Why not vote … for me? (a guest post from Paul Martin)

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Paul Martin is a Republican running a long shot race to replace Dana Rohrabacher as our congressman. He wrote me an interesting e-mail the other day. I asked if he’d be OK with my printing it here.

He agreed.

Hi Jeff …

I’ve been reading your comments about the race. I don’t gloat in the predicament the Democrats find themselves in. As I told you when we met a few months ago, I’d rather see one of the Democrats than Dana.

He has no business representing our nation.

But I agree with you: A Democrat can’t win unless a bunch of candidates drop out. And that’s clearly not going to happen.

I believe a vote for one of the Democrats is a vote for Robrabacher or Baugh.

Here’s why.

The 2016 primary (a Presidential primary which is always has a larger turnout) had 71,000 Democrats and 93,000 Republicans voting, respectfully. So let us assume 85,000 Democrats will vote in the June primary. (I’ve run this number by three well respected national consultants/polling experts, and all three, based on history and recent national turnout, think the number is too high.)

In any case, divide the 85,000 votes by the 7 viable Democrat candidates, perhaps giving one frontrunner 30%, which would be quite a feat. That candidate would get 25,500 votes. I realize that any of those Democrat candidates or supporters reading this firmly believe they/their candidate will be the exception and get 40% or higher. Of course, this is part of the reason none of them will get out. Or let’s give two of the candidates 35%. Each would receive 29,750 votes.

The Republicans will have around 100,000 voting in June. You have an incumbent and a OC GOP insider. Both with money. Both with expertise. Both incredibly connected. Then there a few other far right-wing candidates.

I imagine something like this. Baugh gets 35,000 votes, Dana gets 40,000. Or vice versa. I know you’ve done the math.

Then you have me.

The centrist candidate called a “liberal” every day of the week by right-wingers who read my tweets and blog.

The candidate who was encouraged last summer by a former Obama senior staffer to enter this race because, as he said, it’s a moderate Republican district and I’d have a unique voice versus Rohrabacher or someone who shares most of that far-right pro-Trump ideology.

Given the math above, I think the Democrats might consider asking themselves one of those “lesser of evils” questions. Namely, “Who would you rather have as your Congressman, Dana Rohrabacher, Scott Baugh, or Paul Martin?

Hey, I get how disgusted Democrats are with the GOP. Trust me, I’m lambasted daily for being “one of them” You should see my Twitter feed, just today.

But I’m not one of them.

So what am I then? When voters ask, I sometimes answer by asking them to google the words “Liberal Republican Nelson Rockefeller.”

But I usually tell them that no Democrat in this race has fought as hard for the social issues they care so much about.

I ask them to take a closer look at my background:

• I’ve devoted most of my professional/executive life to non-profit organizations ranging from the March of Dimes to homelessness prevention agencies, to working with at-risk teens, well before I dreamed of running for public office.

• Since 2015, I’ve written a blog, paulosophia.com, where I have castigated the racist, misogynist, and xenophobic speech and policies of Trump and the GOP. Just one example is my post Making America White Again which was in response to racist rhetoric coming from Trump, and bigotry I saw in our local community. I also reflect on my father’s challenges being a Mexican growing up with segregated schools here in Orange County, and my mother’s challenges as an Italian immigrant.

• In response to Trump’s “Travel Ban” (which I have often referred to as a “Muslim Ban”), I launched a peacebuilding campaign early last year called The Christian Muslim Alliance christianmuslimalliance.com with support from friends including Reza Aslan, Hussam Ayloush, Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and other progressive Muslims. During that campaign, I was featured in a number of media channels including this short episode on Trump’s bigotry in UpWorthy.

• I host a podcast, whypartisan.com with my friend and Costa Mesa resident Kristen Howerton. It started as a weekly Facebook live event during the presidential primaries in 2016. We talk about social justice, and the intersection of race, religion, and public policy, in a format that is accessible to all voters. Kristen is a self-proclaimed socialist, and also a well-known mom blogger who writes on racism (largely because of hate she has experienced firsthand because of her two black adopted sons). We agree, often and I am criticized by Republicans for “agreeing with her too much.”

• For years, I have written and spoken about the need for gun control, about wage disparity, and about other issues that groupthink Republicans don’t like to talk about.

I also ask them to take a closer look at my positions, during the campaign:

• I inform them that I speak frequently and strongly about Rohrabacher’s betrayal of country and human rights abuses at campaign events, on social media, and most recently in The Observer, NPR, Forbes Magazine, and The Beat with Ari Melber on MSNBC (forthcoming).

• I share with them that I am working closely with many who are “in the trenches” regarding Russia. For example, this week, I will be in New York City meeting with other activists, media, academics, and other influencers who are intricately involved in working to end the human rights abuses of Putin, via sanctions and other methods.

• I remind them that though I’m a Republican, people like Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, see my activism and enthusiastically support my voice. (Shannon has helped me in my work and has retweeted me for standing up to the NRA.)

• I ask them to visit the “Conviction” page of my campaign website. These videos are a way for me to share my unfiltered views on guns, DACA, homelessness, etc., oftentimes to the chagrin of people in my own party.

• I tell them that the values I espouse are far bigger than any political party and that I’ve lost friends and family by speaking up for them.

• I try to convince them I have a far louder and effective voice from within the Republican Party. The proof is that Republicans are listening to my message, locally, and nationally.

A few last thoughts.

I’ve told some Democrats recently that while Scott Baugh is clearly not an acceptable choice for them, should he slay the giant, at least we will have someone loyal to the interests of our great nation, as opposed to our greatest foreign adversary.

I can’t count how many lifelong progressives are donating to my campaign, volunteering, etc. It’s humbling. For every one of them, there are countless Independents and moderate Republicans that, like the Obama staffer had said, thrilled to finally have a centrist alternative.

Like you, like the countless local and national pundits who write about how the Democrats are splitting the vote, like local Democrat leaders including Fran Sdao — my Democrat supporters believe the vote will be split, and fear that two Republicans will advance.

So instead of rolling the dice, they are endorsing my campaign.

Here’s a comment I received from a very progressive millennial recently on Facebook:

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Like I said when we first met, I’d rather have one of the Democrats than Dana. He is utterly unacceptable.

But, like many including yourself, the numbers don’t add up.

I include my official Candidate Statement below. Yes, I want to reform the Republican Party. And I’m working to bring that about, even if those crazies on the far right keep calling me a “liberal.”



Paul Martin, Republican

I want to reform the Republican Party. Because for decades, GOP bureaucrats have failed us. They have politicized serious issues that affect all Americans. Today, the GOP has an identity problem. In order to stay relevant, the party must change.

I am a pro-growth strong fiscal conservative who will work for lower taxes and a smaller federal government. President Reagan’s axiom “peace through strength” is my guideline for national security. I will stand-up to Russian president Vladimir Putin and any other enemies of America who attempt to undermine our democracy and freedoms.

But protecting children through common sense gun safety, advocating for a cleaner planet so we can all breathe clean air and enjoy clean water and coastlines, and working to help prevent rising homelessness — these are not “liberal” issues. And though I am a lifelong gun owner, I am willing to confront the NRA — our moral duty is to protect our children. I will also defend the rights of seniors, the underemployed, minorities, the poor, and younger voters.

I have worked as a businessman, philanthropist, Christian pastor, and writer. I have always championed values of personal responsibility, compassion for those in need, and a belief that all share a calling to make our world a better place.

I am an Orange County native and lifelong Republican. I hold a B.A. from UCLA and an M.A. from Biola University. I am happily married to Gina. We live in Costa Mesa with our 5 amazing children, ages 22, 19, 18, 17 and 16.

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