The election of Ariana Rowlands as Chair took place at the California Republican Party Convention in Anaheim in October 2017. The electoral season of 2017 was mired in controversy; at Convention 2017 in April, then-Chair Ivy Allen failed to advance through the legislative agenda and onto elections before the reservation for the Convention Hall ended. The time had expired due to Allen invalidating delegates from schools that had endorsed Rowlands, and Ms. Rowlands then spent 3 hours of the session arguing to restore proper voting rights. In a speech after being ejected from the room, Allen promised to find another time to convene the voting delegates to continue the election. Allen resigned in August, whereupon Leesa Danzek ascended to the Chairmanship from being Co-Chair. Danzek, a candidate for Chair herself in the 2017 election, remained mostly silent on scheduling a 2017 election while Rowlands contacted the California Republican Party (CRP) to step in. The CRP scheduled a special election event for CCR at the CRP convention in October 2017. Rowlands won the election with 88-64 votes in her favor.
While in office, Rowlands raised $22,000, lifting CCR out of debt. Her administration also chartered 15 new or returning chapters, grew social media channels and increased followership by over 1,000, created a new website complete with a CCR merchandise store and historical archive, held the largest annual convention in CCR history in 2018 with over 220 attendees, garnered national news coverage, fought off 3 campus administrations in their attempts to stifle free expression, and implemented measures to divert power away from the Chairman (such as the Judicial Board) and keep CCR transparent and accountable. Additionally, the administration implemented a new logo and was the first administration to provide customized flags, pens, and other materials to chapters throughout the state. Rowlands also was the first to connect regional and statewide CCR chapters via facebook groups, encouraging chapters to collaborate on events rather than keep to themselves.
Unfortunately, Rowlands was criticized for her strong leadership and democratic reforms, and many CRs attempted to undermine her administration's achievements. In 2018, following a decisive re-election, the Rowlands Administration was bogged down in controversy over a question of UCSD chartering materials. Opponents argued Ms. Rowlands and her Communications Director, Dylan Martin, had staged a coup against the existing UCSD club. Ms. Rowlands denied involvement, and Mr. Martin believed his actions in taking over the charter of UCSD were justified. Rowlands supported an arbitration effort between the parties, which led to two judicial board cases; Mr. Martin and his new UCSD club emerged victorious. In response to the UCSD outcome and in fear of their desired candidates not winning in the upcoming 2019 CCR election, 10 chapters declared explicit dissociation, resulting in the termination of the term of office for several Executive Committee members.
Despite the challenges of her administration, Rowlands left a lasting legacy to the structure and discourse of CCR. She was regarded as a team player and an accomplished leader, and her critics have faded into obscurity. For her achievements, she was recognized on the Washington Examiner’s “30 Under 30” list and awarded the “Top 100 Most Influential People Award” in 2016 and 2017 by the OC Register.
Above: Chairwoman Ariana Rowlands and Milo Yiannopoulos pictured with the largest CCR Convention delegation thereto recorded in CCR history, April 2018 (source: Communications Director Dylan Martin).
In no particular order:
Ariana Rowlands, Chairman (2017-2019)
Christian Chacon, Co-Chair (2017-2018), Administrative Vice Chair (2018-2018)
Andrew Gates, Chief of Staff (2017-2018), Co-Chair (2018-2019)
Leslie Garcia, Secretary (2017-2018), Executive Director (2018-2019)
Dylan Martin, Communications Director (2018-2019), San Diego Vice Chair (2019-2019)
Madison Marks-Noble, Membership Director (2018-2018), Associate Justice (2018-2018)
Kimo Gandall, Parliamentarian (2017-2019), Co-Chair (2019-2019), Chief Justice (2018- )
Matthew Vitale, Deputy Southern Vice Chair (2017-2018), Secretary (2018-2019), Associate Justice (2018-)
Rajeev Oak, Chief of Staff (2018-2018)
John Rice-Cameron, Activism Director (2018-2019)
Sarah Morcott, Northern Vice Chair (2018-2019)
Matt Ronnau, Bay Area Vice Chair (2018-2019)
Ryan Gardiner, Capitol Vice Chair (2018-2019)
Brice Adams, Capitol Vice Chair (2019-2019)
Floyd Johnson II, Capitol Vice Chair (2017-2018), Deputy Capitol Vice Chair (2018-2019), Chief of Staff (2018-2019)
Richard Zierer, Central Coast Vice Chair (2018-2019)
Caroline Martin, Central Coast Vice Chair (2019-2019)
Samantha Emmerson, Central Valley Vice Chair (2017-2018)
Katherine Rueckert, Central Coast Vice Chair (2017-2018)
Hannah Stanford, Treasurer (2018-2019)
Ryan Pavey, Administrative Vice Chair (2018-2019)
Tyler Fowlkes, Los Angeles Vice Chair (2018-2018)
Jordan Sadlier, Deputy Los Angeles Vice Chair (2018-2019)
