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Tim Donnelly (politician)

Timothy Michael "Tim" Donnelly (born May 9, 1966) is an American politician who was a Republican[1] member of the California State Assembly, representing the 59th and 33rd districts. Before his election to the Assembly in November 2010, Donnelly was a small businessman. He resides in Twin Peaks, California.[2] On January 22, 2013, Donnelly announced his intention to seek the Republican nomination for Governor of California in the 2014 election. He placed third in the open primary, behind Jerry Brown and Neel Kashkari, who contested the election in November 2014.

Tim Donnelly
Tim Donnelly.jpg
Member of the California State Assembly
from the 33rd district
59th district (2010–2012)
In office
December 6, 2010 – November 30, 2014
Preceded by Anthony Adams
Succeeded by Jay Obernolte
Personal details
Born (1966-05-09) May 9, 1966 (age 51)
Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Rowena Donnelly
Alma mater University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
University of California, Irvine



Donnelly was born in Atlanta, Georgia and raised in Berkley, Michigan, the third of 14 children. Donnelly graduated from Southfield Christian School in 1984. He attended the University of Michigan for a year and earned a bachelor's degree in English from the University of California, Irvine in 1989.[3][4] After college he worked in a family business. Five years later, Donnelly started his own company.[5]

Donnelly is married to Rowena Donnelly who is of Filipino descent. They have five children.[6]

Political careerEdit

Minuteman ProjectEdit

In 2005, Donnelly became involved with the Minuteman movement,[3][7] and founded the Minuteman Party in California. He stepped down from the Minutemen to return to private life in 2006.[3]

Election to the California AssemblyEdit

In 2009, following the announcement that embattled 59th District Assemblyman Anthony Adams would not seek re-election, Donnelly announced his candidacy. Appealing to Tea Party voters, he ran in the 2010 semi-closed primary election,[8] and won the Republican nomination. He won the general election on November 2, 2010, with 57.3% of the vote, to the Democratic Party nominee's 36.8%.[9]

Pedro RamirezEdit

On March 21, 2011, Donnelly went from Sacramento to Fresno to call for the resignation of California State University, Fresno student body president Pedro Ramirez during a hearing of the school's student senate committee. Ramirez is a Mexican illegal alien who was on the school's dean's list. He "was injured in a car crash in January 2011" while "driving an intoxicated friend home when he crashed into a tree." Though Ramirez had been sober, "He was investigated for driving without a license" — which is "...a misdemeanor (12500(a) CVC) for which he will likely end up paying a small fine." (Illegal aliens are not permitted to hold driver's licenses.) Donnelly was subsequently "...heckled..." by the audience of the student body.[10]

Veto of AB 2109Edit

On September 28, 2012, Donnelly spoke at a bi-partisan Medical Freedom Rally with actor Rob Schneider urging Governor Jerry Brown to veto AB2109. AB2109 makes it more difficult for parents to utilize philosophical exemptions for exemptions from mandatory childhood vaccines. While the bill was not vetoed, Governor Brown added a signing message instructing the Department of Health to add a religious exemption and to make sure the process is not overly burdensome to parents.[11][12][13][14]

Audit of Child Protective ServicesEdit

Donnelly called for an audit of California's Child Protective Services along with Assemblyman Mike Gatto, following the case of Sammy Nikolayev, who was removed from his parents' home after his parents wanted a second opinion regarding medical treatment.[15] The Joint Legislative Audit Committee voted unanimously to audit CPS in three counties in the state of California on June 5.[year missing][16]

Passage of Liberty Preservation ActEdit

In 2013, Donnelly authored AB 351, the "Liberty Preservation Act." The law prevents “local entities from knowingly using state funds ... to engage in any activity that aids an agency of the Armed Forces of the United States in the detention of any person within California for purposes of implementing Sections 1021.” The bill achieved overwhelming, bipartisan support in the California Legislature, and was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown.[17] AB 351 was backed by the Taxpayers for Improving Public Safety, the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, the Tenth Amendment Center, the California American Civil Liberties Union, San Francisco Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, the Libertarian Party of California, and the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors.[18] The Liberty Preservation Act prevents any state agency from indefinitely detaining American citizens, a key provision of Obama's National Defense Authorization Act.[17] Donnelly stated, "“Indefinite detention, by its very definition, means we are throwing away the basic foundations of our Constitution.” He added, AB 351 "will prevent California from implementing indefinite detention for any reason.” [17]

