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2018 electionCalifornia RepublicansGovernor's race

GOP candidate for governor Travis Allen says he hopes to tap into California's 'silent supermajority'

Republican candidate for governor Travis Allen at a debate hosted by the Redlands Tea Party Patriots on January 4. (Gina Ferazzi)
Republican candidate for governor Travis Allen at a debate hosted by the Redlands Tea Party Patriots on January 4. (Gina Ferazzi)

Republican candidate for governor Travis Allen clearly doesn’t think California voters are as liberal as people think.

The Huntington Beach assemblyman, spoke Thursday at a candidate event hosted by the Public Policy Institute of California in San Francisco where he talked about his support for expanding oil drilling off the coast, said he supports taxpayer-funded school vouchers, pushed for the repeal of the California’s so-called sanctuary state law and described President Trump as great leader.

The upbeat conservative told the audience that a “silent supermajority” of Californians, including Democrats, share his opinions and priorities, not those of the left-leaning political leaders who have controlled Sacramento for most of the past four decades.

Allen said that same Democratic leadership controlled mostly by “Bay Area liberal elites” has given California the highest poverty rate in the nation, an explosion of homelessness, traffic-choked freeways and failing public schools.

“California doesn’t have to be this way. California used to be the greatest state in the nation,” Allen said.  “We’ve been run in the wrong direction, and it’s about time we changed that.”

A USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll released in early November found Allen to be in third place in the governor’s race, with 15% of likely voters supporting him. He trailed two Democrats, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

That same poll found that most Californians disagreed with Allen about Trump and immigration. More then 64% of Californians had an unfavorable opinion of Trump, and more than 50% of Californians favor a new "sanctuary state" law to shield people from deportation, compared to 29% who opposed the law.

But the poll also found that most voters in the state agreed with Allen’s strong opposition to the higher gas tax and vehicle fees recently approved by the Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown to provide money to repair the state’s roads and bridges and improve mass transit.

Allen is spearheading one of two statewide ballot measures to repeal the gas tax. The assemblyman criticized Brown for signing the new tax after promising in his 2010 campaign for governor that he would not raise any new taxes without voter approval.

“He lied to you,” Allen said.

Allen, a financial planner and avid surfer, stuck to the conservative mantra that Californians are overtaxed and that Sacramento Democrats are spendthrifts. He argued that the state already had ample tax revenue to fix and expand roadways and improve public schools.

He pushed for slashing regulations impeding housing construction and vowed to block any attempt to adopt a state-sponsored universal health care system.

He also opposed the controversial Delta tunnel water project, saying California instead need to expand water storage facilities.

The San Francisco event was moderated by Public Policy Institute President Mark Baldassare and was part of a series of public interviews of the candidates running for California governor.

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