Mayes’ Defection On Key GOP Issues Spurs Spirited Opposition

Chad Mayes, the minority leader in the California Assembly, is looking to remain in place in the state’s lower legislative house beyond 2018 in the aftermath of what GOP purists consider to have been principle-betraying compromises with the Democrats during last year’s legislative session, as two Republican Party stalwarts have jumped into the primary race against him along with a long shot Democrat.
Mayes served on the Yucca Valley Town Council from 2002–2011, including two terms as mayor and was the chief of staff to Second District San Bernardino County Supervisor Janice Rutherford before he was elected to the Assembly in the 42nd District in 2014. The son of Roger Mayes, who is the pastor of Grace Community Church and one of the most influential members of the Yucca Valley Community, Chad Mayes established himself as a rock-ribbed conservative in the town of 20.000 before becoming the local representative in the state Assembly representing a wide swath of the desert including Morongo Valley and the expanse beyond that into Riverside County.
The present political reality in the state capital, where the Democrats are in firm control, has required that young Mayes reach continually across the aisle to have any hope of getting prospective legislation he sponsors passed. One such accommodation he made with the Democrats consisted of his decision last year to join a minority of Republicans in support of cap-and-trade legislation, a government regulatory program designed to limit, or cap, the total level of specific chemical by-products resulting from private business activity, primarily industrial and energy production. Many Republicans are opposed to this type of regulation. He also supported an increase to the state’s gasoline tax of roughly 63 cents per gallon, a move considered anathema to many members of the GOP.
Two Republicans, San Jacinto City Council member Andrew Kotyuk and former Palm Springs police chief Gary Jeandron, expressing dismay with Mayes’ playing footsie with the Democrats, declared their separate challenges of Mayes in the June 2018 primary. The cap and trade and gasoline tax votes are perhaps the two major issues animating them.
Simultaneously, a single Democrat, Matthew Campos, a fire commissioner from Morongo Valley, vaulted into the contest for the 42nd Assembly District position. Much to Mayes’ chagrin, Campos loudly trumpeted that he was in concurrence with Mayes with regard to the cap and trade program extension, the last thing Mayes needs to have his Republican constituents hear in the run-up to the June race. With Kotvuk and Jeandron already harping on Mayes’ accommodation of the Democratic agenda in Sacramento, Campos’ statements praising Mayes for his political courage in crossing up his own party carry the prospect of eroding Mayes’ base of support. Mayes yet possesses the advantage of incumbency, the possession of a substantial campaign war chest and the ability to raise even more political funds which can be used for mailers, handbills, doorhangers, newspaper ads, billboard space, and radio and television spots.
-Mark Gutglueck

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