California’s Republican Party is meeting for its statewide convention this weekend, and is attempting to regroup after years in the political wilderness. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who returned to Stanford University after eight years in the George W. Bush administration, told delegates at the meeting near San Francisco not to be discouraged by the task: “We are a party in the state of California that needs some rebuilding, but we are also a country, the United State of America, that needs some rebuilding,” she said.
The GOP’s two leading gubernatorial candidates, Neel Kashkari and Tim Donnelly, were campaigning hard. Kashkari, a former U.S. Treasury official and Wall Street veteran who helped oversee the Troubled Assets Relief Program, pitched himself as a leader for a party with a “bigger tent,” according to the Sacramento Bee. State Assemblyman Donnelly (above right), who is known for his aggressive advocacy of Second Amendment rights, told delegates that the party needed candidates “who are willing to at least stick to their guns,” the Bee noted.
Despite the formidable odds against both men in their race to unseat incumbent Democrat Gov. Jerry Brown, the party has a few victories to celebrate, including Kevin Faulconer’s win in the race for San Diego major in February, and Andy Vidak’s win for state Senate in a special election last year. Several leading Democrats on the federal level from California have also announced their retirement from Congress, including Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), creating potential new opportunities for upset victories by Republicans in the state.