Brandon Jones, Treasurer (2018-2018)
Panagiotis Frousiakis, Southern Vice Chair (2018-2019), Executive Director (2019-2019)
Drew Olbrantz, San Diego Vice Chair (2018-2018)
Christopher Casillas, Central Valley Vice Chair (2018-2019)
Paloma Chacon, Souther Vice Chair (2019-2019)
Noah Ritter, Southern Vice Chair (2017-2018)
Joel Miskiel, Communications Director (2018-2018)
Vincent Wetzel, Communications Director (2017-2017)
Committee Chairmen: Noah Ritter (Public Resources – later renamed Marketing, 2017-2018), Dylan Martin (Public Resources – later renamed Marketing, 2018-2019), Sara Garcia (Resolutions, 2018-2019), Panagiotis Frousiakis (Credentials, 2018-2019), Andrew Gates (Platform, 2018-2018), Philip Eykamp (Platform, 2018-2019), Kimo Gandall (Judicial, 2017-2018), Madison Marks-Noble (Constitutional Review, 2018-2018)
Paying Off Debt
Upon assuming office, Rowlands went on a fundraising spree. The Allen and Danzek Administrations had spent exorbitant amounts of money to hold convention in fancy locations, pay for CR parties, and host open bars, among other things. Rowlands raised $22,000 and payed off the costs left behind by Allen and Danzek, lifting CCR out of debt with a nice surplus left over.
The Rowlands Administration chartered 15 new or returning chapters over its two terms, helping in part to spread the conservative message to more college campuses and students across California.
Growth of Online Presence
Rowlands and her media team successfully grew social media channels and increased followership by over 1,000. Rowlands also was the first to connect regional and statewide CCR chapters via facebook groups, encouraging chapters to collaborate on events rather than keep to themselves. Additionally, under Communications Directors Joel Miskiel and Dylan Martin, the Administration launched a new website. In 2018, Director Martin implemented a CCR merchandise store and historical archive.
Largest Convention Ever
The Rowlands Administration held the largest annual convention in CCR history in 2018 with over 220 attendees. It was hosted at UC Santa Barbara, the first convention to be hosted on a campus in several years. Milo Yiannopoulos was the keynote banquet speaker. Other notable speakers included National Republican Committeeman Shawn Steel, David Blair, and Cabot Phillips, among others. After the opening convention speech by Ms. Rowlands, a number of CRs walked out to protest her leadership. Rowlands, however, was re-elected decisively. Notable legislation adopted at convention included a new CCR constitution, which added the San Diego Vice Chair and the Judicial Board, among other things.
News Coverage, Deployments, and Lawsuit Wins
The Rowlands Administration garnered national news coverage, especially as it fought off 3 campus administrations in their attempts to stifle free expression. The Executive Committee hosted several statewide deployments as well; deployments against Josh Newman were especially successful. Central Valley Vice Chair Christopher Casillas spearheaded a “Triple Threat” deployment series for local candidates, and Southern Vice Chair Panagiotis Frousiakis organized the “Summer of Activism” deployments for then-Congressman Dana Rohrabacher and other local candidates. Then-Capitol Vice Chair Ryan Gardiner also hosted successful deployments for local candidates such as Bonnie Gore.
The Rowlands Administration was the first administration to provide customized flags, pens, and other materials to chapters throughout the state.
The California College Republicans branding in 2014 was largely lacking in personality and identifiability. The Executive Board under Rowlands thus commissioned the then-Public Resources Committee (later Marketing Committee) to re-examine the logo/ brand and recommend to the board a replacement.
Between January 27 and February 18, 2018, at which point the PR Committee was inactive, CCR Chairwoman Ariana Rowlands reached out to then-Committeeman Dylan Martin and Commissioned him to finish a CCR logo pitch for the board. The proposed, and now current, logo was ratified by the Executive Board and implemented on February 18, 2018. The logo was codified into the bylaws of the organization shortly before Convention 2018.
Updates and New Procedures
The Rowlands Administration made it a priority to make documents streamlined and accessible. Prior to Rowlands, the CCR Bylaws were virtually unobtainable; now, they are prominently featured on the CCR website. Membership Director Madison Marks-Noble helped spearhead a complete audit and reorganization of membership lists, making them easily accessible to future administrations. Parliamentarian Kimo Gandall helped to lead amendments and rewrites of CCR documents to rectify inconsistencies, increase democracy and fairness, and establish clearer procedures. Another part of these updates was to rededicate the Board of Director’s (BOD) session to its core mission: training club executive board officers and performing an annual review of the CCR bylaws; in the past, BOD had been open to all CRs and was viewed as an informal state party opportunity.