Republican Assembly candidate Charlie Schaupp said he puts principles before party affiliation, which is something he believes too few politicians in Sacramento are willing to do.
Schaupp filed to run in the 4th Assembly District race last week, looking to replace Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada, D-Davis, once she’s termed out at the end of this year.
He joins a crowded field of three Democrats — Napa County Supervisor Bill Dodd, Davis Mayor Joe Krovoza and Davis Mayor Pro Tem Dan Wolk — as well as fellow Republican Dustin Call, a legislative aide to a Southern California Assemblyman.
Schaupp is a retired Marine Corps veteran who served in the Gulf War and the Iraq War, eventually reaching the rank of lieutenant colonel. He farms 3,500 acres in Esparto, in Yolo County, that have been with his family since the 19th century, he said.
He said he’s a self-proclaimed social and fiscal conservative, who believes the compromises lawmakers strike can dilute the effectiveness of fixes to the state’s problems.
“We have a real problem in Sacramento,” Schaupp said. “They left their ethics at the door. Too often in Sacramento they want to compromise on the issues. What we need is to solve our problems. That needs leadership.”
Schaupp touts standard Republican positions of lowering the state tax burden and paying off its debts to keep them from hampering future economic prosperity. On education, he favors giving local school districts and teachers more control of the curriculum.
He prizes conserving agricultural lands while assailing the twin delta tunnels project Gov. Jerry Brown champions, which would take fresh water from the Sacramento River and send it around the delta for deliveries to Central and Southern California.
Schaupp said more water storage is needed on the Sacramento River, which the tunnel project doesn’t address.
“All of the water storage will be built south of these tunnels,” Schaupp said. “We can have water if we’re smart enough. The problem is that most of it goes out past the Carquinez Strait in the winter time.”
Schaupp has run unsuccessfully for the Assembly twice before, in 2008 and in 2010, losing primary challenges to then-Assemblyman and Republican Jim Nielsen, now in the state Senate.
Schaupp said he sees a message of agricultural preservation and protection resonating with voters in the six-county 4th Assembly District, which includes all or parts of Napa, Yolo, Lake, Sonoma, Solano and Colusa counties.
“This district kind of fits me like a glove,” Schaupp said. “The farmers in Yolo County still think of the farmers in Napa County as farmers.”
In the crowded field of candidates, Schaupp said he’s looking to appeal to moderates and independents, as well as the registered Republican voters. He faults the Republican Party with the recent poor performance of its candidates in California, as the party holds no statewide elected offices and has been in super-minority status in the Legislature.
“We’ve failed to reach out to voters,” Schaupp said. “I’m not afraid to stand up to Republicans and say, ‘No, this is wrong or stupid.’ It takes honor, it takes courage, it takes ethics to stand up in a strong wind and say, ‘No gentlemen, this is not right.’”
Schaupp acknowledges he trails in fundraising behind Democrats who’ve been on the campaign trail for almost a year now, but believes his candidacy can survive the June primary if moderates and independents unite behind him.
“They have a viable, bona fide candidate,” Schaupp said. “My goal is to be one of the top two, so we could have a frank discussion of the issues.”