Capitol Alert

Ax falls on Assembly Republican staff after California election losses

The state Capitol dome glows in the early evening. Four Sacramento-area seats in the Legislature are on the Nov. 6 ballot.
The state Capitol dome glows in the early evening. Four Sacramento-area seats in the Legislature are on the Nov. 6 ballot. AP file

It was a tough election year for California Republicans. Among the low-lights for the party were historic Democratic advantages in the Legislature.

The latest blow to the party came Thursday when Assembly Republicans eliminated 17 positions, most of which were occupied.

Jim Stanley, a spokesman for the caucus, confirmed the cuts and said there are no immediate plans for additional staffing reductions. He pointed to the midterm losses as the cause, saying the party has less money to spend for workers.

“Everyone’s disappointed,” Stanley said. “It was a tough election, but there’s not a whole lot you can do beyond just keeping your head down and plugging away.”

In an unlikely upset, Sanger Democrat Melissa Hurtado beat Republican incumbent Andy Vidak in California's 14th Senate District.

Assembly GOP leadership determined who got laid off, Stanley said. Among the losses were a few responsible for minority outreach and social media management.

“The cuts were spread across the caucus,” he added. “There were some in our policy shop, some in member services, some in communications. It was a decision made by leadership. It was a very hard decision.”

Republican consultant Mike Madrid called the cuts “demoralizing” and said the state’s Republican Party is “not really relevant.” He said he spoke with about 15 people working in the Capitol who have recently faced struggles, either personally or professionally.

“The morale piece is the most personally heartbreaking piece,” Madrid said. “A lot of people want to give back through public service, and these options have become increasingly eliminated.”

Stanley said the cuts do not reflect job performance.

“Nobody on either side of the aisle wanted to do this,” Stanley said. “This is not the Democrats spiking the football. This is just an unfortunate reality. It’s not a reflection on the people that we lost.”

Bryan Anderson is a political reporter for The Bee. He covers the California Legislature and reports on wildfires and transportation. He also hosts The Bee’s “California Nation” podcast.
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