Sacramento, Calif.: Brian Dahle, the Republican Party’s longshot hope to unseat Gov. Gavin Newsom in California, knows that to win in his progressive home state he can’t allow Democrats to label him as an election-denying, abortion-hating, gun-loving, bombastic right-winger.
It’s why Dahle, an affable farmer and state senator from the sparsely populated northeast corner of the state, goes out of his way to make one thing clear: “I’m not a crazy Republican. I’m a reasonable person.”
Whether voters believe he is what he says and not how Democrats portray him will determine how Dahle does against Newsom, a first-term Democrat who is an overwhelming favorite in November.
Republicans haven’t won a statewide office in California since 2006. Under California’s primary system, all candidates compete against each other and the two with the most votes advance to the general election. Newsom won last month with 56 percent, while Dahle received just 17 percent in a field of more than two dozen candidates.