Vidak won a state senate seat in a two-to-one Democratic district. More voters need to hear about it!
By Arthur Christopher Schaper | September 10, 2013
Hanford resident and cherry famer Andy Vidak won an upset political victory for the Republican Party and California residents in the Central Valley earlier this year. In a special election for the 16th state senate district in the Bakersfield, Vidak reached to a heavily agrarian, Hispanic community, beating back Democrat Leticia Perez, a Kern County Supervisor.
This race was significant because a generational farmer won in a district with a two-to-one Democratic registration advantage (44—22). This race further proves that the Republican Party is hardly out of luck, or out of the loop, but that a well-entrenched, coordinated effort on the part of party leaders and volunteer activists can take back California from the Democratic supermajority currently in power in Sacramento.
July 23rd proved to be the beginning of a Republican Renaissance in the state of California, yet few media outlets reported on the election, and fewer Republicans (let alone independent and Democrats) have been paying attention.
How did this seat open up, and what followed? And why haven't more people heard about it?
Earlier this year, reports surfaced detailing that State Senator Michael Rubio (D-Bakersfield) was resigning his seat to work as a lobbyist for Chevron. A moderate Democrat who favored businesses and resisted taxes, Rubio's departure might have opened up room for a more liberal Democrat to join the State senate President Darrel Steinberg's supermajority. Despite reports of improprieties with the Chevron corporation as reason for his resignation, Rubio left office without must fanfare and opened up an opportunity for the Republican Party to chip away at the unprecedented Democratic supermajority.
As soon as I found about this opportunity n early February, I contacted a Republican Party operative in Sacramento, who sensed that the district was not winnable. Disconcerting, to say the least. I then called a Republican media activist, who told me that the seat may be winnable, even though the Republican was facing a double-digit to take the seat. The cynicism of some party consultants is very discouraging, yet the sentiment did not last.
At the time, I was receiving emails and mailers to endorse the next Republican Party chairman, including one gentleman from the Glendora region. I shared that I would be more than happy to support his chairmanship if he could whip up support and take back state senate district 16, a means of creating competition and demonstrating excellence with networking and communications. We had trouble identifying the full boundaries of the district, yet ultimately he figured this race into his campaign.
Like most operatives in the state, the candidate whom I had contacted did not know open the special election opportunity in the Central Valley. This lack of communication within party leaders and local activists has become the main liability to a strong, vibrant Republican Party in the state of California.
Former Assemblyman and state senator Jim Brulte won the chairmanship, with a commitment to increase registration and strengthen the party's standing in spite of the recent supermajority win for the California Democrats.
He made the state senate district race a high priority, reaching out to voters and volunteers throughout the state.
The primary was a close call, one which Hanford cherry farmer Vidak nearly won, so closely that Perez had conceded, then rescinded. Vidak mounted a strong run-off campaign, stressing local issues, including the regulatory burdens hurting Central Valley farmers. He spear-headed heated opposition to the California bullet train boondoggle, which will force generational farmers off their land through eminent domain. But the most galvanizing issue for Valley residents was the water issue, and Vidak tapped into this frustration to win the run-off by six points in a two-to-one Democratic district.
Not money, not fliers, but a lot of hard-working volunteers pulled of this wonderful upset. Phone banks throughout Southern California were whipping up the vote in the 16th state senate district. The organization and coordination of all these efforts paid off in full. Yet to this day, I still meet and greet with Republicans and conservative independents who have no idea that there was a special election race in the Central Valley, and more importantly that a Republican took the seat in a heavily Democratic and Hispanic constituency. At least the Los Angeles Times reported on the Vidak victory, but still this contest has received too little vetting.
Of course, the California Democratic Party would like to suppress this victory, and certainly keep future Republicans from learning key lessons from the Vidak Victory:
1. A candidate with strong identity (knows who he is) and identification (whom the voters know) will do well in any race.
2. A candidate who not only understands local issues, but can articulate them based on head knowledge and experience
3. Candidates who amass ground-swelling support and grass-roots initiative can overtake any registration/special interest advantage.
The California Republican Party does not have to change its voice, or alter its values, but rather strengthen the communication among volunteers, operatives, and activists throughout the state. The Vidak Victory needs more vetting, CA GOP. Learn from this election win, and take back your state!
