POLITICS | Ventura County District 2 candidates look for GOP votes

By Michael Hernandez 

NEWBURY PARK—Nine of the 14 Ventura County District 2 GOP candidates shared at a Tea Party meeting why they should be voted into one of six  Central Committee positions on Tuesday, March 3rd.   The large slate of Republican County Central Committee candidates has become controversial as two different slates of candidates have become pitted against each other—one slate backed by the Republican County GOP chair—Mike Osborn—and the other slate including candidates that are not supported by the chair.

(Editor’s Note:  Please see Citizens Journal link to news story posted Feb. 11:   https://www.citizensjournal.us/politics-ventura-County-gop-under-fire-for-endorsements/ and to editorial written by political consultant Stephen Frank and posted on Feb. 17:  https://www.citizensjournal.us/slimy-move-by-ventura-republican-committee/

The supported slate were recipients of a mailer paid for by the Central Committee sent out to County Republicans and included incumbents:  Kerry Nelson, Tamara Howard, John Andersen, Angela Nardone, Dianne Alexander as well as newcomer Chantal Margottin.

Another slate of candidates (currently not serving on the GOP Central Committee) that sent out their own mailer included:  Caleb Standafer, Debra Tash, Barbara A. Sponsler, Jim Meyer, and Thomas Scott Adams.

Three other candidates running but not sending out a mailer include:  Craig Everett, incumbent Arkady Milgram and Carolyn Guillot (who no longer is seeking a Central Committee position but is still on the ballot).

The Tea Party candidate forum asked each candidate to make an opening and closing statement and then asked four questions to each candidate:

  • What are your ideas for making the party more visible in our area?
  • How can we attract more young people into our party?
  • What are your ideas to increase Republican voter registration in our area?
  • How can our party support local candidates better and fundraise for them?

The following are nine candidate answers (missing from the candidate forum were:  Dianne Alexander, John E. Andersen, Tamara Howard, Arkady Milgram; and helping host the event but not participating was Carolyn Guillot): 

Thomas Scott Adams:

Opening:  “I am a fifth generation Republican.  I am not running against anyone.  We can build (on unity).   The government starts at the local level and builds.   This is how people become energized.  You change your backyard first.”

  • “Democrats do better than we in communicating ideas. But now we have a passionate voter base for Donald Trump.   We can communicate our conservatism.”
  • “We have a winning message. We need to show the difference between capitalism and socialism.  It is capitalism that has taken more people out of poverty.   We have a liberal agenda in the schools and need to get behind Sandee Everett in the (Conejo) school board. ‘Give me your youth and we can change the country in one generation.’     We need to get our youth back. “
  • “We can register at the Ventura County Fair. I have had positive experiences at church.  A number of Christian communities are not in the voting process because they have a (false) message of separation of church and state which does not appear in any of our founding documents.  Our forefathers were bible scholars and preachers and had rifles and were engaged in the Revolutionary War.    If we had an extra 10 percent of these voters we would dominate the elections.  We need to identify Christians to register and vote.   We do not have a message of hopelessness but a winning message that you can make a difference—one vote among many—and we would dominate these elections.”
  • “If we are not walking precincts, we are not winning. Technology is important but connection is more important.   The message must hit seven times before it sticks.”

Closing:  “We need to start local and build.  We need to support our local candidates on the school board, parks and recreation, the Assembly and Congress.  We have a fantastic message.  The state of the economy is upward.  There is buyer confidence.  We need to get on the phones and knock on doors.  We need to let people know about capitalism.  We believe in a strong America.  My name is Thomas Adams and I appreciate your vote.” 

Craig Everett:

Opening:  “I am a husband and father.  I am a finance professor at Pepperdine University and work with the Institute of Entrepreneurship.  I am against Proposition 13 which handicaps businesses even more.  I am a candidate for the Ventura County Central Committee.   I have been a campaign manager for my wife on the Conejo Valley Unified School District board.  I want to help other local candidates.”

  • ” We need to walk our neighborhoods. We need to knock on doors.  We need to know how many other Republicans there are  on our street.  This is the first step in turning the tide.  Who are the other Republicans in our neighborhood? “
  • “I am a college professor and I work with a generation of young people. They have a huge distrust of institutions.  We are an institution.  This is not just a manpower issue where we don’t care what they think.  We must have fun and meaningful activities and solicit their input and listen to it and then implement (their ideals).”
  • “It is really important to register our kids in high school when they are 17 and not yet 18. We need to have registration tables at schools.  We need to go door to door.   If you talk at the doorway, voters are more receptive.”
  • “I do a lot of business services which reach out with surveys. Email responses have plummeted.   Text messages have gone up.   We need to get people involved in campaigns especially between now and November.”

Closing:  “I watched the impeachment trial and Nancy Pelosi’s behavior.  We have disillusioned Democrats that can’t stomach what is coming.  We have common sense Democrats going No Political Preference.  Republicans have a tremendous opportunity in this election cycle to increase their numbers locally.  We are all part of the same team.  I want to help with campaigns for local and national office.  Please vote for me.  Thank you.”  

