There's tension inside the world's smallest big tent.
Following the lead of their fellow Republicans in the Assembly– who bounced alleged Schwarzenegger-appeaser George Plescia out of his position as leader of the Assembly's GOP, and replaced him with the allegedly unbending Mike Villines– the rightwing of the rightwing in Senate has its knives out for that chamber's top Republican leader, Tustin's Dick Ackerman.
John Howard reports in the Capitol Weekly,
A closed-door retreat in Newport Beach for Senate Republicans has turned into a leadership battle, with state Sen. Jim Battin challenging Minority Leader Dick Ackerman for the top job – again.
Battin has collected seven votes, one shy of the eight votes needed to assume the leadership of the 15-member Senate Republican Caucus, sources told Capitol Weekly. Several senators did not attend the retreat, and another closed-door vote was planned Monday morning in the Capitol–on the same day that new members of the 2006-07 Legislature are scheduled to be formally sworn in.
Again, it's allegations that the current Minority Leader is too soft on Schwarzenegger– too ready to negotiate on the budget, too supportive of the infrastructure bonds the voters approved– that are fueling Battin's leadership bid.
Regardless of whether Ackerman survives as Minority Leader, it's nice to see that the hard right has established its priorities for the upcoming legislative session, and has decided that the greatest menace facing the Republican party is the Republican governor.