In February of this year the Orange County Republican Party (“OCGOP”) voted to endorse several incumbent Congressmen for re-election. One of the incumbents seeking that endorsement was Congressman John Campbell. As an elected member of the OCGOP I was entitled to a vote and to voice my opinion on the subject. I spoke out against that endorsement and voted No.
This was the first time the OCGOP was doing endorsements for partisan offices since the passage of the terrible “Top Two Primary” of Proposition 14. Prior to passage of Prop. 14, the official party did not endorse in partisan races such as Congress. But Prop. 14 has forced the Republican Party to do so and the OCGOP is the official arm of the Party in Orange County.
The tipping point for me regarding Congressman Campbell was the December 2010 lame duck Congress’ vote to repeal the military’s policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (“DADT”) regarding active homosexuals serving in the military. Prior to this vote I was becoming troubled with Congressman Campbell’s vote in favor of TARP and Cash for Clunkers and his abstaining on the vote to bailout the auto industry. When Congressman Campbell 1st ran for Congress in a special election, I was one of those who supported him by helping him obtain the endorsement of the California Republican Assembly and walking precincts for him. Until the most recent re-districting, I lived inside Mr. Campbell’s congressional district. Seeing him vote with the lame duck Democrats for the repeal of DADT was a shock and disappointment.
As a former U.S. Marine (1975 – 1978), I understand something about serving in the military including what I consider very severe challenges to service members’ 1st amendment rights of freedom of religion and free speech due to this change in policy. Almost immediately I wrote a letter to Congressman Campbell advising him that I did not agree with his vote, that as a former member of the military I felt I had some legitimate concerns over the implications of the repeal of DADT for those serving our country in the armed forces and I asked to meet with him to discuss this.
For over one year Congressman Campbell knew of my request (according to his District Director) but never would meet with me. At the OCGOP meeting in February I asked him to explain his vote to repeal DADT and why he would not meet with me, one of his supporters and constituents. Congressman Campbell stated to the members and guests of the OCGOP that he felt his vote was right partially due to information he, as a Congressman, had that we constituents did not have (can we spell arrogance!). He then went on to state several other things he has done as a Congressman that he was proud of – without once explaining why he would not meet with me (in his oral response to my questions he did not even acknowledge me or my letter to him on the DADT subject).
Almost immediately following this, Bill Dunlap (an OCGOP alternate) rose and asked Congressman Campbell why he is never in the District to meet with constituents or hold town hall meetings (bravo Bill!). The Congressman’s only response was that he feels his mass e-mails to his e-mail list is sufficient. I guess that means to the Congressman that face-to-face contact with voters in his District is not only not important but also not needed.
I am not important in this matter. What is important is a person who is supposed to be a representative in Congress who refuses to meet with a constituent on an important public policy issue. In my opinion that is not a proper attitude for a Congressman. Congressman Campbell did not lose my vote for endorsement – he did not earn it. Congressman Campbell fell short of the two thirds votes necessary for him to receive the OCGOP endorsement (He was later able to obtain the endorsement of the CRP when the executive board met privately).
For those who live in the new 45th Congressional District, as you consider who to vote for in the June 5, 2012 election, I offer you this information for your consideration. If I lived in the 45th District I would cast my vote for Republican John Webb.