UPDATE: 5:30 p.m.: The old saying goes "Location, location, location" -- and California's Republican National Convention delegates are seeing the best and worst of that phrase.
the Golden State delegation found itself in the middle of the action during a raucous rules debate on the convention's opening day.
California Republicans are used to getting overlooked at GOP conventions -- neither swing state nor red state. This year, they're at the very front of the floor -- and delegates like Shirley Husar of Pasadena are thrilled.
Husar: "The floor seating is cool! I got a great seat! Oooh!"
Ben: "You're gonna be, what, 100 feet or so from Mr. Trump!"
Husar: "I know, I know, I'm sweating bullets -- aahhhh! I feel good about that!"
For delegate Megan Vincent of Wilton, a small town just south of Sacramento, that location helped take the sting out of the hour-long commute from the California delegation's hotel in Sandusky.
Vincent: "Oh, yeah - hour-twenty today - haven't told my husband yet, who's coming over later."
Ben: "And you weren't even at rush hour..."
Vincent: "No, exactly - and we had a little escort to get in here. But it's worth it!"
It's no accident that California's so close. The delegation is large, loud ... and loyal to Donald Trump -- all but three delegates were hand-picked by his campaign. So when #NeverTrump backers tried to force a roll call vote on the convention rules, the California delegation was ready to fight back.
Here's Trump delegate and former Sacramento-area congressman, Doug Ose:
"He wasn't messing around. He's putting his people in position to succeed. That's the genius of Donald Trump. So, here we go..."
Womack: "Those in favor of the Rules package will say Aye."
The crowd responds with "Ayes" and cheeers.
For the California delegates -- a moment to remember ... on that long bus ride home.
UPDATE 9:30 a.m.
Ben Adler Previews Convention On Insight With Beth Ruyak
UPDATE 7:45 a.m.: California is sending the largest delegation of any state to this week’s Republican National Convention. The 172-member delegation includes several prominent elected officials - but others did not make the trip.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield is the best known of California’s delegates. He’s joined in the delegation by one other member of Congress, Rep. Darrell Issa of San Diego County, and by former Sacramento-area Rep. Doug Ose.
Two-Way With Ben Adler In Cleveland:
State Senate Minority Leader Jean Fuller is on the trip – she’s also from Bakersfield and a close ally of McCarthy’s. Two other state lawmakers are delegates, and a third is an alternate.
Notable absences include the two highest ranking California Republican elected officials: Board of Equalization members Diane Harkey and George Runner. Both supported Ted Cruz, and Runner wouldn’t have come anyway – his wife passed away on Thursday.
Also not in Cleveland: Assembly Minority Leader Chad Mayes, who was a Mitt Romney convention delegate in 2012 before being elected to the Legislature. Mayes originally backed John Kasich – and has still not endorsed Donald Trump.
Mayes told me today it'll depend on how Trump campaigns in the next few months. https://t.co/MY3WIIoGlY— Ben Adler (@adlerben) May 5, 2016
That said, many elected officials choose to skip presidential conventions regardless of the nominee.
“It’s July in Cleveland, or I could be at home,” rural Northern California Rep. Doug LaMalfa told the Los Angeles Times in May. “I don’t think I’m needed there. There’s a lot of people anxious and hot to go and be delegates, so have at it.”
And members of Congress are guaranteed convention access by virtue of their office. Orange County Rep. Mimi Walters, who's not a Trump delegate, told the Times that she would attend the convention out of curiosity.
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