Sue Caro was reappointed last week as chair of the
Alameda County Republican Party.

A calming influence is returning to the moribund Alameda County Republican Party with the return of Sue Caro as chair of the local GOP. Caro, who ran a against Rep. Barbara Lee last November in the 13th District, served previously as party chair two years ago before working on the campaign of Republican U.S. Senate candidate Duf Sundheim last year.

Going back to her previous term as chair, Caro has been an  advocate for a far more moderate approach to fixing the local party, which over the years, has typically veered toward fringe elements, including the Tea Party and a takeover by Ron Paul supporters. Caro has also advocated strongly in the past for increasing the party’s dismal registration numbers in Alameda County, which is roughly seven percent.

Caro replaces David Erlich, who faced some tumult during his tenure, including the belief by some county Republicans that his oversized rhetoric and moments of pique did not serve the party’s purposes. Some county Republicans also cringed at some of Erlich’s comments to journalists last year about a few Republican presidential candidates.

Meanwhile, Caro’s second term comes with a pledge to build up the party, starting at the lowest levels of local government. And whatever happens in Washington with the party’s standard bearer President Donald Trump will not impact how Alameda County Republicans do their business, she added.

“We have no influence and no control over what happens in Washington of any kind,” said Caro. “What the president does, what he says, and so forth. The state is concerned and interested in turning things around [in California], so we’re going to have a concerted effort to give back to the community and to build at the local level.”

In Alameda County, Republicans in local office number 33, according to Caro, and sit on school boards, city councils and special districts. In addition, she said, the party is well aware of some local elected officials who are not registered as Republicans but clearly espoused the party’s ideology and often meet with party leaders. And although Democratic have a stranglehold of statewide offices, roughly half of all local offices and county supervisorial seats in California are held by Republicans, she adds.

“My point is, central committees need to be involved in local elections and ignore Washington,” said Caro. “Like a pile of sand, when you keep adding to it, eventually it caves in and that what is going to happen with Democrats and some of the silly legislation they put out. If we’re doing a decent job in local races, we’re going to be better situated to be ready and move up.”

Rebuilding the struggling statewide GOP is one major task, but propping up an Alameda County Republican Party that has been almost nonexistent for decades is another. Caro said, first off, she intends to better organize the county’s five assembly district caucus.

“The county is very big,” said Caro. “I live in Oakland. I don’t know people in Fremont or the Tri Valley.” Instead of meeting exclusively at the party’s headquarters in San Leandro, she plans on moving monthly meeting around to other communities and streamlining the party’s meeting agendas and engaging members with more guests and speakers.