The California Teachers Association, a major benefactor of Gov. Jerry Brown and other Democratic causes, is among three public employee unions that have made modest contributions to the California Republican Party in recent weeks. The CTA donated $10,000 last month, its first contribution to the party in nearly 10 years.
Service Employees International Union Local 1000 and the California Correctional Peace Officers Association are listed as sponsors of the state party's biannual convention.
Republican delegates, Hancock said, "are surprised to see us."
At a committee meeting to discuss efforts to increase party registration, turnout and volunteerism, Hancock, a high school teacher from Chino, invited his fellow Republicans to a reception Saturday night with "light hors d'oeuvres and lively conversation!"
Hancock and his wife, Mary, who is also a teacher, said 35 percent or more of CTA members are Republicans, representing untapped potential for the GOP.
"We're educating the next Republicans," she said of her students. "We need support from the party."
Labor officials have credited the state party's new chairman, Jim Brulte, with their inclination to give. They describe it as a tentative effort by unions to work with the GOP.
PHOTO: Ties, buttons and other political gear for sale at the California Republican Party's fall convention on Oct. 5, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/David Siders