JG Assemblyman Jeff Gorell and family.

The Crow's Nest

The politically ambitious Assemblyman Jeff Gorell

By by Spotter 08/09/2012

No one ever accused Republican Assemblyman Jeff Gorell of being dumb. And after last month’s Ventura County love-fest, he looks like a Ph.D. candidate.

To begin with, Gorell has a picture-perfect résumé — speechwriter for a former governor, communications expert in a trade industry group, Ventura County prosecutor and intelligence officer in the U.S. Naval Reserve. Not to mention two lovely kids and a wife who looks like she models for Vogue in her spare time. The pedigree is terrific and everyone says Gorell is “going places.” But until last week, maybe we didn’t know how far he was going.

After his return from a one-year tour in Afghanistan, Gorell returned to a district where the natives were wailing about the loss of jobs, especially to other states that were aggressively trying to steal California businesses and jobs. (He returned right around the time Oxnard’s Haas Manufacturing said it might just take its expansion plans out of state.) So he put together a “GoldTeam,” designed to go after those businesses that had left California and persuade those that are still here to stay. To add beef to his team, Gorell recruited Democrat Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, the dashingly handsome former San Francisco mayor who seems bored to tears as lieutenant governor. The two made a polished and smooth-talking duo on the stage at — Amgen. Yes, the Spotter said Amgen. The Ventura County biotech leviathan rarely opens the campus, but it was a gracious host for a pair of rising politicians bent on saving jobs.

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom

About 100 of Ventura County’s notables showed. And we are talking Hatfields and McCoys. Democrats, Republicans, Greenies. Captains of Industry. East County. West County. The gang was definitely all there.

Talk centered on two things:

First, no one but a centrist such as Gorell could have drawn such a diverse crowd.

Second, didn’t Newsom and Gorell make a striking pair on stage?

With Gov. Jerry Brown likely to be a one-termer and Newsom the heir apparent, couldn’t you just imagine an across-the-aisle ticket with Newsom and Gorell in 2014? Many in the crowd could.

The Crow’s Nest is an insider’s view on interesting happenings, local political gossip, public policy and more.

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Yes, Gorell is very good looking. He has also been a long-time professional lobbyist for big oil and big tobacco. He spent years at his company Paladin Principle serving the interests of big oil.

Here are his company's clients.


Here are his donors. They are the same lobbying clients and more.


Gorell’s big lobbying client is Venoco, the same folks that brought you hydrofracking in Santa Barbara’s wine country.


But yes, Gorell is good looking. I don’t generally vote for the best looking person, but to each is own. A five minute Google search would reveal that Gorell is more than a good looking navel officer. His competitor, Eileen MacEnery, does not have Gorell’s ties to Chevron and tobacco. I feel for Gorell because he faces the problem of having to serve his district and the corporate money that has financed his career. Eileen doesn’t have those ties that could cloud her policymaking. I am certainly not an objective voice. Therefore, I would encourage everyone to search out Gorell’s donor and lobbying past before they go to the polls.

posted by Natalie on 8/10/12 @ 05:51 p.m.

Gorell's new moderate persona is because his district changed. When he was elected he was in a more Republican district. Now he is in a district that includes parts of Oxnard and El Rio. Gorell had to act as if he was more moderate so he could grab so Democratic voters.

posted by Natalie on 8/10/12 @ 06:14 p.m.
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