Raucous Riverside Republicans Unanimously Call on California Assembly Republican Leader Chad Mayes to Resign

Raucous Riverside Republicans Unanimously Call on California Assembly Republican Leader Chad Mayes to Resign

California Landmark No. 761 Mission Inn, photo by Johnwayne Stroud via wikimedia commons, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 

California Landmark No. 761 Mission Inn, photo by Johnwayne Stroud via wikimedia commons, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 

Corey Uhden, Politics Contributor

The ballroom at the Mission Inn in Riverside, California played host to the latest battle in the Republican civil war. The central committee of the Riverside County Republicans voted unanimously to call on current state Assembly Republican Leader Chad Mayes to resign and subsequently endorsed his colleague, Melissa Melendez, to take his place after she announced her intention to run for the post earlier in the evening.

The long-scheduled guest speaker at the Riverside Republican Party’s general meeting, Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez of the 67th district, lit into Mayes’ leadership with the minority leader sitting feet away, glaring at her the entire time. She assailed the current state of affairs in what she called an “unrecognizable” California and blamed Democrats’ policies for hurting the average California worker, robbing them of their safety, and jeopardizing their futures. Then, she turned to her colleague and the six other Assembly Republicans who provided the votes to pass Governor Jerry Brown and the Democrats’ bill to extend the cap and trade program three years ahead of its expiration date. Melendez lamented “it was not just the Democrat majority that did this to us,” and asked “how do Republicans make the case for being a viable alternative to Democratic candidates?” Calling on “courage of conviction,” she then announced, “I am ready and willing to be the type of leader that you’ve been asking for, one who has principles, someone who has demonstrated she will put principles ahead of prestige,” and threw her hat in the ring to become the next Assembly Republican Leader.

Mayes then had a chance to speak as well, which he used to defend his vote as a reasonable compromise in the face of what he called the threat of “Soviet-style command and control mandates” that could bring about $1.25 per gallon increases in the gas tax. The crowd was not having it. As Mayes asked his fellow southland Republicans to raise their hand several times, most just ignored him as Melendez had pre-butted most of his talking points already. When it came time to handle the business of passing a resolution to call for Assemblyman Mayes’ resignation, several attendees spoke of “betrayal” with one calling him out for accepting a bad deal when “a leader needs to be able to think outside the box.” After an impassioned speech from Riverside County Republican Chairman Jonathan Ingram, the vote was unanimous. The members then moved to endorse Melendez for the post Mayes holds.

The stunning rebuke matches that of several Republican groups across the state and is expected to affect the decision of the state Republican Party Board of Directors, which is scheduled to meet August 18 to consider calling on Mayes to resign as well. Melendez noted this statewide effort, backed by the Republican National Committee members from California, Harmeet Dhillon and Shawn Steel, has united the state’s Republican activists like nothing seen before. But the fight has only begun. Watch this space.

You can follow the author on Twitter @CACoreyU 

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