DEL MAR, Calif. - Some of the top Republicans in the country, including New Mexico's governor, packed an event at the Grand Del Mar on Friday evening to talk about the future of the Republican Party. But it seemed all eyes were on San Diego's new mayor, Kevin Faulconer.
Faulconer, who has been in office for just two months, is considered the ideal Republican politician.
"I think that the big victory that Kevin Faulconer and the Republicans had here in San Diego is a great model for the state," said Neel Kashkair. The young Republican is running for California governor.
He feels confident going up against incumbent Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, pointing to his party's evolution toward a slightly more liberal social stance but still fiscally conservative.
"It's inclusive. It's positive. It's focused on solutions. It's focused on lifting up everyone through hard work," said Kashkair.
About 600 people attended the Lincoln Reagan Dinner and heard Faulconer talk about the campaign strategy that led him to defeat his Democratic opponent in the race for mayor. Faulconer said he included the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, minorities and others normally left out of the Republican picture. San Diego Councilman Scott Sherman believes Faulconer has become a Republican role model across the state.
"I think it really showed that Republicans need to have a much broader tent," he said. "We all have the same dreams. We want a better life for our family and a better life for our kids and it's just how we get there."
The primary will be held June 3.