SACRAMENTO—As California Republicans gather here Friday for their weekend convention, it’s difficult to recall when the group that produced Ronald Regan was at a lower point. The party hasn’t elected a statewide candidate in seven years. It is awash in debt. GOP voter registration is at a historic low of less than 30%.
“The most important thing the Republican Party has is: I don’t believe we can get any lower, alright, so the only way is up,” said House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy during a luncheon speech, shortly before the start of the convention. Some 1,600 delegates and others are gathering at a downtown hotel this weekend, and the party’s future will be a dominant line of discussion.
But McCarthy, the highest-ranking elected Republican from California, said he was optimistic that Democrats, who took a super-majority in both houses in November and hold every statewide office, would fail to fix the state’s problems.
“A year and a half from now is a perfect opportunity for the Republicans,” he said. “We don’t own any of this mess.”