The delegation has booked New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and House Speaker John Boehner as speakers for its Aug. 27 breakfast, delegation spokesman Mitch Zak confirmed today. Conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt has been tapped to emcee the talks.
Zak said the speaker lineup shows that a decline in registration numbers on the state level "does not devalue California as a priority to the Republican Party." While the blue state isn't expected to be in play in the presidential election this November, it is still a major fundraising source for both parties and home to half a dozen competitive congressional races.
"It underscores California's importance to America," he said.
Christie, who is in Northern California today raising money for presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, is already a hit with some delegates.
Mark Pruner, a delegate from Clarksburg, said he is looking forward to hearing from Christie both because he is a Republican governor in a Democratic state and because of his reputation as a "no-nonsense guy."
"He articulates well how conservative values make people's lives, everybody's lives, better," said Pruner, an attorney and president of the California Republican County Chairmen's Association. "He does a very good job of connecting with people on a personal level while talking about the issues and how we can make a difference in people's lives."
California Republicans attending the convention may be able to start and end the day rubbing elbows with GOP stars. Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield, the House majority whip, is joining the delegation that night at a post-session party.
"Talk about kicking off the week in a big way," Zak said.
PHOTO CREDIT: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks during the Perspectives on Leadership Forum at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2011. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
EDITOR'S NOTE, 3:52 p.m.: This post has been changed to clarify Rep. Kevin McCarthy's role at the post-session party.