GOP Vice Chair: California Primary Will Pick GOP Nominee

Harmeet Dhillon, who serves as Vice Chair of the California Republican Party and is a candidate for the Republican National Committee, urged the GOP to rally behind whoever the presidential nominee is, adding that the June 7 California primary could decide who that person will be.

Speaking on Breitbart News Saturday with host and Washington, D.C. political editor Matthew Boyle, Dhillon said that there can only be one candidate for the Republican Party and “I, as a party leader — and most of the party leaders I know here in California — are absolutely committed to wholeheartedly supporting our nominee.” She added, “defeating Hillary is much more important than petty interpersonal disputes that are going on here. And I’m certainly planning on going to Cleveland in one capacity or another, depending on who wins my congressional district, and supporting the nominee wholeheartedly.”

Many of California’s conservatives are backing Ted Cruz over Donald Trump. However, with an eye to the general elections in November, there is a fear that Cruz’s strong conservative politics and rhetoric could isolate large swaths of voters who could be better mobilized by Trump, as the GOP vies to defeat Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton.

Dhillon told Boyle, “I would personally suggest to your listeners that whatever we have been doing for the last few years to select our nominees has not been working.” She said that has to do with states like South Carolina, Iowa and New Hampshire that receive “special treatment by the RNC to have their primary much earlier than other states.” She said these states do not accurately represent other states with larger populations that are reflective of the diversity of the Republican voters.

Addressing the massive protests against Trump outside of the California GOP Convention at the Hyatt in Burlingame, Dhillon said “That’s just another day in San Francisco. So it doesn’t phase us here… we carry on. We are used to hostile crowds here.”

Dhillon also touched on California’s “jungle” primary system, which allows for the top two vote-getters to compete for every legislative position, including Congress, even if they are from the same party.

“We really need that high Republican voter turnout in a 28% registration state to make sure that one or two of our candidates make it into the top two, the runoff into the general election.”

Boyle pointed out that Clinton’s numbers in the primary voting process are less favorable this time than when she ran against Barack Obama in 2008. (She has 270,000 less votes this time around.) Despite Trump’s landslide and decisive win in New York, Dhillon noted that “he won there with fewer votes than Hillary Clinton, who I think you would agree is a weak Democratic candidate.”

She also hinted at the potential for a hand-picked Republican candidate who is not currently in the race to be selected as the GOP’s nominee — a scenario the Republican establishment has floated in response to Trump’s unexpected rise. Dhillon even suggested that candidate might be a woman: “We are going to have to make sure that our nominee is inspiriting to Republicans who didn’t necessarily vote for him, or her, in the earlier states and are galvanized to turn out. So that is going to be challenge for us.”

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz


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