Ron Nehring, California Republican Party Chairman (2007 - 2011) – LI’s Graduate and Faculty of the Week

December 23, 2011 | By Lauren Hart

Hailing from the Golden State, the former California Republican Party chairman works to advance conservatives in leadership throughout the state, country, and world because he knows the value of liberty. The only child of German immigrant parents who experienced the Cold War, Ron appreciates the light and delight that the “City on the Hill” brings to the world.

As California Republican Party (CRP) chairman, Ron and his team raised more than $73 million, permanently retired more $4 million in debt, and instituted a wide array of management and financial reforms in his four years before stepping down earlier this year due to term limits.  

“Leadership Institute training dramatically improves the effectiveness of any candidate, campaign staff member, or activist who attends.  Every day I take the principles we teach at the Leadership Institute and put them into practice,” Ron said.

“The Leadership Institute had a direct and very positive impact at every level of my career, starting with the very first LI training I attended as a 19-year-old College Republican in 1990,” Ron said. “While I studied political science in the classroom, the Leadership Institute taught me the value and importance of organization and communication, and how those skills directly contribute to individual success, as well as the advancement of the conservative movement.”

Before he was chairman of the CRP, Ron served as chairman of the Republican Party of San Diego County “specifically because I said that if elected I would apply the campaign methodologies taught at the Leadership Institute.  During my tenure, we did precisely that, and in the course of so doing we built one of the largest and most successful county Republican committees in America,” Ron explained.  

Ron took three LI trainings: Student Publications School in February 1990; Youth Leadership School in March 1990; and Broadcast Journalism School in June 1993.


Ron has served as LI faculty at more than 33 trainings in the U.S. and abroad from places as various as Texas, Hawaii, England, Washington, D.C., Minnesota, California, Louisiana, Colorado, New York, Tennessee, and New Mexico.

Ron is a past chairman of the Republican National Committee’s State Chairmen’s Committee.

From 2005 to 2006 Ron was appointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger as a member of the California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection.  

From 2004 to 2006, he was a member of the Grossmont Union High School District Board of Trustees, where he proposed a bold plan to transform all of the district’s 11 high schools into charter schools to be managed by boards elected by parents of the children attending each school.

In 2003, Ron was unanimously chosen by his peers to serve as president of the California Republican County Chairmen’s Association. “I know my fellow chairmen appreciated how we institutionalized the sharing of information and political technology.  I learned the importance of sharing such valuable information from my work with LI,” Ron said.

During his term, the association took on major new roles in providing professional training and support for county chairmen, sharing information between counties, and serving as a strong advocate for increasing support for volunteers through 58 county committees.

“When I moved to San Diego in 2000 we held a Leadership Institute school in San Diego, and I invited local activists to participate,” Ron said.  “A few months later, when a change of leadership was coming to the county Republican Party, I was recruited to run for chairman, and I developed a plan for the county party based on what we teach at the Leadership Institute.  I was elected by acclamation, and we put those plans into action.”

In 2001, when Ron was elected chairman of the Republican Party of San Diego unanimously, the county was one of America's largest counties with a population exceeding more than a dozen states.  During his chairmanship: fundraising increased more than twenty-fold; support for local candidates surged; and the party pioneered the largest, ongoing Republican voter turnout program in California.  Ron inherited a committee long in debt, and through a combination of strong fundraising and solid financial management, he left it with large cash reserves and debt-free.

Ron is a former president of his College Republican club, and is a first generation American born here in the Land of the Free.

“I’m the only child of two German immigrant parents.  My father was a sailor in the German merchant marines, and when he left at age 26 he decided that of all the places he had seen as a sailor, he most wanted to raise a family in the freedom he saw defined America,” Ron reflected.

“During the Cold War, my parents watched as Germany remained divided and the East was dominated by the Soviet Union.  My father saw little difference in between the socialists in Europe and the Democrats here in America in that both groups wanted government prerogative to supplant individual liberty,” Ron said.

“When I got to the State University of New York at Stony Brook, I immediately joined the College Republicans and while there, I learned of the Leadership Institute,” Ron said.
 
“I traveled to Washington the next year to attend my first LI school,” Ron remembered.  “It was at this first training that I met Morton Blackwell and my first LI faculty, and I finally felt like there were others in the country who shared my conservative ideas, and more importantly, wanted to teach me how to win.  I was hooked.”

Come get “hooked” on how to win like Ron was by registering for an upcoming Leadership Institute training. Ron might even be one of your faculty members.


“The best part about teaching at Leadership Institute trainings is the people who attend – both the participants, and the faculty.  LI training becomes a one- or two-day learning and networking event benefitting everyone in the room,” Ron said.  

“I really enjoy meeting the candidates, activists, and future campaign staff who take the time to attend and learn what it takes to win,” he continued. “By being there, they’ve already shown they have a level of commitment and they recognize the importance of organizing and communicating so we can leave prepared to defeat the left.”
 
To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate to be featured as LI's graduate of the week, please contact LI's External Affairs Officer Lauren Hart at LaurenHart@LeadershipInstitute.org.