Exclusive – Shawn Steel on Ballot Harvesting in California: Republicans Must ‘Adapt or Die’

 Shawn Steel, Republican National Committee member from California and husband of Rep. Michelle Steel (R-CA), said in an interview aired on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Sunday that Republicans must “adapt or die” in the Golden State with respect to legalized ballot harvesting.

“It’s a different game because of ballot harvesting,” Steel told Breitbart News Senior Editor-at-Large Joel Pollak. “Several states, they outlawed it in the last two years. I don’t like it, but since that’s the rule in California, you have to adapt or die, and so we’ve adapted it. We’re not ashamed of it, because that’s explicitly the law.”

Steel explained how his wife utilized ballot harvesting as part of her successful reelection campaign in California’s 48th Congressional District. Steel’s campaign secured votes through ballot harvesting in Korean and Vietnamese churches.


Ballot harvesting in churches, he added, built trust with Republican voters wary of the trustworthiness of such a process. He said working through “church elders” gave Korean-American and Vietnamese-American churchgoers “a great deal of comfort” related the chain of custody of their votes.

“The custody chain is clear-cut,” he remarked, emphasizing the importance of building trust with Republican voters towards the ballot harvesting process over previous elections. “Same thing in the Vietnamese community and the Korean community, and it turns out that it’s a matter [of] does the person trust the person that you’re giving your ballot to? That’s a big part of it.”

He added, “Now we have several generations, after three election cycles that [think to themselves], ‘Yeah, I can give it to this organization. I know they’ll take care of my ballot. I know they’re doing the right thing.'”

Steel noted that his wife won her reelection bid in a district with many immigrants-turned-citizens. He recalled that California’s 48th Congressional District is a “plus-five Democrat seat” and that “Biden carried it by six points” in the 2020 presidential election.

Michelle Steel, Republican United States representative from California (Michelle Steel)


“Forty percent of the folks In Michelle’s district — in Northwest Orange County — were born outside of America,” he stated. “They became American citizens, legally. They bought homes. They owned businesses and got their kids to a good school, and these are middle-class homes, not fancy homes on the beach, but smaller homes in Buena Park and such.”

Steel said his wife’s campaign was staunchly “anti-communist,” resonating with immigrant Americans whose family histories were affected by communist governments abroad.

He stated, “By knocking on 200,000 doors, campaigning in seven languages, and fiercely taking on the Chinese Communist Party … literally, it was the most anti-communist campaign in America, because her opponent was a proponent of the Confucius Institute and got his master’s degree at the University of Peking.”

Pollak asked about Democrat and left-wing framing of “Republicans as white conservative racists.”

Steel replied, “That’s always been a myth. For example … the largest community of Vietnamese outside of Vietnam in the world is in Orange County, and largely in Michelle’s district. Trump got better votes — higher votes — there two years ago, in Westminster and in Newport Beach. There was intense joy in the Vietnamese community.”

“The Democrats keep having these broad-based stereotypes [about immigrants],” he added. “We’re talking about a mostly hard-working people that jealously guard their families and their children, that love their homes, and appreciate this country. The Democrats put them in some kind of category, ‘They’re oppressed. They’re angry. They’re upset.’ That’s nonsense.”

He went on, “Those [stereotypes] come from university Asians who are teaching in schools [and] who are just predictably left-wing and hate America, but it’s not true with the common person on the street.”

Steel concluded by describing a demographic coalition Republicans can court to win back congressional seats in the United States House of Representatives whose districts overlap with Orange County, California.

“There’s an alliance between immigrants, between middle class, between working class, the likes of which we have seen in Orange County before,” he determined.

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