Mitzelfelt’s Departure Closes Out Last Vestige Of Postmus Regime

(October 4) WRIGHTWOOD—Brad Mitzelfelt, the last vestige of the Bill Postmus Political Machine that rocketed meteorically into political dominance over San Bernardino County and bestrode the political landscape like a colossus until it collapsed in scandal and disrepute, has ended his earlier announced intent to mount a political comeback and has left California for the greener grass of Kentucky.
As late as last month, Mitzelfelt was monitoring the viability of a run for state Assembly. He had retained a fair-sized political campaign war chest despite a resounding defeat when he had vied for Congress in 2012. He and his coterie of remaining political supporters were staking their hopes on incumbent 33rd Assemblyman Tim Donnelly undertaking a run for governor in 2014, leaving an opportunity open for Mitzelfelt to seek election  in the heavily Republican-leaning district Donnelly represents.
But recent events and developments auger against Donnelly seeking to take up residence in the Governor’s Mansion, and when Mitzelfelt was offered a position as a contract public affairs spokesperson with the U.S. Department of Energy, he abandoned his current political aspirations in the Golden State. He will need to move to Kentucky to accept the Department of Energy assignment.
After serving in the Marine Corps in the capacity of a public spokesman during the Gulf War, he returned to civilian life and enrolled at Redlands University, where he studied business and management. There he made the acquaintance of Bill Postmus, who was studying business to prepare himself to own and operate a hair salon.
Mitzelfelt convinced the young Postmus, who at that point was rebelling against his sheriff’s lieutenant father’s conservative world view, to embrace the ideology of the Republican Party and advance himself. Soon, with two other young Republicans – Keith Olberg and Tad Honeycutt – Postmus and Mitzelfelt founded the High Desert Young Republicans and found positions on the staffs of Republican state legislators such as Jim Brulte and Kathleen Honeycutt, Tad’s mother. Later, Olberg would successfully run for the Assembly himself. In the late 1990s, the High Desert Young Republicans became a political force to be reckoned with. In 2000, with Mitzelfelt directing his campaign, Postmus succeeded in ousting incumbent First District Supervisor Kathy Davis, herself a Republican who had made herself vulnerable by associating too closely with Democrats.
Postmus named Mitzelfelt as his chief of staff and together they fashioned a political dynasty. Both were elected to the San Bernardino County Central Committee and in time Postmus became that organization’s chairman. At roughly the same time, Postmus was elevated to the position of chairman of the board of supervisors. The duo pushed conservative causes and solicited hefty donations from party members to be used in promoting conservative causes and Republican candidates. In 2006, Postmus, while he was still chairman of both the board of supervisors and the county GOP, successfully ran for county assessor. After he left the board to become assessor, he effectively lobbied his former colleagues on the board to appoint Mitzelfelt to replace him as First District supervisor. In 2008, Mitzelfelt stood for election on his own and was elected to the First District supervisor’s post, representing most of the desert area in the county, in his own right.
At that point, the political machine Mitzelfelt and Postmus had constructed appeared invincible. Shortly thereafter, however, it all came crashing down when the ostensibly Christian-fundalmentalist, family values-oriented, right wing Postmus was revealed to be a homosexual who had become addicted to methamphetamine and inhalants. He was forced to resign as assessor after a political patronage investigation into the assessor’s office resulted in the serving of search warrants at his county office and his condominium, at which drugs and drug paraphernalia were found.
Mitzelfelt managed to hang on to his board position in the aftermath of Postmus’ demise, but he became a politically wounded animal as a result of the questions about his knowledge of and complicity in Postmus’s misrepresentation of himself. Mitzelfelt then inflicted upon himself further damage when he supported Cadiz, Inc.’s plan to extract millions of acre feet of water from the East Mojave Desert and convey it to Orange County for use there. In 2012, he vied for Congress in the newly formed 8th Congressional District, but was soundly defeated.
More recently, Mitzelfelt said he was exploring running for the spot Donnelly holds, but he has now abandoned that effort.

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