DeVore Escalates War With NRSC in California Race

Posted October 22, 2009 at 2:01pm

California state Assemblyman Chuck DeVore (R) has escalated his war of words with the National Republican Senatorial Committee, citing new evidence that his campaign says shows the committee is playing favorites in the Golden State Senate primary.The DeVore campaign leapt on comments made by his potential primary rival, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, at a campaign stop Wednesday in San Diego. Fiorina, who is exploring a bid but has not declared her candidacy, told reporters: “The chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee has encouraged me to enter the race, reaffirming my belief that Chuck DeVore can not beat [Sen.] Barbara Boxer.— DeVore spokesman Josh Trevino said that contradicts previous NRSC statements that the committee is not endorsing a candidate in the race.In an e-mail that Trevino sent to NRSC Communications Director Brian Walsh and circulated to the press, he asked the committee to clarify “who is telling the truth on this matter.—It’s no secret that many Republicans in Washington think Fiorina, who has name recognition, the capacity to self-fund and more centrist political tendencies, is a more promising general election candidate. But she has not performed any better against Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) than DeVore in recent polls, and unseating a Democratic incumbent in a state like California is no easy task, no matter who the GOP’s nominee is.That does not, however, mean the NRSC has endorsed Fiorina, which Walsh reiterated in his reply e-mail to Trevino, also forwarded to reporters.“The NRSC routinely meets with potential candidates around the country, oftentimes multiple folks in various states,— Walsh said in a statement. “We believe Barbara Boxer is way out of step with mainstream America and her poll numbers make clear she is vulnerable. If there are qualified candidates who want to challenge her that is a good thing.—But the distinction between endorsing and recruiting bears less of a distinction out in the states than it does in Washington, D.C. And the party has generated a backlash among local activists in states like Florida and New Hampshire, as well as California, with the perception that it is meddling in primaries to the benefit of more moderate, but potentially more electable, candidates.The NRSC, however, says it is happy to sit down with viable candidates across the spectrum. For example, it has met twice with Marco Rubio, a conservative candidate taking on Florida Gov. Charlie Crist in the state’s GOP Senate primary.The NRSC has not met with DeVore, though there are differing accounts as to why that is. Trevino cited an attempt by the campaign to reach out to the NRSC in August, in which the campaign e-mailed the committee about a call that it was hosting with GOP online activists to discuss former Rep. Pat Toomey’s Pennsylvania Senate bid. The DeVore campaign asked the NRSC about setting up a similar call in California, but in his words, “they demurred.— “Since then, it has become crystal clear that the NRSC is 100 percent behind Fiorina’s candidacy, raising the question of whether there is pragmatic utility in further outreach to them. If and when the NRSC wants to work with us, we await them with open arms,— Trevino told Roll Call in an e-mail.DeVore, meanwhile, told CNN on Wednesday that “he has not made any effort to meet with national Republican officials because he knows who the NRSC is supporting and doesn’t want to provide them with ‘valuable intelligence that they would simply pass on to Carly Fiorina.’—