Rogue Republicans target leader

A member of the Republican Central Committee led a loud but unsuccessful attempt to oust the committee’s chairman Thursday night.

Doug LaMalfa, a cousin of Butte County Supervisor Curt Josiassen, made the motion to remove committee Chairman Josh Cook, based on allegations that Cook hadn’t been living in Butte County. Cook, who has been a county Republican leader for several years, insisted that, although he maintained a small apartment in Sacramento while he was working there this year, his family and permanent residence were in Gridley.

LaMalfa was clearly angry about the allegations and didn’t make much of an effort to hide it at the meeting.

Cook now lives in Chico, where he moved just this month. He stayed in Sacramento during the week, he said, when he was working full time for the state Republican Party. He’s now working for Assemblyman Rico Oller in Chico.

Cook called the attempt to remove him from his seat, to which he was appointed, “ridiculous” and downplayed questions of infighting on the board.

“It’s just that time of year again,” he said. “People are getting ready to run for office, and they’re positioning themselves. … It’s just politics. It’s unfortunate that from time to time Republicans choose to eat their own.”

LaMalfa’s attempt fell flat, with only him and committee member Joe Hanner (whose wife Betty is the treasurer of Sheriff Scott Mackenzie’s campaign) voting for it. The rest of the 16-member committee voted soundly against it.

LaMalfa also made a motion to formally endorse county Supervisor Kim Yamaguchi’s embattled redistricting Plan 5, but it, too, fell flat. Cook said that while the committee "probably" would have declined to endorse the plan had there been a vote taken, LaMalfa’s motion wasn’t listed on the meeting agenda and therefore would have been illegal to vote on.