The nominations have already been made. The two candidates to be the next Chairman of the Alameda County Republican Central Committee are Claudia Bermudez of Alameda, and Jerry Salcido of Fremont.
The former Chair, Karen Wind of Pleasanton, resigned back in March after only serving three months as the elected Chair. The committee has already held one election between Bermudez and Salcido, back on May 19th, which ended in a 16-16 tie vote.
Next Tuesday, at the monthly meeting the final vote will be held and a new Chairman will be elected to lead the Central Committee for the remainder of the 2009-2010 term. At this point it’s any body’s call. While Jerry Salcido, 31, is a relative new-comer to local politics, Bermudez is not. Her name may be recognizable to some Bay Area Republicans since she has already ran, and lost badly in two separate local races, one for Congress in 2004 and the other for State Senate in 2008.
In both campaigns Bermudez was expected to lose and lose she did; compiling only 12% of the vote in the election against Democratic Congresswomen Barbara Lee, and only 15% against Democratic State Senator, Loni Hancock. Republican voter registration numbers were nearly identical to the percentage of the vote that Bermudez received in both of her elections, showing that Bermudez’s campaigns have failed to appeal to the all important Decline to State demographic, which is crucial for Republican success in any election.
Will Bermudez, 56, finally reach the winner’s circle in her bid to become the next Chair of the Alameda County GOP? Assistant Treasurer, David LaTour, an Elected Member from Alameda County’s largest Assembly District (AD-18) expressed some doubt about Bermudez’s leadership abilities. “To lead, you need to be present! Claudia Bermudez made no effort to attend committee meetings up until she was convinced to run for Chair. Before that she was a no-show. Her candidacy was a surprise to many of the members on the committee. The truth is, we need a leader that’s there with us, who’s heart is in it because we have a lot of work to do.”
LaTour has endorsed Salcido who he says, “has shown the commitment as well as the energy that we need in the GOP now more than ever.” Salcido has also received endorsements from the majority of the leadership on the Executive Committee, which includes the Vice Chairman, Treasurer and Assistant Secretary, along with LaTour. It would appear that Salcido won’t have a problem fitting in if he were to be elected as the new Chairman.
But what about Bermudez? Can she unite a divided committee where legal actions are more common than political action? According to Parliamentarian, Dick Spees she can. In his endorsement email to fellow committee members, Spees wrote, “We are fortunate to have someone of her stature, experience and proven ability…” Some of the other members, however, were unaware of Bermudez and her hidden talents due to her lack of involvement with the committee ever since she assumed office as an Ex-Officio Member back in July of 2008. “I met Claudia [Bermudez] through the pdf file that she emailed to the committee announcing her candidacy for Chair. Before that, I knew nothing of her.” said 15th Assembly District Elected Member, Casey Fargo, who also supports Salcido for Chairman.
Dick Spees was vague, at best, in describing Bermudez in his endorsement email to fellow committee members. One can only question the legitimacy of a claim that touts Bermudez as someone with “experience” and “proven ability” when taking a look at the facts of the matter. Spees, however, is not the type to let the facts get into the way when making political decisions, or endorsements for that matter. Reflecting on Bermudez’s track record, it would appear that she is experienced in loosing local elections in landslides, and has demonstrated a proven ability to be consistent in doing so.
Is this more of what Alameda County Republicans need, repeats of 2006 and 2008 where Republicans put their names on the ballot only to run empty campaigns? Depends on who you ask. Local Democrats may be supportive of the lack of competition? They have already shown that they have Bermudez’s number dialed in, which is an undeniable fact that can’t be ignored, even by left-of-center Republican In Name Only, Dick Spees, who in the past has officially endorsedDemocratic Congresswomen Barbara Lee, who was responsible for crushing Bermudez back in 2004.
For real conservatives, this should be tough to swallow. What kind of Republican endorses Barbara Lee? Well, the same type of Republican that endorses Bermudez of course! It should be considered to be a major problem in the Party when there are Republican leaders that are willing to sacrifice principle to play pal-around with the elected majority in an effort to be popular? Is it any wonder that the GOP is in such bad shape? The Party is in desperate need of principled leaders, not followers looking to be Democrat-lite!
Ask Bermudez a simple question, and she’ll recite her favorite talking-point about her late father Enrique Bermudez, who was a military official under the Somoza dictatorship in Nicaragua that would later be installed by the CIA as the Contras’ top military (puppet) commander of the Nicaraguan Democratic Force (FDN). Bermudez will tell you that her father was a key figure during the fight in the United States-led foreign interventionist nation-building excercise against Nicaragua’s Sandinista Marxist government but, she might fail to mention his involvement with drug smuggling into the United States in order to finance the anti-Sandinista operations back at home in Nicaragua.
In fact, Enrique Bermudez, according to sworn testimony, recruited Los Angeles drug kingpin Danilo Blandon, a Contra middleman, that sold cocaine to South-Central’s crack dealers in late 1981 to raise money in California for the Contras.
Don’t ask Bermudez too many direct questions though, you might not get a straight answer, if any answer at all. According to Project Vote Smart: “Ms. Claudia Bermudez repeatedly refused to provide any responses to citizens on issues through the 2004 National Political Awareness Test” during her first campaign against Lee.
Apparently, “Bermudez refused to provide this information when asked to do so by: Major News Organizations and key national leaders of both Parties including, Republican Senator John McCain.” If Senator McCain received the cold shoulder from Bermudez, what are we to expect? Well, not much different. After numerous attempts for the past four days, we were unable to get Bermudez to return our telephone calls for comment.
Who is Claudia Bermudez? Bermudez is Disappointment!
I guess some things should never be expected to change. When asked about her fund raising plan by a voting member at the May 19th meeting, Bermudez chose not to reveal her top-secret plan at that time, but did suggest that she had one ready. Eyes rolled as a “that figures” type of feeling circulated throughout the room.
Alameda County Republicans might want to get comfortable with the silent treatment from a non-responsive, do-nothing leader if Bermudez were to win Tuesday’s election. She seems to represent business as usual in the Party, and shows that the GOP doesn’t really have any new blood with any new ideas, just some more of the same ‘ol same. And we all know… that just isn’t going to cut it!
Who is Claudia Bermudez? A better question might be, Who Cares Who Claudia Bermudez Is? We suspect that the smart money is on Republican Jerry Salcido to pull out the big win in a close election that has the possibility of not only sending a defeated Bermudez into retirement once and for all, but maybe even causing a few R.I.N.O.s to go along with her. The Alameda County Republican Central Committee would be a better place, and undoubtedly more conservative.
Let the re-building begin!