Opinion: John McCain fundraises in Sacramento, claims he’ll compete in California


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SACRAMENTO -- And now for a change of pace, some actual Republican news:

With many political eyes on Denver and the Democrats this week, John McCain came to Sacramento to raise money today and offered straight talk that raised a few eyebrows. First, he revealed that his wife, Cindy, is on a humanitarian trip to the nation of Georgia.


But he wanted to talk about this fall. “I also want to look you in the eye -- and I appreciate your generosity -- but I also want to tell you we will compete in the state of California,’ McCain said, as reported by the pool reporter Kevin Yamamuraof the Sacramento Bee. ‘We will compete and win in the state of California. We will not take your money and leave.”

Democrats hold a registration edge in California, 43.75% to 32.53%. Barack Obama almost certainly will win California, just as Democratic presidential nominees have done every election since Bill Clinton carried the state in 1992.

‘I ain’t going to be the sucker in your story,’ a veteran Republican politico said, declining to discuss McCain’s prospects but laughing at the notion McCain might win the Golden State.

Whether he competes here or not, McCain’s trip was a little more successful than the last time he came through town. In November, he held a fundraiser at the same downtown hotel, and his rented SUV broke down. He had to take a cab to the airport.

In November, he took time to answer reporters’ questions. This time, he had to rush off to tape ‘The Tonight Show with Jay Leno’ (check back at The Ticket for details on ...

... that later, but before broadcast time). In L.A. McCain was also to attend a high-dollar fundraiser.

Now that he’s the nominee and has chosen to have Secret Service protection and many media reporters want to travel with him, McCain’s motorcade stretched a block, with a bus for the traveling press, several large vans, cars for the candidate, Secret Service and his immediate staff, and a heavy CHP escort.

Importantly, 500 to 600 people showed up in the state capital, and McCain soaked up an additional $500,000, maybe $750,000. McCain’s haul wasn’t bad, given the difficult real estate market, said fundraiser and McCain backer Marty Wilson. He’ll raise much more in Los Angeles.

Actress Patricia Heaton, best known as Raymond’s wife on ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ and one of a handful of known Hollywood Republicans, introduced McCain and was disappointed that beer heiress Cindy McCain was not there.

‘I have a vested interest in seeing her become first lady so I can get invited to those White House keg parties,’ Heaton cracked.

C.C. Yin was in attendance. Yin came to this country from China and Taiwan 42 years ago. He owns 24 McDonald’s franchises in Northern California and is active in Republican circles. In June 2007, Yin hosted McCain at his Vacaville home. Maybe 50 people showed up.

Yin was one of five chairmen, each of whom raised at least $50,000 for McCain and the Republican Party. McCain recognized Yin, telling the crowd that his friend had been there at the “darkest time” of his candidacy.

Yin, active in Asian-Pacific Islander politics, helped organize people who held pro-McCain signs outside the Sheraton, countering Obama backers. Yin sides with McCain because he views him as a “proven leader with great knowledge of foreign affairs.”

Another bundler was Red Emmerson, the billionaire chairman of Sierra Pacific Industries, the nation’s third-largest timber producer and by far California’s largest timber company.

Rep. Dan Lungren hosted the event, along with former California Secretary of State Bill Jones and former e-Bay chief and now McCain adviser Meg Whitman.

Of course, lobbyists, consultants and other denizens filled the seats. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger showed up but didn’t speak. McCain offered this straight talk assessment of Schwarzenegger: ‘one of the great governors in not only the history of California but the United States of America.’

-- Dan Morain

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