Unless, of course, you are the Republican nominee for U.S. senator from Connecticut this year, the carrier of the GOP standard for U.S. senator in any state should be able to count on the support of the President and the national party organizations. And if, moreover, the nominee has served in both houses of the state legislature and as mayor of his hometown, he would appear to be a candidate with the credentials to merit that support.
But that is not happening with Richard Mountjoy, Republican nominee against Sen. Dianne Feinstein in California. While not repudiating him outright (as they have Alan Schlesinger, the GOP nominee against Connecticut Democrat Ned Lamont and newly minted independent Joe Lieberman), the state and national Republican Party organizations are treating Mountjoy’s candidacy against liberal Democrat Feinstein (lifetime American Conservative Union rating: 11%) with benign neglect—in other words, no major funding or in-kind political assistance.
Given Mountjoy’s solidly conservative record in more than 20 years in local and state office, the cold shoulder from the party is an insult to conservatives in and out of California. But it is also an insult to grass-roots Republicans who have walked precincts, sealed envelopes and manned phone banks for their party. At 74, enjoying his great-grandchildren and such hobbies as rebuilding an old World War II-vintage Jeep in his garage, Dick Mountjoy decided to run when there was no other well-known Republican willing to step up to the plate and take on Feinstein.
He presents a vivid contrast to the 14-year incumbent. While Feinstein is solidly pro-abortion, Mountjoy has never backed down from his pro-life views. Feinstein opposed the Bush tax cuts, Mountjoy has been pushing tax cuts and rolling back government bureaucracy at City Hall in his hometown of Monrovia and in Sacramento. And while Feinstein seems to have just discovered the issue of border security and the dangers of illegal immigration, Mountjoy is best-known as the father of “Proposition 187”—the statewide initiative resoundingly enacted in 1994 that would deny non-essential health care, public education and welfare to those in the Golden State illegally. Once it was passed, 187 was successfully challenged in federal district court and died after the administration of Democratic Gov. Gray Davis announced in 1999 it would drop the state’s appeal of the decision against 187.
These days, Dick Mountjoy takes his conservative message across the nation’s largest state in person in the same small plane he flew back and forth from Sacramento during his legislative days. Volunteers such as Anne Molle of Covina, who first began walking precincts for the late (and revered) conservative Rep. John Rousselot (R.-Calif.) back in 1962, carry Mountjoy brochures door-to-door. Broadcasters Ray Briem and 92-year-old George Putnam—for a generation of Southern Californians, the premier voices of conservatism on the airwaves—speak to audiences on Mountjoy’s behalf.
Shouldn’t conservatives nationally, then, feel an obligation to do the same and rally to the banner of this grass-roots leader in California?