Gas tax repeal leader’s Plan B: Try to pick off Democrats one-by-one

Even in Proposition 6 fails, its chief advocate plans to keep beating Democrats over the head with their decision to hike the state gas tax.

At the California Republican Party’s election night watch party in downtown San Diego, Carl DeMaio, the Republican firebrand who managed the “Yes on 6” campaign, said he plans to launch recall efforts against two more California legislators next election if the gas tax repeal effort fails.

“If we lose we begin tomorrow…we work every single day punishing the politicians who stole our votes,” said DeMaio. “Recalling one or two state senators? Very doable.”

And he has two Democratic lawmakers in mind: state Sen. Anthony Portantino, who represents the eastern San Fernando Valley, and state Sen. Richard Roth of northwestern Riverside County.

“If you look at their districts, you’ll see why in terms of the percentage of super-commuters,” DeMaio said. “I’ve done research on both districts.”

This follows the template DeMaio helped to set last year when he and other Republican operatives organized the successful recall effort against former Orange County state Sen. Josh Newman, another Democrat. Newman was ostensibly kicked out of his seat in June for supporting an increase in the state gas tax along with other vehicle fees to raise an additional $5 billion in annual transportation funding. That law was supported by every Democratic lawmaker in the Legislature but one.

Newman also happened to be a particularly vulnerable Democrat in a purplish district, and his replacement by Republican Ling Ling Chang deprived Democrats of their supermajority in the state Senate.

Earlier this month, DeMaio also threatened to launch a recall against California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, whose office is responsible for writing the summary of each ballot measure. DeMaio and many state Republicans argue that the ballot language of Prop. 6, which emphasized its effect on transportation revenues rather than tax rates, biased voters to vote against it.

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