TSA incidentEdit

On January 4, 2012, Donnelly had a loaded Colt handgun while attempting to board an airplane. TSA security screeners discovered the gun in his carry-on luggage.[19][20][21][22] Donnelly agreed to a plea bargain, one count of carrying a loaded firearm into a city without a concealed weapons permit and one count of possession of a prohibited item in a sterile area. He was sentenced to three years of probation, a $2,215 fine, and is prohibited from using, owning or possessing any firearm that is not registered to him.[23]

Sharia Law ControversyEdit

Controversy erupted when Tim Donnelly posted comments on his Facebook page accusing his primary opponent Neel Kashkari of supporting the imposition of Sharia Law in the United States, as Undersecretary of the Treasury. The comments drew swift rebukes from other Republicans and Muslim groups.[24] Kashkari is a Pandit Hindu and not a Muslim, only adding to the opprobrium Donnelly's statements received.[25] Representative U.S. Rep Darrel Issa (R-Dana Point) said "As far as I'm concerned, this type of stupidity disqualifies Tim Donnelly from being fit to hold any office, anywhere,"[24] California Republican Party Vice-chair Harmeet Dhillon told the Los Angeles Times the Donnelly post was an attempt "to trade on bigotry, racism, hatred of the other, hysteria."[26] California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CA) called on "Republican leaders to repudiate the anti-Muslim Facebook posting of a California assemblyman and gubernatorial candidate. It is a shame that an elected official uses xenophobic and anti-Muslim rhetoric to discredit a member of his own party," states CAIR-CA in an email. "Mr. Donnelly not only demonized his opponent, but also alienated the entire Muslim electorate. We urge responsible leaders of the Republican Party to repudiate Mr. Donnelly's smear campaign and to marginalize any member of their party who uses such divisive and hateful discourse."[24]

Hispanic Insurgency SpeechEdit

A 2006 speech by Tim Donnelly surfaced in April 2014, in which Donnelly referred to a "Hispanic insurgency" which he compared to the war in Iraq.[27] The speech drew strong rebuke from former U.S. Treasurer Rosario Marin, who said "I am just appalled. It's an embarrassment not only to himself but to the party and the efforts I am involved in at the national level … to elect Latino Republicans. This … makes my job that much more difficult." Primary Republican opponent Neel Kashkari reacted with a statement, "“Once again Assemblyman Donnelly’s comments are outrageous and divisive. This is not who we are as Republicans and is not who we are as Californians. We need positive leadership that unites us to tackle the serious challenges that California families face.” [28]

2014 Governor ElectionEdit

On January 22, 2013, Donnelly announced his bid for California's governorship. He was defeated in the 2014 Primary Election by fellow Republican Neel Kashkari, who faced incumbent Governor Jerry Brown in the 2014 General Election. During his campaign, Donnelly received an endorsement for governor from Hollywood actor Rob Schneider.[29] In the June Primary, Jerry Brown won with 54.5% of the vote and Neel Kashkari came in second with 19.0% of the vote, qualifying for the general election. Donnelly came in third with 14.8% of the vote.[30] Donnelly pointedly refused to ask his supporters to support the Republican winner, Neel Kashkari. Neel Kashkari later complimented Donnelly in a statement: "“He has worked tirelessly for the last 18 months, and I commend the dedication of him and his supporters. Beginning tonight, Republicans must come together, support one another and focus our energy on changing Sacramento.”[31]


  • Donnelly was elected to the California State Assembly in 2010
  • Donnelly was reelected to the California State Assembly in 2012
  • Donnelly was a candidate for California Governor in 2014
  • Donnelly was a candidate for the 8th Congressional District of California in the 2016 primary and finished third - failing to advance to the general election.

Television appearancesEdit

On June 21, 2007, Donnelly appeared on The Colbert Report.[32] In a satirical segment entitled Difference Makers, Donnelly and his Minutemen group were videotaped building a small fence along the United States border with Mexico.

