Trump campaign comes to Ventura County

By George Miller

With the Trump for California organization established only days ago, campaign activities are already popping up all over the state. With just a few days notice, the first Trump Ventura County event was held on Saturday, April 23, on Moorpark & Hillcrest by the Janss Mall. Picked for its high traffic, the event was to let VC know that the Trump campaign is open for business and wants your vote.

Below: new face of the Republican Party?


(L-R) Old Guard-Celeste Greig, former California Republican Assembly President and New Guard- Lea Dowell Williams, 4-23-16 Thousand Oaks Flash Rally for Trump event leader. Photo: George Miller/

Lea Dowell Williams of Westlake, shown above, is a paralegal, fairly new to the area, does volunteer work and gravitated toward the Trump campaign. She very recently joined an independent grassroots group, “Californians for Trump- Ventura County,” (state site) got on their new Ventura County page and just started working. In short order, she was inviting newly minted Facebook “friends” of the page to an impromptu “Flash Rally for Trump” on a busy street corner.

After just a few days and practically zero expense, she was holding a  First Amendment-protected event on sidewalks. The Sheriff was notified in advance. An interesting array of about 50 people came and went over the event’s duration. Organizers collected contact info, registered voters (almost all were already registered), including party changes. Although California is an “open primary:” state, this does NOT apply to the Presidential primary, which restricts candidate voting to party registration. Republicans are experiencing record number of switches to their party, new registrations and primary turnout across the nation.

Rally organizers pointed out that you must be registered Republican by May 23, 2016 to vote for Trump in the June 7 primary. In fact to vote for anyone, you must be registered in the party of the candidate you want to vote for by May 23.

It was instructive for this reporter, who had never been to a Trump event and only seen them on TV, with portrayals tightly controlled by the media. While there were some of the “old white men” that “the media” portray as Trump’s “base,” they seemed more ebullient than angry, as portrayed there. But, the majority of the participants were actually women and quite a few appeared to be “minorities,” which is a silly term to use for them in a county which is nearly half Latino.


Mari Anne Burton and Cheryl Brown, from Trinidad, via Brooklyn NY, were exchanging similar views on the campaign when we encountered them at the 4-23-16 Trump Rally. Photo: George Miller/

Meanwhile, local GOP politicians seem outwardly paralyzed about showing their candidate preferences, while some work behind the scenes supporting either Trump or Cruz.  None showed up today. Most have said “I will support the Republican nominee,” but that is after the nomination.  For example, we asked real estate company owner Rafael Dagnesses, who is running for CA Congressional District 26 (most of Ventura County), against 2-term Democrat incumbent Julia Brownley. He is focused on his own election campaign and doesn’t want to alienate GOP or swing voters, so he is staying neutral, saying that he “will support the Republican nominee.”

Although event organizers discouraged signs about intra-party squabbles, some surfaced at the event (see below). The Trump supporters view Cruz as the chief rival in the primaries, although Trump is pulling further and further ahead. However, there was anger among rally attendees about GOP leadership trying to “draft” a compromise candidate at the national nominating convention, to be held in Cleveland the month after the June 7 CA primary.

Opposition to Republican rival “Ted” Cruz at 4-23-16 Thousand Oaks Flash Rally for Trump event leader. Photo: George Miller/

While Trump is not counting on winning California, a “winner take all” state, in the November general election, winning the June California primary is crucial to securing the nomination.

Quite a few passing motorists signaled their sentiments on the rally’s subject. It looked like about 9-10 horn honks, thumbs-up, etc. for every thumbs-down, middle finger or raspberry. Considering how controversial Trump has been, that’s better than expected.

But, assembled supporters were mostly unequivocal about their Trump support and why. Most feel that government is unresponsive to many of their priorities and has run out of control, Both Trump and his chief Republican rival “Ted” Cruz have vowed to downsize and rein in government. The other Republican still campaigning, John Kasich, actually demonstrated his ability to do so when he helped prepare the first balanced budgets in decades in a Republican Congress while and Bill Clinton was in the White House. In contrast, Democrat candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders both see larger government as a solution to many problems. It is for voters to decide which they prefer.

Another big issue is illegal immigration, which Trump intends to enforce with strict measures. All of the people I talked to at the rally were in favor of that, including some people with heavy accents and some who were obviously Latinos. The group is also concerned about trade deals which are not favorable to the US, the weakened state of the economy and the true unemployment situation, which several said is far worse than the 4.9% figure appearing in the news media,

When I asked about some of Trump’s more controversial statements on various things, they seemed to either agree with him, or give him a pass on it. A small group talking together there all agreed that it is refreshing that he speaks his mind and is free of the “political correctness” which so permeates modern life. Mari Anne Burton said that he speaks the truth and that news media routinely take his words out of context. Some told me that he tends to answer too hastily and often comes back later with more measured responses and that he seems to be getting better and more informed on issues as the campaign goes on. Nine months ago, he was a businessmen with no real political experience. Now, he’s leading in the votes and delegates.

Asking several people whether he would win, the responses were divided, with virtually everyone saying he would win the primary in California. But most were not so confident of a November California victory, but thought he could win nationwide. All were upset about the problems in some states with delegate allocation rules. Most felt that if he could get nominated, he could win. Most felt that Clinton has too much “baggage” and that voters are fed up and would prefer a Trump presidency. Two Obama victories in a row didn’t seem to faze them.

Sheriff acts on complaint


VC Sheriff’s Deputy relays complaint at 4-23-16 Thousand Oaks Flash Rally for Trump event leader. Photo: George Miller/

A VC -Thousand Oaks Sheriff’s deputy came by during the rally to relay a complaint about the bullhorn in use. After a brief discussion, both agreed that the complaint wasn’t warranted.

George Miller is Publisher of and a “retired” operations management consultant, active in civic affairs, living in Oxnard.

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One Response to Trump campaign comes to Ventura County

  1. Patrick James Tafoya October 24, 2018 at 3:33 pm

    I am a 3 TD generation Native American/Mexican whose family worked in farm labor from Mexicali El Centroids Valley to Ventura , Santa Barbara, Salinas Valley and finishing in San Joaquin Valley.

    I wish to join Trump Movement to rally Mexican people.

    My INDIAN roots are Clifton Arizona Apache nation.

    I believe trump is a true American. I believe God has placed him here in time.

    Please contact me

    Patrick J Tafoya


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