Every year, the CAGOP convention has a theme. Last year, for example, it was “Together We Win.” It’s always something that is a stated goal that doesn’t have the bluntness of “Beat the Democrats” or something like that to it.
The theme this year is ‘Golden Opportunities.” And it makes sense. California’s Republican Party has improved significantly since 2018. The four OC House seats they lost that year have been mostly won back. The remaining seat, the 47th District, is being vacated by Katie Porter next year to focus on her Senate run, with the top Republican, Scott Baugh, currently likely to face state Senator Dave Min (D-Orange County), who has been bogged down by a recent DUI scandal. For the Senate seat, Republican Eric Early is currently in position to make it past the primary, thanks in party to a three way split Democratic race there.
Presidential hopefuls are also looking at the Golden Opportunity in the state. Should Donald Trump face even more legal woes, his current strong showing in California could be his saving grace come Super Tuesday. Other Republicans see that high delegate count, and also see opportunity here, with DeSantis, Scott, and Vikram among them.
The convention floor of the Anaheim Marriot is lined with hopefuls both big and small. Posters are everywhere for candidates, and there is a buzz here that really hasn’t been seen at the convention for some time. While this may be because of Trump, DeSantis, and others making stops here, people are talking more and more about the what-ifs. Less people talked about wanting to get a certain percentage as a goal, and more people began talking about actually winning.
Walking down the aisles on Friday morning, the news Dianne Feinstein’s death was discussed. People speculated who Newsom would pick, but, generally, the conversation seemed to return to the wider Senate race. And that’s where it all seemed to head back to: the choices coming up.
“There’s something different this year,” said one delegate to the Globe. “It felt good last year and the year before, and those years we put Newsom to the screws with a recall and then brought more House seats in California to the GOP. And this year, it continues to build. I mean, all the major candidates are coming here for this. California is a really important primary state. And while we are not the dominant party, we are building fast.”
The sentiment was shared by Sandra, an attendee.
“We’re here for Trump, because he is all but certain to win the state,” Sandra said. “But we’re also here for all the candidates. Everyone in the GOP is getting a better showing, and this year, this close to the primaries, we want our people in the race.”
“Look at Trump alone. The whole ballroom is sold out and supporters are lining the street for him. Nobody expects California to have that kind of support level for Republicans, but we are really showing it this year. I think we are going to have some surprises for people this year.”
The theme of this year is, so far, living up to it’s name.
The Convention is to continue on until October 1st in Anaheim.
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