ORANGE COUNTY, CA – Hon. Fred Whitaker, Chairman of the Republican Party of Orange County, released the following statement on the recent candidate filing in Congressional District 48.
“Over the last several days I have fielded dozens if not a hundred emails and phone calls asking why the Republican Party would allow Scott Baugh’s challenge to Congressman Dana Rohrabacher in the 48th Congressional District. Let me reiterate, we are a Republic not a dictatorship. We can persuade, but we cannot prevent, nor should we want anyone to have that type of power.
I do want to assure all Republicans that party leadership actively communicated with Scott Baugh and others that challenging an endorsed Republican incumbent in good standing would not be well held.
As I told the Orange County Register on Thursday before he filed,
“The Republican Party of Orange County and the California Republican Party have endorsed Congressman Dana Rohrabacher for re-election. The Party needs to be able to focus on saving the open seats. An intra-party challenge to an incumbent in good standing takes Republican dollars, donors and volunteers away from where our focus needs to be.’
Not only did I have a personal discussion with Mr. Baugh on Tuesday of last week, but last Thursday, over a period of only 9 hours, myself and Second Vice Chairman Tj Fuentes were able to gather almost 30 leaders in our Party for a letter that was hand delivered to Mr. Baugh asking him not to run. Please see the attached copy of the letter. Countless others continued to reach out to Mr. Baugh with the same message. Yet, on Friday, he chose to take a path to the contrary.
I greatly respect Mr. Baugh, and his past service to the Party. I would not be Chairman, but for him asking me to run to succeed him. I consider Scott to be my friend. I hope to work with him for our cause in the future. However, this path he’s taken is pitting Republican against Republican, taking dollars, donors, and volunteers from our efforts to fight Democrats. He knows, and all Republicans should know, that the reason the Party supports its incumbents is to enable it to concentrate dollars, donors, and volunteers on the seats at risk or seats we can pick up. His actions in opposition to that strategic principle, a principle he espoused when Chairman, only emboldens others to do the same thing.
Let there be no misunderstanding, the Republican Party of Orange County, its leadership and its grassroots volunteers, will continue to support our endorsed incumbents in good standing, so we can focus on the open seats. Congressman Rohrabacher has the Republican Party’s full support and endorsement for re-election.