Duf Sundheim

Duf Sundheim

Duf Sundheim has been active in Republican Party politics since he served as a page in the Illinois State Legislature at age 18. Mr. Sundheim’s focus has been government reform and increased citizen participation in the political process. As Chairman of the California Republican Party (2003-07) Duf played a critical role in the only successful recall of a sitting governor in modern history. He also led a a voter registration effort which the Republican National Committee recognized as the best in the the nation and led to (a) the smallest differential between Republicans and Democrats since the Great Depression and enabled Governor Schwartzenegger to set modern records for the percentage of women and minorities that voted for a Republican. Recently Mr. Sundheim played a key role in the adoption of the new Redistricting and Open Primary systems. Among his other activities, Mr. Sundheim currently is working on government pension reform measures and regularly appears on national and regional television shows as a political commentator. Mr. Sundheim received his B.A. in Economics with Honors and Distinction from Stanford University, where he won two letters in football. He received his J.D. from Northwestern University Law School, attending with the aid of an Exceptional Student Post-Graduate Fellowship. He is also a recipient of the California State Bar Pro Bono Award.


After last month’s Republican setbacks at the polls, I was asked if I was going to continue in politics.

It was a fair question.

When I was chairman of the California Republican Party (2003-2007), the registration differential between Democrats and Republicans was the narrowest it had been since the 1930s.  When Arnold Schwarzenegger was re-elected to a second gubernatorial term in 2006, the GOP set modern California records for support among women and minorities.  Since then, the bottom has fallen out.

I would spend my energies elsewhere if: (1) the current leaders had California on the right path, or (2) California was unsalvageable. Neither is the case.

California clearly is on the wrong path.  Our education system is a disgrace. We’re looking up at Louisiana and Alabama.  Teacher unions force districts to turn down millions of federal dollars because they do not like the reforms the Obama administration requires. Many of our major cities are insolvent, if not bankrupt.  Anyone who tells you that Gov. Brown’s Proposition 30 solved our budget problems and/or ensured our schools will have enough money is lying to you (even the San Francisco Chronicle, hardly anyone’s idea of a conservative voice, labeled the ballot measure “a gimmick”). The truth is the forecast of the state’s budget moving into the black is built on a flimsy house of cards.  A more sober assessment comes from the California Budget Crisis Task Force, which has determined the Golden State’s debt and obligations to run anywhere from $167 billion to $335 billion.

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