On December 5, 2011, Tim Donnelly was interviewed by John Oliver, a correspondent for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart in an appearance where he discussed California's budget shortfalls along with John L. Burton, the chairman of the California Democratic Party regarding direct democracy in California.[33]


  1. ^ Asimov, Nanette (7 January 2011). "Assembly bill caps public worker pensions". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 14 January 2011. 
  2. ^ "Brown holds budget summit in Sacramento". The Orange County Register. 8 December 2010. Retrieved 14 January 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c "Biography". Retrieved nd.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  4. ^ Siders, David (March 29, 2014). "Tim Donnelly gives voice to conservative anxieties in a liberal state". The Sacramento Bee. Retrieved 2 May 2014. 
  5. ^ "Tim Donnelly Biography". Retrieved 24 February 2011. 
  6. ^ Carroll, Rory (27 April 2014). "Candidate from Twin Peaks threatens Republican bid to 'tone down the crazy'". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 May 2014. 
  7. ^ McNary, Sharon (16 September 2005). "Border friends, foes to face off". The Press-Enterprise. Retrieved 14 January 2011. 
  8. ^ Gang, Duane W. (20 May 2010). "Ten candidates on ballot for 59th Assembly District". The Press-Enterprise. Retrieved 24 February 2011. 
  9. ^ "2010 General Election Statement of Vote: State Assemblymember" (PDF). Secretary of State of California. 6 January 2011. p. 84. Retrieved 24 February 2011. 
  10. ^ "Tim Donnelly's Revolution". LA Weekly. 10 October 2010. Retrieved 10 October 2010. 
  11. ^ Video of Donnelly speaking at the rally
  12. ^ "Rob Schneider and Tim Donnelly". Vimeo. 
  13. ^ AB2109 signing message from Governor Jerry Brown. retrieved from
  14. ^ Massimino, M. (2012, September 28)"AM Alert: Rob Schneider, Tim Donnelly Team Up On Vaccinations".The Sacramento Bee. [1]
  15. ^ Assemblyman Tim Donnelly says CPS should be audited after handling of Nikolayev family case |
  16. ^ Sammy Nikolayev CPS case triggers statewide audit |
  17. ^ a b c "Jerry Brown Signs California Ban On Indefinite Detentions". The Huffington Post. 
  18. ^ "Governor Signs California Indefinite Detention Nullification Bill". 
  19. ^ "Lawmaker Tries To Bring Loaded Gun On Plane To Sac". kcra. 4 January 2012. Retrieved 4 January 2012. 
  20. ^ "Assemblyman says he mistakenly brought gun to flight". Los Angeles Times. 4 January 2012. Retrieved 4 January 2012. 
  21. ^ "Calif. lawmaker cited after agents find loaded gun in carry-on bag before flight". Washington Post. 4 January 2012. Retrieved 4 January 2012. 
  22. ^ "Tim Donnelly apparently has no permit to carry loaded gun". Sacramento Bee. 6 January 2012. Retrieved 8 January 2012. 
  23. ^ "S.B. COUNTY: Donnelly pleads no contest, gets probation, fine for airport gun". The Press-Enterprise. 26 March 2012. Retrieved 3 June 2012. 
  24. ^ a b c "Darrell Issa Calls GOP Governor Candidate Tim Donnelly "Stupid," "Unfit for Any Office"", Orange County Weekly, May 9, 2014
  25. ^
  26. ^ "Donnelly ties GOP rival Kashkari to Sharia law", Los Angeles Times, May 6, 2014
  27. ^ "Republican Candidate For California Governor Compared Securing The Border To War In 2006 Speech", BuzzFeed Politics, April 8, 2014,
  28. ^ "Republicans could slide further with women, Latinos" Los Angeles Times, April 9, 2014
  29. ^ Chumley, Cheryl (1 October 2013). "Hollywood star Rob Schneider turns Republican, citing Democratic ‘disaster’". Washington Times. Retrieved 26 February 2014. 
  30. ^ California Secretary of State Election Web site, Accessed June 4, 2014
  31. ^ Los Angeles Times, June 4, 2014
  32. ^ Difference Makers, Comedy Central, 21 June 2007, retrieved 19 December 2011 
  33. ^ "'Daily Show' skewers Tim Donnelly, California ballot rules". Pasadena Star-News. 6 December 2011. Retrieved 19 December 2011. 

External linksEdit