This morning when advising the Speaker of the House on how to talk to the people who are needed to win elections for the GOP I invoked Gabriel Gomez.  A name some of you might not know.

Mr. Gomez was the candidate for the Senate Seat vacated by John Kerry.  He has a great personal story and was absolutely loved by the national party due to this ancestry. However his positions on everything from amnesty to guns didn’t inspire the base and when it came to be election day Mr. Gomez not only failed to rally the base, but didn’t draw any of the Hispanic vote against the whiter than white bread a nice enough fellow, but whose positions neither inspired the base nor attracted Hispanic voters when the time care.

Right now a similar situation is going on in California in the race for Governor.

In California’s primary system the two candidates finishing 1st & 2nd run for the office regardless of party.

In the latest PPIC poll there are two GOP candidates who draw support in the Polling Former Lieutenant Governor Abel Maldonado and State Rep Tim Donnelly.

Maldonado is running a campaign that might sound familiar to people who remember the Gomez race:

Former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado, unveiling his new campaign for California governor Saturday, will challenge Democrat Jerry Brown as a pro-gay marriage, pro-choice and pro-growth Republican who vows to reach millions of Hispanic voters “who come from where I come from.”

and on Illegal immigration it will sound REALLY familiar

  “I’m upset that we can’t get it done. Because I’m the son of a field worker who came here with a temporary work permit looking for a better life…his son became the Lt. Governor of California. How can I not support comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship?”

*On a new law permitting driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants: “It had to be done, because Washington couldn’t get the job done. The right way to do it is comprehensive immigration reform, then no state has to go out there with piecemeal (laws).”

Meanwhile Tim Donnelly is taking a different path not running from either his 100% pro-life rating saying he is “proudly pro-life”  or his 0% rating from Equality California saying on Gay Marriage:

Marriage is not in the Constitution…I don’t believe the government should have anything to do with it.”

“I personally believe that marriage is a sacred covenant between one man and one woman, ordained by God. And it belongs in the church.”

He is not shy about his positions and expressed them forcibly in a conference call this week:  Strongly pro-2nd Amendment, opposes illegal immigration and rather than race focusing instead on issues like the budget “The mythical budget surplus hasn’t produced anything for the average person.” and financial issues that have stuck him and millions of voters “My 401 k turned into a 201k then a 101k then a zero k
So we pretty much have two different republicans directions in California, Donnelly  not shy about taking positions consistent with the GOP base, Maldonado on the path suggested by the MSM by taking positions more consistent with Democrats in a blue state.

Let’s see how that’s working out:

The latest PPIC poll is out and Governor Jerry Brown has 49% of likely voters approving his job performance with 38% disapproving with 13% undecided. As far as his personal fallibility of 46% with an unfavorable rating of 40%.

Of those likely voters 47% will vote for him in the primary including 50% of Latinos.

While it isn’t a good sign for a sitting governor and a man with decades of the name recognition that he has to be under 50%. 47% is more than enough to secure one of the two top spots in a primary.

How about that other spot?  Well California being as blue a state as it is, the pundits in the MSM and everyone else would expect Mr Maldonado to be easily outpolling Mr Donnelly particularly among the 50% of Latinos still up for grabs.

You would be wrong:

As you might guess for a state rep 15% of the voters have never heard of him and 70% have yet to form an opinion. but among those who know him his rating is pretty much a wash 7% favorable vs 8% unfavorable. Interestingly when broken down by party Donnelly is +3 among Republicans and only at a net -1 among Democrats.

He is currently getting 16%  of the primary vote.

Well that certainly can’t compare with a former Lt. Gov who is Hispanic , supports gay marriage, immigration reform and drivers licenses for illegal aliens in a blue state, can it?

Apparently it can:

Maldonado is only drawing 7% of the vote a full 9 points behind Donnally but when you break it down it gets worse for him.

Maldonado draws a full 14% less of the White Vote than Donnally and 9% less of the independent vote but the greatest embarrassment is that among Latinos Donnally out polls him by a 2-1 margin!

Mind you the only Latino who has held a higher office in the state is José Antonio Romualdo Pacheco who was governor in 1875.

How can this be? Maldonado as you might guess is better known, a full 14% more voters have an opinion on him than Donnelly unfortunately for him it appears familiarity breeds contempt.

Only 10% of voters have a favorable opinion of him against 19% who have an unfavorable one.

Among Republicans the gap is 9% favorable vs 23% unfavorable (a net -14 a full 17 pts. worse than Donnelly).  His more liberal positions aren’t helping among Democrats with a rating of 9% favorable vs 12% (-3).  Among independents it’s worse only 5% of independents view him favorable light vs 26% who don’t (-21 rating)! and democrats.

Amazingly Maldonado is known by almost twice as many independents that Donnelly yet the percentage of overall independents who view him favorable is two points lower. That’s a gigantic embarrassment,

at least it would be if he didn’t have a -7 rating among Latinos 10% favorable vs 17% unfavorable.

So what has Tim Donnelly a figure that has been attacked by some in the party figured out that the GOP Establishment and his critics have not?  Easy:

Running as Democrat light doesn’t win over voters!  If voters want a democrat or a liberal there is a perfectly passable specimen of the real thing on the ballot.

But if you advance conservative principles that everyone can relate to:  The economy, the 2nd amendment,  the rule of law, business regulations, issues that cut across lines of race, creed or sexual orientation, you can not only win elections but change minds.

That’s how a party change the direction of a state.  I hope someday we learn that lesson in Massachusetts…yet.

FYI Tim will be a guest on my radio show tomorrow at 12:15 PM if you want to find out more.