Chantal Margottin:

Opening:  “I manage a local business with my fiancé.  Family comes first.  Then politics after that.   I have lived here 14 years and have volunteered.  We have a lot of work to do.  I want to give candidates more exposure.  I appreciate your consideration.

  • ”I worked on Antonio Sabato’s campaign. We need to find other conservatives.  We need to go door to door.  We need better registration booths.   We need to let others know that we exist.   We need to expand the Central Committee. We need to be at gun shows, street fairs, at Rotary Club meetings.   We need to expose our candidates.”
  • “I have taught high school (worked) public, charter and private school. We need to work with younger kids, College Republicans and target high schoolers and those in junior high.   ROTC programs are waning, we have an assault on Boy Scouts.”
  • “We need more registration tables and more volunteers. They could do two hour or four hour shifts.  They can volunteer for polling day.   They can participate in the Election Integrity Project.  We have the resources.”
  • “Saturday rallies create excitement. We need to do these for our local candidates.  We need to open up our headquarters and send out mailers for endorsed candidates.”

Closing:  “I have a Newbury Park perspective.  There is always room for improvements.  We need more volunteers to help.  All of us choose to run for the same reason.  There is more work to be done.” 

Jim Meyer:

Opening:  “I have been a Southern California Republican since the age of 19.  I have witnessed the party decline in California.  I have been going to Central Committee meeting for four years.  Three years ago, I became an alternate.   I have volunteered in party related activities, have helped at headquarters for the last election.  But I would like more involvement and a chance to vote for thing that occurs before the Central Committee.”

  • ”We need to make our party Republican. Who are the Republicans?  We are passionate but fearful of retribution.  We need more people involved in the party ad in politics.  We need people to precinct walk and talk with people at the ground level.
  • “We need to have outreach in the colleges. We need to invite one of the schools every quarter to the Central Committee meeting.  Let them have five minutes.   We need to register them in grade school.  The Central Committee can reach out more than they have.”
  • “I am a research scientist by training and career. We need to know why we have failed.  We need to do an analysis.  It requires man hours.  We need to retain Republican voters.”
  • “We need people and money. If you can’t donate money, you can donate time.   We need a data base for this.  Then we can send out more mailers and have door hangers and materials once we have bodies to walk.  It can be done.”  

Closing:  “We need to work things out together.  I have that perspective.  The choice is yours.  Let’s see what happens?  I am here because I would love to be more involved.”

Angela Nardone:

Opening:  “I have been raised in Ventura County since 1979.  I am a first generation American.   I am excited to have been appointed to the Central Committee these past 18 months.   I wish to fundraise for the candidates.   I have learned so much about election laws and how to do mailers legally and not get into trouble.  I work as a technology executive.  I want to raise money for the party so we can help all the candidates.  Did you know that 80 percent of Trump’s money comes from California?  We need to tap into this.  With your help, we will do that.”

  • ”We are not doing enough. We need to see leaders in action.   We need to know our audience. “  
  • “I am a technology executive. We can use memes.  We can use Facebook.   We can use humor and graphics.  The Republican Party needs to use technology to enable its fundraising.”
  • “I get messages from President Trump.  Mobile marketing is one of the best ways and most effective for voter registration with the younger generation.   We need a text campaign and invite young voters to register.   Social media creates a trend but mobile marketing is needed.”
  • “We are planning three fundraisers in the 2nd District: March 1st, April 24, and in May or July.   We need to get in front of more people with door hangers and mailers.   We need to data mine.”

Closing:  “I am an endorsed candidate for the GOP Central Committee.  I have learned from President Donald Trump we have to count our successes and still work to do better.  Our job is to help candidates and get out information and raise money as we can.   We want to increase voter registration.” 

Kerry Nelson:

Opening:  “I ran for Assembly District 44.  Working with the Central Committee has been fun.  I have lived here since 1962 have moved from Minnesota and having lived in North Dakota.  I want to go after the No Party Preference voters and bring them back as Republicans.”

  • ”We need more people registered to vote. I have had a lot of fun working in the Central Committee.  We need to raise money for door hangers, for headquarters for phones.  There are lots of things we can do.   If we can come up with common goals, we will have more success.”
  • “I have grandchildren. I am reaching out, doing a Trump event.  With the right messages we can reach out to the kids.   The left can’t have a conversation with most of them.”
  • “Mark Lunn is doing a great job. But we need more to register to vote.   We need to make sure they are registered at the right address—a current address.   We need to get out the vote.   We need to pick up ballots—the absentee ballots.”
  • “We need to raise money. We need to give more candidate training.  We need to reach big donors as well as the small donors.   We need to do social media, knock on doors, do meet and greets.  We need to have good campaign managers.   We can get the message out. “

Closing:  “We have had great results.  Some things have been wrong.  As a group we work well.  We are reaching out more.  We are doing more things in the precincts.  We have taken what we learned.” 

