There was no debate before delegates easily passed a slate of resolutions supporting key tenets of the Trump administration's agenda Sunday, the last day of the California Republican convention.
The four resolutions, all supported by the Tea Party California Caucus, were to support Trump's travel ban, repeal and replace Obamacare, and to oppose a gas tax hike proposed in Gov. Jerry Brown's budget and Democrats' efforts to create sanctuary cities.
But although those measures, controversial with many other Californians, sailed through with an easy voice vote, internal politics of another sort took center stage for a brief moment.
Bit of a power struggle now over whether to charter a new group, CA Impact Republicans, formed by former members of CA Republican Assembly
The California Republican Party on Sunday voted to keep Chairman Jim Brulte in the job for a third term to steer the party toward what is expected to be a crucial election for the GOP in 2018.
Brutle, a former state Senate Republican leader from Rancho Cucamonga, took over as chairman in 2013 and is credited for putting the state party on a firm financial footing and launching a rebuilding process.
At the party convention last year, Republican delegates voted to extend the term limits for the GOP chair. The change was written in a way to make it apply only to Brulte, so it will not affect future party chiefs.
Rep. Devin Nunes on Saturday night urged California Republicans to regain relevancy by pushing ballot initiatives that could be a tough sell with the state’s voters, ones that would create battles potentially costing tens of millions of dollars to wage.
The ideas he floated in his speech to the state GOP convention include increased offshore oil drilling, elimination of the state income tax, shifting the Legislature into one body or part-time status, moving bonds earmarked for high-speed rail to water storage and changing how public employee union dues are collected.
Nunes, a Central Valley representative who chairs the powerful House Intelligence Committee, said the state's Republicans needed to be as bold as President Trump was during his campaign.
Gina Roberts, a champion target shooter and supporter of President Trump, says she wishes everyone would take a deep breath and relax about the controversy over transgender students using bathrooms.
Roberts was one of hundreds of GOP loyalists attending the California Republican Party convention in Sacramento this weekend and almost assuredly, she surmised, the party’s first transgender delegate.
At a Saturday gathering of tea party supporters, Roberts stood up and asked how they could all work together without all the “background noise,” a suggestion that appeared to be well received by other speakers there.
Republican Rep. Darrell Issa of Vista, who once called President Obama "one of the most corrupt presidents in modern times," struck a more conciliatory tone Saturday and said Republicans have to do a better job listening to the concerns of all Americans, even those critical of the GOP.
Issa, speaking at the California Republican Party’s convention in Sacramento, said that after surviving a surprising tight reelection campaign in November, he too needs to follow that advice.
“We as a party have not reached out enough and not translated over these last years that we … do believe in the people, our constituents,” he told party delegates.
Hundreds of California supporters who worked to get Donald Trump elected president gathered Saturday afternoon to celebrate their victory — and to try to turn their energies toward improving the GOP’s relevance in their home state.
“Our job is to build a structure that wins elections and wins elections right here,” said Tim Clark, Trump’s California campaign manager who is now serving as a liaison between the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services. “We've done our job nationally. Now we have to focus on our state in 2018.”
No Republican has won statewide office in California since 2006, and the party’s voter registration is at a historic low. But Trump had more than 300,000 volunteers and donors in the state. Tens of thousands of them called voters in battleground states.
When Republican Sen. Janet Nguyen of Garden Grove was removed from the state Senate floor Thursday after she tried to make a statement about the late Tom Hayden and his opposition to the Vietnam War, many predicted it was just a matter of time before California Republicans highlighted the incident at their convention this weekend.
They were quickly proven right.
On Friday, a lunch for party leaders, Central Valley Republican Marcelino Valdez referred in a speech to an unnamed young Vietnamese refugee girl seeking freedom, an obvious reference to Nguyen.
A flurry of smartphone snapshots with a cardboard Donald Trump and blazing red “Make California Great Again” hats signaled that many of the GOP delegates at the California Republican Party convention this weekend have embraced the new president and his aggressive tactics to shift the nation to the right.
But a fair number of Republicans at the event said they still harbored concerns about Trump’s divisive rhetoric, abrupt governing style and doubts about his allegiance to conservative ideals. Those voices were largely drowned out by praise from Trump loyalists and delegates, however, who said they have been impressed by the president’s policy agenda and conservative Cabinet appointments.
"I don't know about you, but Donald Trump's just rockin' my socks," state GOP Chairman Jim Brulte told the party leadership on Friday.