Orange County's leading Republicans gathered for chili and popcorn Sunday afternoon to raise about $50,000 toward Project '90, the statewide GOP plan to take over the Assembly before redistricting in 1990.
The money was raised at an auction that saw more than 1,000 items sold for prices ranging from $10 for a 2-by-3-foot oil painting of a matador to $8,000 for a weeklong Caribbean yacht cruise. Also sold were a player piano for $4,750, a Faberge chess set for $3,500 and a belt taken from a Russian soldier after a battle with the Afghan rebels, which went for $300.
The proceeds will be added to about $280,000 already amassed for the project since it was launched last December by John Cronin, Doy Henley and Buck Johns, whose Santa Ana Heights home was the site of the auction. The three men, all members of the Lincoln Club of Orange County, a GOP support group, decided to spearhead the project in California because "everyone was talking about it but nobody was doing it," Cronin explained.
The project's first goal is to raise half a million dollars before the November elections. The money is aimed at increasing the Republican seats in the Assembly by five, which would give the party a majority. Currently, Democrats hold a 44-36 majority.