California Counts

A collaboration between Capital Public Radio, KQED, KPCC and KPBS to cover the 2016 elections in California.

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Trump, Kasich Make Their Case At Calif. GOP Convention



9:45 p.m. Kasich Says He Would Campaign In Calif. In A General Election

Could Ohio Gov. John Kasich really put California in play in a general election?

"I sure would spend some time here, yeah," the Republican presidential candidate told reporters at the California GOP convention in Burlingame Friday night.

He later acknowledged that winning the Golden State in November would be difficult but said simply showing up would put Democrats on the defensive.

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Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

"I will come to California in a general election," Kasich said. "I think I can put pressure on Democrats to have to campaign places because we're going to expand the field. Everybody else is shrinking the field with sky-high negatives and a lack of real appeal in a general election."

Without naming names, the Ohio governor repeatedly contrasted what he considers the negativity from his primary opponents, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, with the tone of his campaign.

"We can solve (the country's) problems and bring people together and give them hope again," Kasich said shortly afterwards in his convention speech. We can do it!"

Kasich was introduced by two prominent California Republicans: Assembly Minority Leader Chad Mayes and former Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner.

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8:46 p.m. A Different Trump Crowd


The ballroom crowd at Donald Trump's California Republican Party convention speech at lunchtime Friday was far from a typical Trump crowd.
It was dominated by party leaders and activists, many of whom aren't exactly Trump's biggest fans.
So it wasn't surprising to see him tailor his message to the audience. 

He tossed a few favorite lines out there : "We're going to start winning again."

But he tempered his tone and rhetoric, particularly when compared to his Orange County rally Thursday night.

Trump also repeatedly stressed the need for party unity, with a twist.

"Ideally, we're going to be together. I think I will win even if we're not together," he said.

But there were still some diehard Trump supporters in the crowd.

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Luisa Aranda, left, of Brentwood and Carolyn Gibbs, right, of Discovery Bay came to see Donald Trump speak at the California Republican Party convention in Burlingame Friday, April 29, 2016. Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

"Trump woke us up," said 77-year-old retiree Carolyn Gibbs of Discovery Bay. "We're like the big sleeping giant; he woke us up. The political correctness is out the door. We were sitting there just taking it and now we're not taking it anymore."

And Trump fans had little patience for the protesters outside.

"They called me every name in the book walking through the crowd," said 55-year-old property manager Luisa Aranda of Brentwood.

Aranda is Mexican-American and sported a "Make America Great Again" hat and a shirt that read "Latinos for the Wall."

"And I just said, I'm tired of paying for people like you," Aranda said. "I'm tired of freeloaders. You guys are not benefitting us. You guys are getting paid under the table, taking your money back home."

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5:08 p.m. - How The Secret Service Snuck Trump Into The CAGOP Convention

The United States Secret Service had a problem Friday. Protesters had surrounded the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport, the hotel hosting the California Republican Party convention, and there was no way for Donald Trump to get in.

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Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

The solution: Agents cut a fence separating busy Highway 101 from a ditch that ran alongside the back of the hotel.

They drove Trump onto the freeway. Conveniently, the right lane was barricaded off from the rest of traffic for road work. They let him out so he could climb through the hole in the fence, down into the ditch below.

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Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

Trump then climbed out of the ditch and walked in through the back door of the hotel. He began his speech nearly an hour late.

"That was not the easiest entrance I've ever made," Trump told the crowd of party leaders waiting in the hotel ballroom. "We went under a fence and through a fence. And oh boy, it felt like I was crossing the border, actually."

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Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio


Trump called the experience "fun" and "different," and said he was asked to skip the event and return to Indiana but stayed because "we can't let these people down."

Two-Way With Ben Adler


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3:45 p.m. - PolitiFact California Takes A Look At Trump's Speech

Donald Trump talked a lot about his poll numbers during his speech Friday afternoon at the California GOP Convention in Burlingame.

PolitiFact California's Chris Nichols examines Trump's poll claims.

