During her campaign for City Council, Renée Golder has not made available to the public any statements about her Republican Party affiliation, nor has she publicly referenced being a landlord. The only public information about Golder being a landlord is contained in a City of Santa Cruz Application for Advisory Bodies she submitted in December of 2018. In the application, Golder stated, "I also have my real estate broker licence, own and manage 2 rental properties (one in the city)." (see photo and pdf file)
Records show Golder has had her Real Estate Broker License since 2005. (see photo)
Community members have doubted the plausibility of Renee Golder's mother registering her as a Republican and her not noticing. Voting records show Golder was registered as a Republican in 2000 and has voted in a dozen elections, including Republican primaries. She changed her party affiliation to Democratic in April of 2018. One local's response on social media to discussions about Golder's political affiliation stated, "That's right, she has voted in a dozen elections, including primaries, and she never noticed she was voting for a bunch of Republicans. Maybe if you aren't paying attention the names "Bernie Sanders" and "Hillary Clinton" look a lot like "Donald Trump.""
In 2018, Golder was closely involved with the No on M campaign to oppose rent control and other renter protections in the City of Santa Cruz. She appeared in a paid advertisement for Santa Cruz Together on social media, and was a signee in official elections materials to the "Rebuttal to Argument for Measure M".
As a signee, Golder described herself as follows: "Teacher, RTI Coordinator, Union Site Representative". She omitted any reference to being a landlord who owns multiple properties. (see photo).
There was a similar omission of Golder's status as a landlord in the paid advertisement in which she appeared for Santa Cruz Together. The caption in that ad describes Golder as a "union representative" as opposed to a "landlord". (see photo)
The same core group of individuals who Golder worked with in 2018 to oppose renter protections would go on to organize and fund the recall in 2019. Santa Cruz Together and Santa Cruz United have taken in more than half of its monetary contributions from real estate interets, many of whom are also funding Golder's campaign. By February 15, 2020, groups in support of the recall in Santa Cruz had raised $176,408 total in cash donations, while groups opposing the recall had only taken in $31,804. Of the City Council replacement candidates, Renée Golder had raised the most in cash donations at $28,426, Don Lane followed with $12,253, Katherine Beiers raised $10,499, and Tim Fitzmaurice raised $6,838. As for the Progressive Councilmembers targeted by the recall, Drew Glover raised $2,873, through February 15, and Councilmember Chirs Krohn has not had an open campaign committee since 2017.
Over the course of her candidacy, Golder has made conflicting statements about her support for the recall.
Golder stated in a podcast published by Santa Cruz Local on February 9, 2020:
"I don’t want to tell people how to vote on the recall, I was planning on running in November 2020. I only stepped into the race because I saw that nobody else was filing. If I had heard anyone else was running, I probably would have still waited ’til November to run."
In a podcast interview published on February 25, 2020 by discoverHER Radio, Golder stated:
"I hope that everyone will consider voting yes on the recall, consider voting for me, I'm also supporting Don Lane, although I'll see other candidates, Katherine and Tim are nice people also, so I just would like to see yes on the recall."
Progressive candidates Tim Fitzmaurice and Katherine Beiers have urged voters to vote "no" on the recall.
Golder's website prominently states, "Support the Recall," and on social media Golder posted a video of her husband giving very specific instructions on how to fill out the ballot in support of the recall. Golder also posted a photo on social media of her posing with the Santa Cruz United steering committee, along with the hashtag "supporttherecall" (see photo). Santa Cruz United has officially endorsed Golder's campaign, as well as that of Don Lane's. On the Santa Cruz United website, there is a place to sign up to receive Golder campaign signs. (see photo)
Golder has diverted the focus of her campaign materials to her work as a elementary school teacher, and a union representative.
On her advisory bodies application, Golder wrote, "My best learning experiences have come through travel".
"I've visited Brazil, Panama, Tahiti, Fiji, Cook Islands, New Zealand, Italy, Canada, Ireland. Plus I've been two or more times to Mexico, Costa Rica, Australia, Indonesia, England, Scotland, and France," Golder wrote on the application.
Golder has described the beginnings of her campaign as having been a casual decision, obscuring the fact she has been quietly groomed for political positions in the past by two former Mayors of Santa Cruz, both of whom actively worked to oppose rent control in 2018.
In her advisory bodies application from 2018, Golder entered the name of former City of Santa Cruz Mayor David Terrazas in the "Personal Reference" space on the form (see pdf), and according to a long-time friend, Golder was appointed to the City’s Public Safety Task Force "per [Mayor] Hilary Bryant’s request" in 2013.
Additionally, Golder ignored issues of transparency and racial justice by not making available any public statements explaining the photo of her and her husband dressed up like Native Americans at a party.