State Republican convention starts in San Diego

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- Major decisions that could boost - or deal a real blow - to Republican candidates running for state offices about to be made in San Diego.

It's because the California G.O.P. Convention kicks off Friday at the Sheraton Harbor Island. About 1,000 Republican delegates will be voting on a variety of endorsements for this year's ballot.

G.O.P. gubernatorial candidates like Travis Allen and John Cox will attend, hoping to earn enough delegate votes for the party's endorsement for this year's election.

The party is focussed only on state offices and initiatives - such as repealing the gas tax, said Cynthia Bryant, the state party's executive director.

This is San Diego's second major political convention leading up to the June primary. The Democrats held their statewide convention here in February - with a who's who of national politicians.

It was also the site of major news when the party declined to endorse Sen. Dianne Feinstein in her bid for re-election.

The big difference for Republicans is that the party will not be taking up major federal issues like gun rights and immigration, Bryant said. The state party also won't be adopting a platform. 

Instead, Republicans will be focussing on the big decisions in the state - like repealing the recent 12 cent per gallon gas tax hike.

They'll also be endorsing candidates for Governor, Lt. Governor, and attorney general. Still, Thad Kousser, who chairs the political science department at UC San Diego, says a lot of the decisions made could shape whether the Republicans can recruit new members. 

"Is this going to be a red meat crowd that really responds only to the visceral issues of immigrations? Or is it going to be a more strategic party that responds to issues that could help Republicans expand their base?" Kousser said. 

There are some closely watched congressional elections in San Diego County, including who will replace Republican Congressman Darrell Issa in the 49th district, and whether G.O.P Rep. Duncan Hunter can defend his seat in the 50th. Those endorsements could come later on. 

The convention runs through Sunday.
 

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