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Delegates Mixed On How To Make GOP More Competitive In California


First-time delegate Tony Leal is a long way from home - and not just geographically.

"Well, if you don't mind getting spit at, talked down to, cursed at, thrown rocks at, thrown bottles at, then you're okay," says Leal. "And that's what it's like to be a Republican in my district."

After a week of speeches and parties with fellow Donald Trump loyalists, California delegates to the Republican National Convention are returning home to one of the bluest states in the nation. Take Leal, who lives in the Westchester neighborhood of Los Angeles, near the airport. He's running for state Assembly in a strongly Democratic district. He's a big Donald Trump supporter, but criticizes the GOP platform for its tough stance against same-sex marriage. In fact, he says, the party should stop talking about regulating marriage at all.

"If we did that, we wouldn't have so much divisiveness that we have - even in my neighborhood," says Leal. "We could actually start including other creeds, as they say, and we would start to grow as a party."

On the other hand, many California Republicans suggested the way to win more races was to communicate the GOP message more effectively.  Here's Santa Ana delegate KV Kumar.

"We need to do a lot of work to communicate properly with people, so that the true Republican values are conveyed. If you are honest and sincere about what you say, people listen to you." 

California Republican strategist Mason Harrison agrees more with Leal than Kumar. He says Republicans need to appeal to Hispanics, women and young voters in order to broaden the GOP's appeal.

"The conventional wisdom among people in the Trump world is that they just need to continue to fire up the Trump supporters in order to win," says Harrison. "But unfortunately, that works well in a primary when you've got 12 candidates, but California statewide, that's not gonna do much to be able to push you over the top."

There's no question the GOP has work to do in California: Republicans don't have any statewide office holders, and the latest voter registration totals just before the June primary showed the party at just 27 percent.