The amounts were relatively small, but the sources are striking: In recent weeks, the California Republican Party has collected donations from three large public employee unions.
On Tuesday, Service Employees International Union Local 1000 donated $15,000 to the state party. A California Teachers Association political action committee donated $10,000 earlier this month, and the California Correctional Peace Officers Association donated $3,000 in August.
It has been years since these unions opened their wallets to the state party. The peace officers made donations in 2005 and 2007. The teachers gave $10,000 in 2004.
Labor officials said the donations came after the party’s new chairman, Jim Brulte, met with members. The contributions reflect unions’ tentative effort to work with the GOP.
“I reach out to everybody,” Brulte said Thursday. With state GOP voter registration under 30 percent, he added, “You’ve got to get outside your comfort zones.”
He noted that the unions include Republican members.
“Their leadership is trying to be a little bit more bipartisan,” he said.
– David Siders