California Republicans are Convening. What to Know As the State GOP Tries to Flip Its Fortunes

The Republican Party has a storied history in California. The launching pad for Presidents Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon, the state remains home to many of the party’s wealthiest donors as well as nearly 5.3 million registered GOP voters (more than the population of 28 states). But the party has been in decline for many years, both in membership and ballot box success.

As California Republicans prepare to gather for their convention in Anaheim, here’s a look at the GOP, its upcoming electoral prospects and the stakes this weekend:

What’s the state of the GOP in California?

By the numbers, it’s dire.

Democrats had a nearly 23-percentage point voter registration edge over Republicans as of March. Voters who express no party preference have nearly caught up with the GOP in voter registration.

The Republican Party last elected statewide candidates in 2006 (Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner). It currently holds less than a quarter of state legislative seats and less than a fifth of the state’s congressional delegation. Last year’s effort to recall Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, which drew great enthusiasm among conservatives because enough voters signed petitions to qualify it for the ballot, failed by nearly 24 points.

Do conservative voters have any reasons for hope?

Despite its overwhelmingly Democratic tilt, the state is home to many conservatives. Former President Trump received more than 6 million votes in California in 2020 — the most of any state.

Republicans are hopeful because the GOP is widely expected to retake control of Congress due to President Biden’s low approval ratings, rising inflation and the historic trend that the party that controls the White House typically loses seats in the first midterm election during its tenure.

That means that Bakersfield’s Kevin McCarthy, the current House GOP leader and a devoted Trump ally, has a strong shot of becoming the next speaker of the House — second in line for the presidency after the vice president. He would also take the speaker’s gavel from San Francisco Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi, who is reviled among conservatives.

However, his prospects may have dimmed in the aftermath of audio released Thursday night that shows that four days after the Jan. 6 insurrection at the nation’s Capitol, McCarthy told top Republican House leaders that he planned to call President Trump.

“The only discussion I would have with him is I think [an impeachment resolution] would pass and it would be my recommendation you should resign,” McCarthy says in the audio recording provided to MSNBC by the New York Times reporters who wrote a book that contains those details. “I mean that would be my take, but I don’t think he would take it. But I don’t know.”

The New York Times first reported the remark Thursday; McCarthyissued a statement saying the reporting was “totally false.”

McCarthy is scheduled to address delegates on Saturday.

Click here to read the full article at LA Times

GOP Convention: Trump’s foes clash with backers outside gathering

As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle:

Presidential candidate Donald Trump was forced to abandon his motorcade on the side of a freeway, scramble up a hillside and slip into a side entrance of the hotel hosting the California GOP convention Friday as hundreds of angry protesters surrounded the building and did their best to disrupt the Republican frontrunner’s speech.

Credit: sfgate.com

Credit: sfgate.com

Trump joked about his roundabout entrance to the convention, saying it felt like he was “crossing the border” — but the rambunctious demonstrators outside saw no humor in it all as they scuffled with police, threw eggs and blocked roads around the Hyatt Regency in Burlingame.

Antoinette Chen See, 34, one of several protesters who formed a human chain on Old Bayshore Road outside the hotel, said she came out to try to deny Trump a platform in the Bay Area for what she called his racist rhetoric.

“We have a failed system in which someone who is so antiblack, so anti-Muslim and so anti-immigrant is allowed to be a viable candidate for president,” she said. About the chains linking her to her fellow protesters, she said: “They are not comfortable, but it’s worth it.”

Some Trump backers

Presidential candidates Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Gov. John Kasich of Ohio were also scheduled to speak at the convention, but it was Trump who drew the most ire from demonstrators Friday before, during and after his noontime speech. Coming just one day after protests at one of the billionaire’s campaign stops in Southern California turned violent, police were on high alert. …

Click here to read the full story

Trump Has Big Lead in New California Poll


In a new poll on the eve of two crucial primary votes in Ohio and Florida, Donald J. Trump has a commanding lead among Republicans in California, which is the state with the largest single remaining source of delegates on the path to the Party’s nomination for President.

When matched with his three other contenders: Ted Cruz, John Kasich, and Marco Rubio, Trump wins the “closed” California Republican primary with 38.3%  of the GOP vote, compared to 22.4% for Cruz, 19.7% for Kasich, and 10.1% for Rubio.  Voters registering an “undecided” opinion were 9.6%.  Trump’s almost 16% advantage over Cruz is statistically significant and well above the margin of error of the poll, which is 4.8%.  The poll results demonstrate that Trump’s standing among Republicans in the Golden State has grown significantly in the last two months.  (In January, in a similar poll using a smaller sample size, the Field Organization pegged Ted Cruz as the leader in California, 25% to 23% for Trump.)  Trump’s lead is commanding in all four “Board of Equalization” districts across the state, suggesting if the election were held today, that he would win in virtually all of the state’s Congressional Districts and capture all of the state’s delegates.

