Capitol Alert

Steve Bannon is coming to California today, and Republicans are excited

Steve Bannon, former strategist for President Donald Trump, speaks at a campaign rally for Arizona Senate candidate Kelli Ward on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017, in Scottsdale, Ariz. Ward is running against incumbent Republican Jeff Flake in next year's GOP primary.
Steve Bannon, former strategist for President Donald Trump, speaks at a campaign rally for Arizona Senate candidate Kelli Ward on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017, in Scottsdale, Ariz. Ward is running against incumbent Republican Jeff Flake in next year's GOP primary. AP

Steve Bannon, head of the conservative website Breitbart News and President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist, will deliver the headline address tonight at the California Republican Party’s fall convention in Anaheim.

Bannon marks what is expected to be an enthusiastic beginning of a three-day event aimed, in part, at determine a potential path to victory next year for Republicans fighting to become more relevant in state and local offices in deep-blue California, where Democrats hold a supermajority in the Legislature. A key focus will also be discussing tactics to retain the 14 House seats Republicans hold in Congress, said California Republican Party Chairman Jim Brulte.

“It’s an opportunity, really for the first time (since the spring convention), to get together and talk strategy about our campaign efforts in 2018,” Brulte said. “I fully expect that we will hold every one of the House seats we currently control in California.”

Bannon is already drawing a larger crowd than initially expected.

“We’ve sure had a spike in ticket sales since we announced him,” Brulte said. “A large number of our delegates would like to hear from him.”

Critics say Bannon, and his supporters, fan the flames of white nationalism, but his brand of politics is becoming more mainstream both in California and across the nation, Brulte said, as he “takes on the establishment on behalf of hard-working Americans.”

“Steve Bannon is a disruptor who may be changing the way that media and campaigns are done,” Brulte said.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield is the keynote speaker Saturday afternoon, followed by Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas.

Democrats aren’t sitting on the sidelines. Saturday, Gold Star father Khizr Khan, who spoke out against Trump at last year’s Democratic National Convention, will address an event hosted by the National Union of Healthcare Workers.

Four candidates in the 2018 governor’s race – all Democrats – will participate Sunday in a debate on health care, hosted by the health care union at its annual leadership conference. Planning to attend are Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Treasurer John Chiang and former state Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin.

The debate, which begins at 9:30 a.m., is at the Sheraton Park Hotel, across the street from the Anaheim Marriott, where the Republican convention will be held.

At an event Friday February 24, 2017, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein answered a question about whether she would work to revoke White House chief strategist Steve Bannon's security clearance. Video courtesy of the Public Policy Institute of California

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