Two dozen Republicans considering a run for state Legislature are spending the weekend in campaign class.
Trailblazers, a candidate recruitment and training program started by House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, Assembly GOP leader Connie Conway and GOP Senate leader Bob Huff ahead of the 2012 election, is holding its first candidate bootcamp of the 2014 cycle Saturday.
The daylong program in Sacramento will bring together 24 potential legislative candidates from districts across the state for what Trailblazers CEO Jessica Patterson called a "nuts and bolts" training session. Top GOP strategists will cover topics like how to put together a campaign team and budget, conducing effective field operations and making a long-term communication plan.
"What we really want to do is make sure the candidates know what they're supposed to be doing from beginning to end," Patterson said.
Participants will be eligible for future workshops, which will take closer looks at essentials like fundraising and communicating with Latinos and other voter demographic groups as the campaign picks up. Strong candidates are recognized for reaching different levels of the program, which is modeled after House Republicans' recruitment efforts.
Many of the possible candidates were introduced to the program through outreach by Trailblazers and its partner organizations, including GROW Elect, an effort aimed at electing Latinos to public office.
"We've been out there since December working on the recruitment sides of things, in particular the strong-leaning Republican districts and the toss-up districts," Patterson said. "We want to find good candidates that can make those districts competitive."
With the primary election 14 months away, that recruitment work isn't done. Patterson said the group plans to hold at least one additional "nuts and bolts" overview session later in the year in hope of attracting a wide range of candidates to run in open GOP seats or against Democrats next year.