Capitol Alert

GOP consultant: Republicans will soon fall behind independents in California

Republicans attend a workshop on California’s changing demographics at the California Republican Party’s biannual convention in Sacramento on Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015.
Republicans attend a workshop on California’s changing demographics at the California Republican Party’s biannual convention in Sacramento on Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015. The Sacramento Bee/David Siders

Population trends have been working against the Republican Party for so long in California that a workshop on “changing demographics” came with an air of exasperation at the state party’s biannual convention Saturday.

“1922 was a great year to be a Republican in California,” Bernd Schwieren, a senior consultant to the Assembly Republican Caucus, told a small crowd.

Lately, not so much.

The Republican Party’s registration rolls have fallen to about 28 percent statewide, and third party status is just around the corner. Schwieren expects the number of independent voters to overtake Republicans “probably within the next year or two years.”

A major part of the problem is the Republican Party’s failure to appeal to Latino voters. When Schwieren pointed out how big a percentage of the electorate Latinos now are, a man in the audience asked, “Does (that) include undocumented immigrants or not?”

“No,” Schwieren said, “it does not.”

He spoke to a roomful of mostly older, white Republicans, delivering mostly bad news. After about an hour a woman in the audience asked, “So, what is the Republican Party doing?”

Outreach, Schwieren said.

He is bullish on married couples and Asian voters and believes there are ways to reach Latinos. The party, Schwieren said, is working hard “identifying voters who are more likely to vote our way.”

Call David Siders, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 321-1215. Follow him on Twitter @davidsiders.

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