PolitiFact California's Chris Nichols examines Trump's poll claims

Trump also repeated a false claim about immigration:

Trump's Immigration Claim

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3:12 p.m. - Amidst Protests, Trump Urges GOP To Unite Behind Him

For the second day in a row, crowds of Californians protested against Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Protesters surrounded the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Burlingame, trying to block Trump from getting in. They went face to face with police and even threw raw eggs.

Trump was let in through the back and said it wasn't his easiest entrance.

"Oh boy, it felt like I was crossing the border, actually," Trump said.

This was not a typical Trump rally -- a room full of party insiders in a state that hasn't had a meaningful Republican primary in more than 50 years.

A relatively restrained Trump urged the GOP to unite behind him.

"We have to come together," he said. "We have to pick our nominee. We have to go out and do what we have to do. And I'm telling you, you are going to have an unbelievably good result in November."

But even without the party's unity, he said he can still win the White House. 
"Would I win, can I win, without it? I think so," he said. "To be honest, I think so."

He acknowledged that Republicans may have a tougher road to the White House than Democrats. 

"The Republican Party, in a presidential sense, doesn't win anymore," Trump said. "I'm different - because I'm gonna win states that nobody else can. And when I can focus on Hillary, as I say, crooked Hillary ... she'll go down easier than any of the people we just beat."

Polls suggest Trump holds a comfortable lead ahead of California's June 7 primary.


Police trying to disperse demonstrators. Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

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11:39 a.m.: Fistfights, Protests At Calif. GOP Convention

Protesters began to gather outside the California Republican Party convention in Burlingame well ahead of Donald Trump's lunchtime speech.

The crowd is blocking the street outside the hotel and some protesters are headed toward the nearby 101 freeway.

There have been some fistfights between protesters and Trump supporters.

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Trump supporter Christopher Conway of Burlingame gets into a skirmish with protesters. Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Some protesters arrived early this morning, including Angelina Castro, a 34-year-old commercial insurance broker from Gilroy. She held a sign saying "Mr. Hate, Leave Our State."

"I have a 12-year-old daughter and she's very brown-colored in skin," Castro said. "I don't want her to feel like she lives in a country where she can't walk down the street being discriminated against or maybe even violated. I don't want harm to come to her."

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Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Castro said she hopes today's protest won't turn violent, unlike last night's protest at Trump's Orange County rally. 

"We're not here to condone violence," she said. We're really for peaceful protests. We're here on the sidewalk just exercising our rights. I think if things get a little out of hand, we'll probably decide that's our time to exit."

Monica Barraza came up from San Jose to protest against Trump. She's 40 and works in sales. Her sign: "We stand united - Cali won't be trumped."

"I've been in this country, and I'm of Mexican descent and I've never been to prison. I'm not a drug dealer," Barraza said. "So for him to kind of stereotype - he's running for president. What kind of leader does that show us?"

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Original Post: It's Showtime For California Republicans

California Republicans will take a rare turn basking in the nation’s political spotlight this weekend.

Presidential candidates Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and John Kasich will each speak at the California Republican Party convention in Burlingame, which opens Friday and runs through Sunday.

Ben Adler Preview: California GOP Convention


California is poised to decide the Republican presidential nominee for the first time in more than 50 years. In 1964, the Golden State picked Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater over New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller. It was an upset – and it delivered Goldwater the GOP nomination.

This year, California’s June 7th presidential primary could make or break Trump’s push to win a majority of pledged delegates to the Republican National Convention this summer.

Trump arrives in Burlingame as the favorite – and recent polls show his lead growing. He’ll be first to the podium – at lunchtime Friday. Kasich will give the dinner speech, hoping to draw support from moderate Republicans – particularly in the Bay Area. And Saturday will belong to Cruz, who’s hoping for fresh momentum from newly-announced running mate Carly Fiorina. Cruz will address the delegates at lunch, and Fiorina will speak at dinner.

We'll be blogging here and at throughout the weekend. You can follow us on Twitter @adlerben and @capolitifact.

CapRadio's Ben Adler will preview this weekend's California Republican Party convention at 9 a.m. Friday on Capital Public Radio's Insight.