Fresno Bee Newsroom Blog

Conservative Quintanar quits GOP — but not its ideals

Serafin Quintanar

You really have to wonder about the future of the Republican Party — not only in California, but maybe even the nation — if people like Serafin Quintanar are jumping ship.

Quintanar, 42, is a rock-solid conservative and Tea Party activist. In 2010, he finished a distant third in the 20th Congressional District Republican primary election, which was won by Hanford cherry farmer Andy Vidak.

Next week, Quintanar says, he will re-register as an independent, which in the past was known in official parlance as “decline to state,” but is now called “no party preference.”

In California, a lot has been written about the decline of the Republican Party, and much of that suggested it is out of step with the state’s more liberal leanings and has become too conservative to be viable.

But Quintanar comes from a totally different angle.

“I am not leaving the Republican Party,” he says. “The Republican Party left me.”

Quintanar says the party’s change in direction is a big reason why Mitt Romney lost the presidential election. Romney, he says, he lost the Republican Party’s base. By comparison, he says, Barack Obama won a second term because he concentrated on winning the Democratic Party’s base.

Quintanar says he will continue to support conservative causes and conservative candidates and elected officials, regardless of party affiliation.

Local Republican strategist Michael Der Manouel Jr. says there are conservatives leaving the party for reasons similar to Quintanar, only they are doing so “without pronouncement.”

“I don’t think it’s a bad thing,” says Der Manouel, who is also chairman of the Lincoln Club of Fresno County.

He notes that Quintanar is a Tea Party activist. He says being unaffiliated frees up Quintanar and other like-minded frustrated conservatives to “be more critical of everybody — and not be accused of being partisan.”

Quintanar agrees. As an independent voter, he anticipates being “highly courted” instead of being “taken for granted by a major party.”

“An independent conservative voter actually has greater influence over the Republican Party than a voter registered as a Republican,” he says.


Geof Lickey says:

You were a distant third in 2010, your candidate against Costa in 2012 was third in the primary. Maybe the party wasn’t buying what you were selling?

Furthermore, your desire to make this a Press release shows your grandstanding ways. Rest of us conservatives are busy helping the party any way we can.

Carolyn Dodd says:

Serafin Quintanar’s proclamation that the Republican party left him is felt by many grass-roots, conservative activists. We will be re-registering to let the progressive liberal establishment wing (Boehner, Cantor, McCarthy, Nunes, et. al) know that we are done eating the rotten candidates they keep feeding to us. All of our time and our financial resources will go to defeating those who refused to do the will of We the People and electing true conservatives we can wholeheartedly support. This is not only happening in CA, it is a national phenomenon.

Born2inform says:

I agree, I have been an independent for years because of the failure of the Republican Party. The party has lost it’s integrity. Voters are republican with their lips but their hearts are far from the values, principals of what a true conservative is. Consequently voting for canidates that are no different than your average liberal canidates. No more than a used car salesmen just wanting to make a sale than make a difference in our country. A reintroduction, a re-education to what a conservative is might refresh folks what grandpa use to believe and why.

Joe Camicia says:

While working for a rival candidate in 2010 I was very impressed by Quintanar and the courage of his convictions. An articulate spokesman for what he believes in it’s a shame he has to strike off as an independent in a state where having the support of the party (any party) is a key. It’s hard to be a Democrat today unless you’re in a public employee union and it must be even harder to be a Republican with their narrow litmus test. Where’s the big tent?

Billy Dee says:

Before you know it, Mr. Quintanar is going to be leaving California like other conservatives complaining that its too liberal.

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