Republicans in the California Legislature are sizing up their own campaigns now that businessman Donald Trump will be their party’s presidential nominee. And they’re hoping the old adage holds true that “all politics is local."
Neither Senate Minority Leader Jean Fuller of Bakersfield nor Assembly Minority Leader Chad Mayes of Yucca Valley have endorsed Trump yet.
Mayes, who previously endorsed Ohio Gov. John Kasich, even tweeted that he agreed with House Speaker Paul Ryan’s nonendorsement.
“I’m not at the place where I can [endorse him yet],“ Mayes told Capital Public Radio. “I think we’ll have to wait and see how he campaigns over the next couple of months.”
But both leaders say they’re committed to their legislative candidates, who will run local messages tailored to their districts.
“We decided early on, before the presidential candidates even really came to the forefront, that our candidates would be the very best people that we could find, the very best match for the district,” Fuller said.
Democrats are already signaling they’ll look to tie down-ballot Republicans to Trump. Mayes hopes voters won’t bite.
“It’s not too much of a stretch to say that a local candidate is much different than Donald Trump,“ he said, “and you need to vote on the merits of that individual candidate — and not on who’s at the top of the ticket.”
In this unprecedented election year, it’s anyone’s guess how voters will respond.
Series: California Counts
California Counts is a collaboration of KPBS, KPCC, KQED and Capital Public Radio to report on the 2016 election. The coverage focuses on major issues and solicits diverse voices on what's important to the future of California.