IRVINE (CBSLA.com) — Republican presidential hopeful Sen. Rand Paul is endorsing the results of Proposition 47, which lowered some minor drug and property crimes from felonies to misdemeanors in California.
Paul said in an interview before the annual Orange County Republican Party Flag Day dinner that the proposition so far has been successful in addressing overcrowded jails and prisons by diverting offenders to treatment and rehabilitation programs.
“California’s actually done some good things,” he said in Irvine. “Proposition 47 about a year ago or six months ago took some of the minor drug felonies and made them misdemeanors and, from my understanding, you have more room in your prisons now for violent criminals. They’re not getting out early.”
“The states are actually doing a better job on some of this than Washington is doing,” said Paul, who explained to KCAL9 Political Reporter Dave Bryan that he has introduced a bill in the Senate he says would have a similar impact on federal crime.
Paul said he is speaking in O.C. because he believes he could compete with the Democrats next year.
“We think that these liberty issues that I talk about will resonate,” he said. “We’ll look for votes out here in California. We look to win.”
Jon Fleischman, founder and publisher of Flashreport.org, invited Paul to speak at the O.C. Republican event.
“Everyone is in Iowa. Everyone’s in New Hampshire. And once again, Rand Paul with his, ‘I’m gonna be different strategy’ is sitting here in Southern California,” Fleischman said.
Paul also says the War on Drugs must be fixed because he says it’s contributing to the impression that law enforcement across the country has a racial bias.
“In many big cities, we’re arresting 15 poor kids for every kid that lives in the suburb. Mostly black kids versus white kids. So, the War on Drugs has to be fixed,” he said.
Councilmember Al Murray (R-Tustin) says he’ll make up his mind about whom to support on the basis of important domestic issues.
“I have a young family and I’m concerned about them from a standpoint of security. I’m concerned about them from a standpoint of economy,” Murray said.
State Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) says it’s been a long eight years out of the White House for Republicans.
“And hopefully we get a good, conservative voice that can articulate our values and our principals. I think a lot of us don’t want to see Hillary as our next president so I just hope someone will stand up. The cream will rise to the top,” Moorlach said.
As Bryan reports, Paul isn’t the first candidate to think California may be in play in the presidential election year. However, if the numbers don’t start changing soon, Bryan says Paul and the other candidates will be looking to others states that have a more direct bearing on their futures.