Recruiting more Latino candidates is critical to the future of the California Republican Party, prominent Hispanic Republicans said during an afternoon forum at the party's convention in Sacramento.
The event was hosted by GROW Elect, an organization devoted to cultivating Republican Latino candidates for elected office, and participants spoke to a growing recognition that the Republican party's fortunes will be increasingly tied to how well they appeal to Hispanic voters.
Noting that California's Latino population is on pace to become the state's largest ethnic group by the end of the year, GROW Elect CEO Ruben Barrales called Latino outreach "the greatest challenge for the Republican Party today." His organization's goal is to build a "farm team" of potential officeholders, he said, in an effort to "start changing the brand of the Republican party with Latino voters."
GOP strategist Karl Rove today urged California Republicans to take a more broad-based approach to messaging in their effort to rebuild the party in the Golden State.
"Losing has one great benefit to it," Rove told a gathering of delegates at the party's spring convention in Sacramento. "It gives you the chance to start fresh to look everything anew and start rebuilding from the ground up in innovative and thoughtful ways that will expand our reach and expand our members."
California GOP officials invited the former aide and adviser to former President George W. Bush to address attendees as they seek to recoup from a bruising 2012 election. The party, which holds no statewide office, ceded supermajority control to legislative Democrats, lost key congressional races and dipped below 30 percent in statewide voter registration.
Rove echoed earlier remarks on the need to elect Latino and other minority candidates to local and state offices, telling state Republicans they need to go beyond talking to their traditional base. He praised Republicans in his home state of Texas for recruiting diverse candidates for statewide office, saying it's important to have Republican messengers who "look like and sound like the people they're asking for the vote from."
"If our values are universal then we have obligation to argue on behalf of values in every corner, in every crevice, in every community of our great country," he said.
Rove also urged Republicans to modernize their message, applying "timeless principles" of conservatism to new circumstances.
"It's not just the tactical stuff," Rove said. "(We've) got a strategic issue. We have great principles, but we sometimes talk about those princples in a way that makes it sound like it's in 1968 or 1980 or 2000 and it's not. It's 2012 on its way to 2014."
Rove met with county GOP chairs, Republican legislators and posed for photos with delegates at a $300-a-head reception ahead of his lunchtime speech. Lawmakers said he stressed the need to improve campaign technology and messaging efforts.
White House cufflinks, a hands-free phone and goodies for his his dog, Sutter, were among gifts reported by Gov. Jerry Brown in financial disclosure statements released Saturday.
Brown reported receiving 25 gifts last year, valued at more than $2,500. The most expensive totaled $259 by Samsung for Brown to attend a dinner event, and $250 by Newsweek for a ticket to the White House Correspondents Dinner.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa gave Brown a $150 ticket for a Los Angeles Lakers game. U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein gave him an $84 box of candy, and BlueAnt provided the hands-free phone valued at $100, records show.
Ahead of his lunchtime address to the convention at large, top Republican strategist Karl Rove spoke to county chairs about burnishing the party's message and revitalizing its local mobilization effort.
Rove emerged from a closed-door gathering of Republican county chairs about half an hour after the meeting began. His talk touched on coordinating the party's pitch to voters, Mariposa County chair Richard Westfall said.
"He talked about being cohesive and keeping the party together," Westfall said. "Just basically that we have to try to get together and get the message out there."
Part of that process involves rehabilitating the party's image in the eyes of voters. Donald S. Preston, chair of Solano County, said the party's central tenets of self-reliance and family values have " been distorted so badly" by critics.
"[Rove] says we have to work on image, on our branding," Preston said.
Monterey County chair Nan Lesnick said Rove talked about rebuilding the party's grassroots organization, paraphrasing the central thrust as "the conservative victory will happen when we're on every corner and every crevasse in every community."
As the legal debate over Proposition 8 comes to a head in the nation's high court, California Republican Party Chairman Tom Del Beccaro predicted today that gay marriage will continue to be a "difficult issue for a lot of Republicans" for years to come.
Dozens of prominent Republicans, including former California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, recently signed a brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to declare Proposition 8 unconstitutional, Whitman, who supported Proposition 8 in her 2010 campaign, said in a statement that the "facts and arguments presented during the legal process since then have had a profound impact on my thinking" on the issue.
Del Beccaro, who supports Proposition 8, acknowledged that public opinion on gay marriage is shifting -- a Field Poll released this week showed support in California inching over 60 percent -- but said he expects GOP candidates to continue to hold different views on the issue. He said, however, he doesn't "think that issue alone defines the party by any stretch."
"I think the reality is you're going to find that the Republican Party is going to have members on all sides of this issue for years to come and I think across this country for years to come it's going to be debated," he said.
Del Beccaro is leaving his position at a tough time for the party - Republicans hold no statewide offices, now account for less than 30 percent of registered voters and have significant campaign fund debt.
The outgoing chair said the party must focus on building better relationships with voters as it rebuilds, increasing communication and providing "voters with a clear alternative." He said he hopes his expected successor, former GOP legislative leader Jim Brulte, will be more successful in fundraising and managing the party's finances.
"It needs to have a greater relationship with all California voters," he said. "We are in the business of asking people (for) their vote, which means you have to have a relationship with more voters, especially when you are the minority party."
PHOTO AND VIDEO CREDIT: Outgoing California Republican Party Chairman Tom Del Beccaro speaks at his final press conference during the CRP's spring convention in Sacramento, March, 2, 2013. Torey Van Oot, Sacramento Bee.
While serving as a state senator, Michael Rubio also was a business partner with a Kern County oil executive who contributed to his campaign and loaned him money to buy a home in El Dorado Hills, newly released state records show.
Rubio, a Shafter Democrat who resigned weeks ago to work for Chevron, was a partner with Majid Mojibi in a Bakersfield-based real estate investment firm, M&R Investment Group, the records show.
The partnership participated in two real estate deals in 2012 - one involving ownership and operation of a Bakersfield office building, the other involving agricultural land.
Rubio said he received no income from the venture. The partnership apparently received loans of six-figure sums from Mojibi, however. On the FPPC disclosure form Rubio listed an "over $100,000 loan" for each of the two real estate ventures.
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