Comments to date: 10. Page 1 of 1. Average Rating:
3:24pm on Monday, September 30th, 2013
Vidak Victory Needs More Fact Checking. Republicans outnumber Democrats 3 to 2 in District 16. Republicans have 45 percent of the registered voters compared to the Democrats 30 percent registered voters. Contrary to this article, the district is majority white at 52 percent versus the Latino 35.7 percent. I would say that Vidak got politically clobbered and barely won a race he should have dominated. I guess everybody should be asking why Leticia Perez came dangerously close to beating Vidak when Vidak had so much more support.
Please check your facts. If the Republicans are looking toward the future, they will replace Vidak with a Latino Republican than is more believable or some other Republican that can appeal to people outside the party. Come on, Vidak won 52 percent of the vote in a district that is 52 percent white and 45 percent Republican. And that is after promising amnesty to illegal aliens. I think people see Vidak for what he is, that is why he almost lost a race that should have been a sure thing.
11:31am on Wednesday, September 25th, 2013
What is the truth to you? The truth to me is his voting record. He wants lots of cheap labor, water for his ranch, doesn't care about increasing minimum wage, votes to protect pedophiles over victims. He would have to actually help people to be effective. He can say all he wants, until he effectively helps these people, he just another politician interested in his own image and agenda. Big Hat, No Heart.
Arthur Christopher Schaper
2:33pm on Sunday, September 22nd, 2013
I regret your insistence on not recognize the truth of this matter.
Legislation must hold all criminals accountable, not just those in the private sector. Mr. Stone, if you care about all kids, as you claim to, then pressure all legislators to present legislation which will extend statute of limitations on all institutions, public and private.
7:37am on Saturday, September 21st, 2013
Just because you don't like the truth, you label it as invidious.
Step on the necks of victims and the poor, then prepare for truthful remarks you may not like.
For the record, maybe you should point out what you think I am lying about. People please, don't be an invidiot; don't support the guy who supported the pedophiles.
7:19am on Saturday, September 21st, 2013
Sure, Vidak wants to help all kids, thats why he voted to help no kids. Vidak should also feed all children by feeding no children. The fact is, Vidak voted to protect pedophiles and voted against the recent minimum wage increase in California. Perhaps this was also his special way of looking out for the weak in his district. All Hat, No Heart. Andy Vidak isn't interested in protecting children, public or private. The proof is in the pudding. Check his voting record; always aligned with the rich: cheap labor, cheap water,protect pedophiles (and especially the institutions that shuffled them from school to school.)How does Vidak feel about Sandusky? Maybe Vidak should propose a bill to release the few pedophiles we have in custody, because Vidak wants to protect all of the children, not just some.
This is just another callous issue you and Vidak will overcome, regardless of how many victims you step on to sell your paper or get elected.
Arthur Christopher Schaper
10:14am on Monday, September 16th, 2013
I finally got in touch with Vidak's office and received an anwer. He voted against Senate Bill 131 because the bill extended the statute for private and non-profit agencies only, not for public schools or other institutions.
Vidak wants to protect all kids, not just the ones harmed in private institutions.
Your invidious remarks about Vidak are reprehensible and false.
Arthur Christopher Schaper
5:50pm on Thursday, September 12th, 2013
How can you possibly insinuate such arguments about Vidak? Every voter should care about all three in this order: child victims, supermajorities, bullet trains.
Our youth are victimized by this tax and spend supermajority, one which just passed legislation permitting individuals of decided genders to choose the bathroom which they use in public schools. We have to be very careful about extending the statute of limitations, for fear of federal lawsuits. I am going to call Vidak's office and find out why he voted against that bill.
7:07am on Thursday, September 12th, 2013
Where are the "family values" in letting pedophiles run rampant in California? I thought his Vidak's dad was Superintendent of Education somewhere. I guess I care more about child victims than bullet trains or supermajorities. That doesn't make me a liar.
Arthur Christopher Schaper
4:45pm on Wednesday, September 11th, 2013
Your invidious remark is a lie.
Vidak represents the interests of Central Valley voters, and every voter who wants an end to the Bullet Train to Billions Wasted, among other nonsensical Democratic Supermajority projects.
2:45pm on Wednesday, September 11th, 2013
Vidak seems to care about water, he doesn't care about children. He just voted against SB 131 to try to protect pedophiles from lawsuits. If I had a cherry orchard, I'd vote for Vidak. But if you have children, you might want to support someone who prioritizes people instead of cherries. Vote for anybody but Vidak. Anybody.