Capitol Alert

Five things you need to know about Doug Ose

Republican former Rep. Doug Ose was the seventh major candidate to enter the 2018 governor’s race. He brings the most political experience of the Republicans in the contest.

Here are five things you should know about Ose:

1. His first run for office was as a businessman. Ose was a community activist and a leader of the Citrus Heights incorporation effort before running for former Rep. Vic Fazio’s seat in 1998. Ose, then 43, owned duplex and mini-storage buildings. He opposed a higher minimum wage, arguing income should be based on productivity – and is not a government entitlement. “I'll work to hold government accountable for the money it spends, eliminate wasteful spending and make sure that taxpayers get their money's worth,” he said during the campaign.

Ose, who is married and had two young daughters at the time, ran on a pledge to serve just three, two-year terms in Washington before returning to Sacramento. He did, but caught the bug again in 2008, losing in the Republican primary to now-Rep. Tom McClintock of Elk Grove. In 2014, Ose came up short again, that time to Democratic Rep. Ami Bera.

In 2016, he became a top surrogate in California for Donald Trump.

2. Ose’s accomplishments weren’t necessarily on paper. The former congressman likes to say his value as a relative newcomer was his gift of gab. If a colleague was being difficult about an upcoming vote, Ose says he would sit with them and do some private lobbying on behalf of leadership. In the House, he voted to make permanent President George W. Bush’s tax cuts, advocating for what he considered to be a more pragmatic government through the Main Street Partnership.

He carried a measure to stop automatic pay raises for members of Congress, chaired a panel on the state energy crisis and helped lead a probe into gifts provided to Bill Clinton.

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3. He speaks his mind. In 1998, Ose slammed his opponent, Barbara Alby, for missing legislative votes, taking a junket to Hawaii and breaking a promise to release tax records to support her claim that she redirected her Assembly pay raises to charities.

In the next contested primary, Ose accused McClintock of “district shopping” far from his longtime Ventura County home; and for accepting per diem payments despite living year-round within a quick commute of the Capitol. He convinced Pete Wilson to star at a press conference in which the former governor accused McClintock of being difficult and working against the interests of fellow Republicans.

Ose’s incendiary ads against Bera in the nation’s most expensive House race in 2014 were a fixture on TV that fall. But years later, when Bera’s 83-year-old father pleaded guilty to making illegal financial contributions to his son’s political campaign, things grew even more personal.

Ose and others believe the money the congressman benefited from helped him hold onto his seat during exceedingly close elections. Ose said outside the federal courthouse that he believed the sentence was too lenient and that the younger Bera was aware of his father’s transgressions, a claim Bera and federal prosecutors later said lacked evidence.

4. Ose was with Donald Trump long before others. After his preferred candidate, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush got out of the race, Ose came out for Trump early, telling The Bee in late February, “I’m all in. I’m with the guy,” he said then. “I don’t agree with him on everything, but I think he’s the best suited for the critical challenges that I see coming our way.”

One of Ose’s GOP opponents, John Cox, voted for libertarian Gary Johnson, not Trump. The other Republican candidate, Travis Allen, was a supporter of Ted Cruz until he dropped out in May, then wrote an opinion piece published later that month in the Orange County Register urging a vote for Trump.

At the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ose helped bat down a stubborn anti-Trump effort, invoking procedural motions to deliberately derail their adversaries and making repeated motions to permanently end the debate.

“You get to a point where you say, ‘You know what, this is wrong,’” he said. “I can see the end of the line. I am done being quiet about things that I think are very important.”

5. He wants law, and order: As part of his gubernatorial campaign, Ose is focused on homelessness, crime and schools. He would put more emphasis on standardized tests to ensure students are proficient in reading, writing and math. Red tape that slows the creation and drives up the cost of housing would be slashed, he said.

He wants to build new prisons and would look to roll back a law that shifted the state’s overcrowding burden down to the county level. And he would target voter-approved measures that reduced certain crimes from felonies to misdemeanors and gave parole consideration to certain felons.

Christopher Cadelago: 916-326-5538, @ccadelago