By Ken Stone
“I hope and I think this will be my last year,” he told a La Mesa-area GOP women’s club, suggesting it was time for “some fresh blood — someone with an easier name to pronounce.”
Later in January, Krvaric told “KPBS Midday Edition”: “I don’t have any plans to run for re-election. … I’d be more than happy to have somebody else carry the mantle going forward.”
And on Aug. 18, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer posted on Facebook: “Wishing a bon voyage to Tony Krvaric, who is stepping down after 12 years as the volunteer chairman of the Republican Party of San Diego County. A proud immigrant whose love for this country has built the strongest county party in the state. Thank you, Tony!”
That was premature.
On Wednesday night, Krvaric, 47, announced he’ll run again for party chair.
“After countless phone calls and meetings with committee members and stakeholders, I’ve decided to stand for re-election as Chairman,” he tweeted after 9 p.m.
"After countless phone calls and meetings with committee members and stakeholders, I've decided to stand for re-election as Chairman. San Diego Republicans will analyze and learn from 2018 to come back stronger in 2020. Freedom loving San Diego County taxpayers deserve no less."
— Tony Krvaric (@TonyKrvaric) December 6, 2018
Krvaric said San Diego Republicans would analyze and learn from 2018 to come back stronger in 2020.
“Freedom loving San Diego County taxpayers deserve no less,” he said.
(The party chair’s jobs, including some endorsement powers, are spelled out in the party bylaws.)
Krvaric didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, but social media began weighing in.
In a retweet, Chris Hansen said: “Good news for the San Diego GOP. Nobody works harder than Chairman Krvaric.”
Said another: “This is the best news of a bad 2018 — San Diego GOP needs you.”
But critics trolled too.
“Unprecedented losses aren’t enough, eh? Maybe you just need more #plotting,” said @shawnjvandiver.
@tegler27 said: “With a record like yours, the future looks great!”
And a final dig came from Jeff Olson: “Dems need him. You’re doin’ great Tony!”
Veteran politics watcher Carl Luna of San Diego Mesa College said: “Mr. Krvaric has the local support to stay chair and apparently has no heir or opposition in the wings (which is a testament to his leadership but also a possible sign no one else wants to skipper the political Titanic that seems to be the San Diego and California Republican parties).”
But another Carl — KOGO radio talk-show host and former San Diego Councilman DeMaio — said Thursday he was thrilled with Krvaric’s decision to “stay on.”
I am thrilled that @TonyKrvaric has agreed to stay on as Chairman on @RPSDC We have one of the best run county parties in the nation and we need to have our best team working in 2020! https://t.co/cP466qqBLn
— Carl DeMaio (@carldemaio) December 6, 2018
The county Republican Central Committee — a maximum of 75 members — will fill the two-year chair term Monday when it meets at the Town & Country Resort and Convention Center in Mission Valley, a member confirmed Thursday.
Early Thursday, San Diego County Democratic Party Chair Jessica Hayes appeared to revel in her counterpart’s news.
“In the 2020 presidential election cycle, as Mr. Trump runs again, Mr. Krvaric can hope for the success he had in this past election,” she said via email. “Krvaric, [Rep. Duncan] Hunter and Trump will be the Trinity for San Diego Republicans.”
No matter who wins the chair job, the GOP job encounters a rough landscape.
According to the latest voter registration figures, released Monday, Republicans make up 25 percent of county voters, compared with 38 percent Democrats and 32 percent declining to state a party.
On San Diego Rostra, a right-leaning blog, Brian Brady commented on the race for California Republican Party chair between Chula Vista native and former Assemblyman Travis Allen, the failed gubernatorial candidate, and two others — Steve Frank and David Hadley.
“Republicans were beat badly in 2018 because Democrats outhustled us,” Brady wrote while favoring Allen. “Trump wasn’t ‘too toxic,’ conservatism isn’t out of style, and Californians are not a bunch of socialists.”
Brady said California Democrats “stand for something, move mountains to get their voters to the polls, and legislate like they are about [to lose] the super majority they have.”“Republicans don’t do any of those things,” he said.
Krvaric, who came to San Diego in 1992, is president and CEO of Krvaric Capital & Risk Management, “an independent financial services firm.”
A member of the Central Committee who didn’t want to be identified welcomed Krvaric’s decision.
“Tony is a great leader,” the member said Thursday. “The why seems simple — we need an experienced and dynamic person to lead us into 2020. Changing the lead right now would not be conducive for the rebuilding of the state and local party that is required to meet the change in election methodology we saw in the midterm.”
The member added: “There were a few good candidates, none as capable or experienced as Tony is.”
Last week, Voice of San Diego asked Barrett Tetlow, county GOP vice chair, if he would run for chair.
“Tetlow told us something interesting: He wants Krvaric to reconsider,” Voice said.
“My preference has always been that Tony Krvaric stay on as chairman,” Tetlow was quoted as saying. “I don’t think people appreciate him as much as they should. I have been up and down the state and seen other parties — people don’t realize how professional this operation is comparatively.
“San Diego is hands down, bar none, far more experienced and professional. It allows the Republican Party and center right coalition to punch way above its weight.”
Updated at 10:30 a.m. Dec. 6, 2018
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