The Redlands Tea Party Patriots are endorsing San Jacinto City Councilman Andrew Kotyuk as the candidate best qualified to replace Chad Mayes in a key state assembly district involving eastern San Bernardino and Riverside Counties.
“Andrew Kotyuk is a feisty candidate,” Redlands Tea Party cabinet member John Berry said. “Kotyuk has proven he can raise money and he does a better job articulating why voters must reject Chad Mayes — the very leader of the ‘cap and traitor’ Republican caucus.”
Mayes was the Republican assembly leader in 2017 until he was removed for supporting legislation known as “cap and trade,” which could raise gas prices as much as 71 cents a gallon. The new law could also raise other energy prices as well.
Kotyuk is facing Gary Jeandron, a retired Palm Springs police chief, for Assembly District 42. Both debated before more than 100 people at the March 1 meeting of the Redlands Tea Party Patriots.
Kotyuk won the debate 49 percent to 41 percent, according to a poll taken after the meeting. Another 8 percent were undecided and 1 percent voted for Mayes.
In November, Kotyuk and Jeandron met privately with leaders from the Redlands Tea Party Patriots and Unite Inland Empire conservative coalition.
In addition to recommending Kotyuk, the Redlands Tea Party Patriots are urging Jeandron to quit the race so the two candidates don’t split the anti-Chad Mayes vote during the June primary. The filing deadline is March 9.
Customarily, the Redlands Tea Party Patriots waits until after the filing deadline before making candidate recommendations. But the cabinet made an exception in this race in hopes of narrowing the field to one Mayes opponent.
“Having both candidates in the race significantly increases the likelihood that Mayes will be re-elected,” Berry said. “We understand we’re asking a lot from Jeandron. We like Jeandron a lot. He’s run a hard race and he’s a good candidate, but it’s just that Kotyuk does a better job of articulating why Mayes must go.”
Winning a recommendation from the Redlands Tea Party Patriots means a candidate’s name will appear on its voter recommendation guide. In 2016, Redlands Tea Party volunteers dropped their guides on 16,000 doorsteps in six communities in the Inland Empire.
Mayes was first elected to the Assembly in 2014 when he defeated Democrat Karalee Hargrove with more than 57 percent of the vote, according to Ballotopedia. Hargrove won the primary, beating Mayes by 3 percentage points. Jeandron drew 27.8 percent of the vote in that election.
Mayes beat Democrat Greg Rodriguez in 2016 with more than 57 percent of the election. He has eight year left in his term limits.