BREAKING: Republican Assembly Leader Chad Mayes Replaced by Assemblyman Brian Dahle
Eric Lendrum, Politics Contributor
In the latest development in the ongoing saga of the California GOP’s civil war, Assembly Minority Leader Chad Mayes (AD-42) has just been removed from his leadership role, and replaced by Assemblyman Brian Dahle (AD-01).
Roughly a month ago, Mayes led six other Republican members of the Assembly, and one Republican State Senator, in voting for AB 398, which expanded the state’s “cap-and-trade” program. Cap-and-trade, officially referred to as “emissions trading,” is a practice in which the government institutes a certain amount of deadlines and targets for reduction of the state’s carbon emissions, in order to combat global warming. As some of the measures in question can include increased regulations and tax hikes, the cap-and-trade program is not popular among the Republican base. But nevertheless, Assembly Leader Mayes and seven other members of the CA GOP voted in favor of it, allowing it to pass through the Legislature and be signed by Governor Jerry Brown.
In the aftermath of this controversial vote, the reaction among the base was nothing short of a revolt. Nearly 20 different GOP Central Committees from counties across the state called for Mayes to resign from his leadership position. Then his leadership was directly challenged by Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez (AD-67), when she resigned from a leadership position out of protest of Mayes’ support of cap-and-trade, and then announced her intentions to run to replace him. All the while, Mayes remained adamant in his support of cap-and-trade, calling it a display of bipartisanship.
This culminated in the state board of the CA GOP voting overwhelmingly to officially call on Mayes to resign. Mayes eventually agreed to hold a leadership election among the Republican Caucus, which took place on Thursday, August 24th. In that election, Assemblyman Brian Dahle was chosen as Mayes’ replacement. Dahle has a slightly longer tenure than Mayes - while Mayes was first elected in 2014 and became Leader in early 2016, Dahle was first elected back in 2012 from the newly-drawn 1st District. Dahle is a member of several committees, including the Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials, of which he is the Vice Chair. While Mayes supports cap-and-trade, Dahle does not.
Although this seems to be the end of a significant chapter, the ongoing internal struggle of the state party - particularly the remaining seven who also supported cap-and-trade - does not show any signs of ending soon. As the party heads into the 2018 midterms hoping to overcome its “superminority” status, it will need to complete some serious soul-searching before it can be prepared to stand a chance against the Democratic machine. Assembly Leader Dahle could either be a key player in this reversal, or prove to just be another swing of the pendulum.
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