The New Republican Frontrunner for Governor Is Anti-LGBT, Used to Be a Minuteman, and Loves Guns

Scott Lucas | November 5, 2013 | Story Politics

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, California State Assemblyman Tim Donnelly will be announcing his candidacy for the Republican nomination for Governor today. The conservative lawmaker is expected to make the announcement at a Los Angeles manufacturing plant, and says he will focus his campaign on jobs, civil liberties, and "leaving California a better place for the next generation." Pretty vague, sure, but he sounds kind of reasonable, doesn't he?

Let's review the record.

1. He pulled his kids out of public school after a state bill to protect transgender children was signed into law. "This will take the normal hormonal battles raging inside every teenager and pour gasoline onto those simmering coals,” he said at the time.

2. He loves guns. In 2012, he tried to bring a loaded handgun onto a plane in his carry-on luggage. He ended up pleading guilty to two misdemeanors. Later, after the legislature passed stricter gun control laws, he organized a push for recall elections against five of them.

3. He has a real hangup about Latino immigration. He found his political start as a member of the anti-immigrant vigilante group the Minutemen. According to LA Weekly, back in 2005, Donnelly took two handguns with him to Tombstone, Arizona to patrol the borders against what he called in an online post, " an illegal invasion of the United States will destroy the American Southwest, and very probably wipe out the freedoms we American Christians enjoy, as Muslim Extremists blend in with the so-called 'innocent' illegal aliens, and eventually proselytize them." One of his first bills would have brought Arizona style immigration laws to California.

4. He's has a limited track record of legislative victories. In his time in the GOP minority in Sacramento, Donnelly has passed only a few bills (in the 2011-12 session, he had none of substance). He's tried unsuccessfully to limit abortion access, to revoke in-state tution at state schools for undocumented immigrants, and to allow firearms to be openly carried. Those all failed, but at least his bill asking for school kids to study the California Constitution passed.

5. He's friends with celebrities. Stephen Colbert loved him when Donnelly came on the Report in 2007. And, no joke, Rob Schneider's an endorser.

6. He might not make it through the primary. But wouldn't it make for an amazing general election debate to have him on stage with Jerry Brown?

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