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State GOP Expected to Join Campaign to Recall Speaker


IRVINE — The California Republican Party will join the recall campaign against Assembly Speaker Doris Allen with cash and mailers as soon as next week, if its governing board endorses the recall drive this morning, as expected, top state party officials said.

Republican officials had said previously they would wait for the results of a vote by the GOP's 2,000 delegates at a semiannual convention in Palm Springs late next month before committing resources to drive Allen from office.

But after a unanimous vote Thursday of the party's Rules Committee to endorse the recall, party leaders said the Board of Directors of the California Republican Party would vote in a conference call at 10 a.m. today to authorize participation.

"We expect it to pass with flying colors," said party spokeswoman Victoria Herrington.

Allen (R-Cypress) was elected speaker in June with the aid of 39 Democratic colleagues in the Assembly and no Republican votes besides her own. It triggered charges of betrayal from party stalwarts, who saw their dream of controlling the Legislature's lower house evaporate.

If the 19-member board votes against Allen on Friday, "expect to see a California Republican Party mailer within a week," said State Party Vice Chairman Michael Schroeder. He predicted that $300,000 to $400,000 would be spent by each side in a recall election.

Allen's opponents have until Nov. 30 to collect 25,606 signatures in her central Orange County district to force a recall.

Party officials have decided not to wait for endorsement of the recall by the state convention, Schroeder said, because of the virtually unanimous opposition to Allen among top party leaders.

Allen's spokesman, Allan Hoffenblum, called anti-Allen votes by top party leaders "something out of Tammany Hall. This is a group of party politicians attempting to dictate to elected officials. . . . I am terribly grieved by it.

"When we get to Palm Springs, we will overturn it," he said, referring to the upcoming party convention.

A decision to place GOP resources at the disposal of the recall drive would mark the party's first active participation in the recall of any Republican in California, Herrington said.

In addition to voting its condemnation of Allen, the Rules Committee Thursday issued a stern warning to other Republicans in the Legislature. It said the party should punish breaches of "party discipline" on "fundamental issues" such as failing to back the caucus candidate for Speaker or not "assuring Republican control" of the Legislature's policy-making, personnel and committee apparatus.

Saying that Allen had put personal advancement above party loyalty, the panel sent what it called "a strong message to others who . . . may face the same temptations and allures: If you cannot be loyal on these most fundamental questions, your absence from the Legislature is more valuable than your continued presence in the Legislature."

Five other Republican lawmakers in the Assembly have at various times expressed allegiance to Allen. They are: Peter Frusetta (R-Tres Pinos), Brett Granlund (R-Yucaipa), Jan Goldsmith (R-Poway), Brian Setencich (R-Fresno) and Bernie Richter (R-Chico).

Rules Committee Chairman Tim Morgan of Santa Cruz said Republican members of the Legislature must "recognize the importance of being unified and that individual accommodations are ultimately counterproductive."

Times staff writer Eric Bailey contributed to this report.

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