SAN DIEGO, Calif. (KTXL) — Less than two weeks after Gov. Gavin Newsom defeated the recall effort against him, the Republican Party regrouped at its convention in San Diego over the weekend, hoping for change.
“The convention was, in part, an effort to come together and understand how we can collectively do better at putting that message forward,” said Lanhee Chen, a Republican candidate for state controller.
Notably missing from the lineup of speakers and panelists — candidates who ran to replace Newsom, including Kevin Faulconer and Larry Elder.
Elder, the frontrunner, tweeted from his vacation in Key West, Florida. Neither Elder nor Faulconer were available for comment Monday.
“We didn’t endorse a candidate for the recall, so the fact that they were all out there making their case to Californians on their own individual basis, so the fact they chose not to come to the convention doesn’t say anything about them one way or another,” said Corrin Rankin, Central Valley Vice-Chair for California Republicans.
Those who did attend worked on strategizing for the upcoming 2022 election for state offices and congressional seats.
“I hope we recognize that there’s a tremendous opportunity for us to make headway with Californians if we focus on how we plan to make people’s lives better,” Chen said.
On social media, some Democrats poked fun at the nearly-empty meeting rooms for the GOP’s first in-person convention since 2019, but some party officials said COVID may have kept more from attending.
Republicans said, moving forward, they plan to work on overall party engagement and continue the discussion on the direction of the party.
“And really becoming a more diverse and welcoming and inclusive party,” Rankin said.
Chen hopes the party keeps things simple.
“I hope that the party is able to come back to basics in terms of saying ‘here are the ways, specifically, we plan to deal with some of these challenges we have in California and beyond,'” Chen said.