Barbara A Sponsler:

Opening:  “I have been actively volunteering for 40 years and most of that time in Republican politics in the Conejo Valley, including the school board.  I have also donated to many campaigns.  As a retired mortgage lender, I helped save 75 homes from foreclosure in the Conejo Valley.   I have worked the Republican headquarters during the 2016 election.  I have supported gun shows and the National Rifle Association (NRA).   I have worked with the Malibu Women’s Federated and two other groups.  I ask for your vote.”

  • ”You have a choice this election to vote for a sorority or fraternity organization or to vote for transparency and open communication candidates. We need to educate people to what is a Central Committee?   Their job is to find good candidates and promote them.   We need to work together as a team.  We need fresh faces and fresh eyes to accomplish those goals.   All people must be welcomed and not be at the back of the room.  We need to be friendly and welcoming.”
  • “We need to work with College Republicans and young Republicans.  We need to reach out.”
  • “I have been at the mall and done voter registration. I have registered on the phone and with my laptop.   We need to reach the registered voters who did not vote.”
  • We have the incumbents and we have the newcomers.   I have run the county headquarters.  I helped five candidates in 2016—Rob McCoy was one of them.  I have helped Sandee Everett. I  have done signage. “ 

Closing:  “I thank all of you for participating tonight.  We will promise results as a team.  We need to have transparency in Ventura County (GOP Central Committee).   Vote No on Proposition 13 and any other bonds and taxes on the ballot.  No bond money until the money is spent correctly.  Vote for fresh faces on the Ventura County Central Committee.  I make a commitment to listen to you—to hear you.   We can implement new things.” 

Caleb Standafer:

Opening:  “I have raised three children with my wife and have been a Certified Public Accountant for 41 years.  I have operated a Tax Executive Institute for 25 years.  I have organized volunteers.  I have been a Republican for 40 years even when we lived in Chicago.  I am running for the Central Committee because Republicans have declined by 30,000 in this county during the last seven years.   We need to support our candidates.”

  • ”The Central Committee needs a new perspective to.be more successful. They need to be active and answer every letter in The     We need to improve the Republican brand.  We need to be doing ongoing voter registration.   We need to be for limited government and liberty.”
  • “If you read the surveys, Millennials want a voice and to be heard. We need to say:  ‘We will listen to you.’  The President of Turning Point (Charlie Kirk) did a speech here.  We need to get more young people out and involve them in voter registration and be the boots on the ground at events.  We need to invite the young to come and join us, and they will come.”
  • “Right now, we should be getting people registered. We should be data mining.  We should be voting smarter as well as harder.”
  • “We should learn from the Democrats, for example how did Colorado go from red to blue? We must br very business-like.   To have more Republicans, we need more volunteers.   We are always better than the Democrats because we are for freedom and liberty.”

Closing:  “We need to elect more Republicans.  Every Republican is valuable.  We need to put our focus and energy toward success.  We need to rejuvenate the Central Committee.   We need to restore winning results.  We need to put our money toward candidates.  We need more winning.  With Tom, Barbara, Jim, Debra and Caleb—winning will become a Republican habit again.” 

Debra Tash:

Opening:  “I am the vice president of a local manufacturing company.  I also own and operate a wedding venue.    I belong to a property rights group in this county.  I am the Editor of the Citizens Journal (Ventura County’s online news service).   One way to accept people is to accept other viewpoints.   We need to get out and do our best to win—that is outreach.  Let people know our Republican values.   We can reach our community.”

  • ”We need more outreach. We need fresh faces.    We have a commonality.  We want safe cities.  We want godly places for our children and grandchildren.  We need our children to be educated and not indoctrinated.   We are not about promoting sex change especially without parent permission.   We want local voices.  We need education outreach and fundraising.   We need money to educate.
  • Charlie Kirk has spoken here twice. We need the young people.  Right now we have indoctrination starting at the elementary school.   It is a cancer sweeping through our society.   I am a grandmother and I volunteer at my kid’s school.  I do a program on the Founding Fathers.   We have to become activists in the field.  We have to get our message out.”
  • “I love social media, memes and Facebook. We need to get the word out on how easy it is to register.   We need to get the vote out at churches—tell people they can make a difference.”  
  • “Trump has made America great. We need to help get this message out.  We need to be precise, succinct.   We need to recruit good candidates.   We have a good message.”

Closing:  “I know it has been hard to come out this weeknight.  All politics is local.  If not local, we are done.  We have to work.  Property rights is fundamental to our nation’s founding and freedom.  Our founders spoke about life, liberty and property.  We say happiness.   We’ve got to inspire people.  We have a good crop of fresh faces that can revitalize this party.” 

Photos: Michael Hernandez

Michael Hernandez, Co-Founder of the Citizens Journal—Ventura County’s online news service; editor of the History Makers Report and founder of History Makers International—a community nonprofit serving youth and families in Ventura County, is a former Southern California daily newspaper journalist and religion and news editor. He has worked 25 years as a middle school teacher in Monrovia and Los Angeles Unified School Districts. Mr. Hernandez can be contacted by email at [email protected].


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