SACRAMENTO — GOP operative Karl Rove had blunt words Saturday for California Republicans, who are trying to claw their way back to political relevancy in the state.
“My message is this: get off your ass," Rove told nearly 500 Republicans gathered for a convention luncheon at a downtown hotel. “Get back in the game and fight. Don’t give in to what the other side wants.”
The gathering is taking place as the state GOP is at a crossroads. A Republican politician has not been elected to statewide office in seven years, GOP voter registration has plummeted, and the party is mired in debt.
But Rove said it was possible to turn the situation around and pointed to his experience in Texas. When he moved there, he said, no Republican had been elected statewide in more than a century, and only 13 members of the 150-member house were Republicans. Now, 101 members of the House are Republican and in 1998, when George W. Bush was reelected governor, Republicans swept all 28 statewide offices, he said.