The stock market came crashing down – the prelude to long bread lines, and apples sold on the street corners of New York City. The hordes of unemployed were desperate. It was 1929 in America.
By the presidential election year of 1932, American voters were ready for a change. The landslide election of Franklin Delano Roosevelt brought to fruition all the dire predictions of the hardcore Republican Party. The bureaucracy grew – the NPA, CCC, WPA, Social Security, and more – as America became socialized as never before.
In Los Angeles, two men were destined to meet and change the political history of the state of California.
Ed Shattuck, a Republican activist, was a candidate for Congress in the 15th Congressional District in L.A. in 1932. During his campaign, his path crossed that of Robert Craig, who was managing the campaign of one of his opponents, A. Ronald Button.
When an angry Shattuck phoned to protest the uprooted signs that were dumped on his front lawn, he spoke with Craig. It was during this conversation that they found they had similar views on how to revitalize and reorganize the Republican Party in California.
They met after the November election at the Paris Inn Restaurant in Los Angeles. With notes recorded on a legal yellow lined pad, the stirrings of what would become the California Republican Assembly were conceived, formulated and discussed.
The experienced political background of these two men forged the foundation upon which the CRA was created.
The CRA’s first statewide organizational meeting was held in San Jose on February 11, 1934. Paul Mason of San Francisco was elected temporary chairman. On March 12, 1934 at a meeting in Fresno, Sherrill Halbert became CRA’s first President.
The following year, on July 12, 1935, the CRA was incorporated and set on a path to make political history.