Donald Trump

A total of 172 delegates to the Republican National Convention are up for grabs in the 2016 California primary election, more than 7% of all delegates who will decide the next Republican Presidential nominee, and 14% of the delegates needed to win the nomination.

The poll was commissioned by Landslide Communications.   This new Landslide Communication’s California Poll of Republican Presidential Preferences of likely Republican voters in the 2016 primary election is the second such poll to be released.  In early February, 2015, Landslide released a similar poll showing Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker leading in the state, with similar results confirmed in a subsequent Field Organization poll a week later using a smaller sample size.

Poll Frequencies, NSON Opinion Research’s Summary, and Demographic Cross Tabs are available for download at the end of this article.

Further Details on Landslide’s California Poll appear below.

 California’s importance in 2016 Presidential election to Republicans:

California is a decidedly “blue” state in which Democratic Governor Jerry Brown recently won re-election by over one million votes, bucking a national trend that favored Republicans.  And a Republican candidate for President has not won the state of California since 1988.

However, because California is the largest state in the union by population, with 53 Congressional districts, California has a very large delegation up for grabs for GOP presidential contenders at the next Republican National Convention.

There will likely be a total of 2,461 delegates at the 2016 GOP Convention. California is allotted 172 of those delegates, about 7% of the total. Of California’s delegates, 10 are awarded to the candidate who wins the statewide vote. In addition, a candidate who finishes first in any one of California’s 53 Congressional districts is awarded 3 delegates. The state party chairman and two national committee members are also delegates.  The winning margin at the Republican National Convention will be 1,230 delegates. Theoretically, a candidate who could sweep California’s Republican Presidential primary election could count on the state to deliver just over 14% of the total delegates needed for victory.

List of Presidential contenders in poll:

Poll participants were read a randomized list of the 4 candidates to choose from.

Poll questions:

The poll questions were prepared by James V. Lacy, Managing Partner of Landslide Communications, Inc.  Landslide is one of the largest producers of election slate mail in California. Lacy is the author of the book “Taxifornia” and editor and contributing author of “Taxifornia 2016: 14 Essays on the Future of California” available at Amazon.com, and is a frequent guest commentator on California issues on Fox Business News Channel’s “Varney & Company.” Lacy is also an election law and nonprofit organization attorney through his law firm, Wewer & Lacy, LLP, and is a recipient of the American Association of Political Consultant’s “Pollie” Award. Lacy is not associated with any Presidential campaign. Landslide Communications, Inc., has a history of conducting polls in California, including presidential polling and in the 52nd Congressional District race in 2014 between incumbent Scott Peters and Republican challenger Carl DeMaio.

Interview list:

The list used to make the calls was based on a sophisticated, representative election turn-out model for likely Republican voters in the 2016 California Presidential primary election prepared by Political Data, Inc., located in Norwalk, a respected source of voter files.

To account for a slight bias in the delegate selection process that awards a small “bonus” pool of delegates based on the statewide result, the interview list was balanced for region by Board of Equalization District, with the two more Republican leaning BOE districts of four having marginally more interviews reflected in the statewide total than average, to most accurately reflect the opinion of California’s Republican population.

Interviews and data compilation:

The poll questions were completed by 407 likely Republican voters in the 2016 California Presidential primary election based on Political Data’s model. (The Landslide Communication’s sample size is 25% larger than the sample size used by the Field Organization for similar polling in California.)  The sample size is considered large enough by NSON Opinion Strategy, a respected strategic public opinion research company based in Salt Lake City, Utah, to offer statistical significance in outcome, with +/- 4.8% margin of error at a 95% confidence level statewide. Telephone survey interviews were conducted statewide over two days from Wednesday, March 9th through Thursday, March 10th, by NSON Opinion Strategy.

A summary of the poll prepared by NSON, along with “frequencies” and “crosstabs” may be downloaded below.

For comment, please contact James V. Lacy at 714-878-6191.

James V. Lacy is publisher of California Political Review.

CA Rep Pres Pri – Frequencies

16′ CA GOP Presidential Primary Poll (March)

CA Rep Pres Pri – Crosstab Tables