Republican candidates for District 1 state Senate seat hit Nevada County campaign trail |

Republican candidates for District 1 state Senate seat hit Nevada County campaign trail

The four Republicans running for the District 1 state Senate seat spoke in turn about themselves and why they wanted to serve.

Then came the questions. How do we change the direction California is moving? How do we start a resurgence of the state Republican Party?

“We need to get down there with pitchforks and brooms,” joked Rex Hime, one of the Republican candidates who spoke at a Wednesday forum sponsored by the Nevada County Republican Women Federated.

Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, also running for the state Senate seat, said the state Republican party must change. The party must focus on quality of life issues like cost of living, education and public safety.

Theodore Dziuba said a “dirty street fight” is required to stop the sanctuary state. He urged people to elect like-minded district attorneys and sheriffs who would then opt out their respective counties from sanctuary state status.

Brian Dahle, an assemblyman who represents Nevada County, said people — especially younger constituents — must become engaged in politics.

“We fight with media,” Dahle said. “We fight with money to get our message out.”

About 90 people attended Wednesday’s forum at Casa Las Katarinas restaurant in Alta Sierra. Four Republicans and one Democrat, Silke Pflueger, will vie March 26 for the state Senate seat left open when Ted Gaines left for a position on the Board of Equalization. Democrat Steve Baird on Wednesday announced he’d withdrawn from the race.


Dahle has served since 2013 as the District 1 representative in the state Assembly. Asked why he wants to serve in the state Senate, Dahle said he can articulate the problems this state faces.

According to Dahle, proceeds from a heavy truck tax go to the general fund, not to roads. That’s a problem he can frame properly and make people understand.

Fielding a question about illegal immigration, Dahle said people are crossing the border and committing crimes.

“These are not immigrants,” he added. “These are illegal aliens crossing our border.”

Dahle said he served as a Lassen County supervisor for 16 years and left the county debt free. As an assemblyman he pushed for legislation that streamlined the vegetation maintenance process.

Dahle said Democrats have outspent Republicans 5-to-1, but he expects conservatives will regain lost ground.

“I believe the pendulum will swing,” he added. “Trust me, they’ve taken it too far.”


Dziuba said he’s running for office because he wants to end illegal immigration. His great-grandfather came here legally as an immigrant and raised eight children, building a foundation for the current generation.

“They all share the same common value — respect for the rule of law,” Dziuba said.

Asked how he’d address illegal immigration, Dziuba said the candidates gave the same answers. He invoked President Donald Trump, saying “Build the wall.”

Dziuba, who serves on the Placerville Planning Commission, said Republicans must properly use campaign dollars to build a future for the party in California.

“It’s absolutely critical,” he said. “We’re outspent significantly by the liberals.”

Dziuba began his speech with illegal immigration, though he also called himself a defender of the Second Amendment. Additionally, he chose to run because he’s seen how regulations cause businesses to flee the state.

“It’s our responsibility as conservatives, as Republicans, to do something about that,” he said.


President and CEO of the California Business Properties Association, Hime said state Republicans are ill prepared and have paid the price at the ballot box. He said the party must build its base and better express its views.

“That’s how we rebuild our party,” he said.

Tackling the illegal immigration question, Hime said he supports a move to place a citizenship question on the census, which would improve representation.

Hime said Republicans fail to say why they vote on a certain issue. He can help set a tone in the Legislature and urged voters to add his voice to Dahle and Kiley, eliciting laughs when suggesting the two assemblymen should stay in their current positions.

Hime has served as a state party officer, with the state Department of Consumer Affairs and as executive director of the State Commission for Economic Development.

“I believe we can restore the Republican Party to its greatness,” he said.


Representing District 6 in the Assembly, Kiley said a sense of urgency motivated him to run for state Senate. He wants to step up and take on a new role.

According to Kiley, a supermajority of Democrats has created an imbalance of power. Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom has proposed extending Medicaid to illegal immigrants. The opposing party fails to distinguish between legal and illegal immigration.

First elected to the Assembly in 2016, Kiley said he ran on a message of new leadership. He’s been a teacher and an attorney, and seen changes in the law that negatively affect community safety.

Kiley said he’s worked with Democrats to advance conservative ideals. He recently submitted a bill that would prohibit a tax on text messages — a proposal that’s since been scrapped.

“I think it is a great message for people to know that Republicans are fighting for, if nothing else, your text messages to remain tax free,” Kiley said.

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email or call 530-477-4239.

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