Even in a year in which California will likely factor heavily in the Republican presidential primary, to be a Republican from a blue state is to suffer certain indignities.
The California Republican Party confirmed on Friday that its hotel assignment for the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this summer is in Sandusky, Ohio – about 60 miles from the convention hall.
California’s 172-member delegation is the nation’s largest, and it can be difficult to find a hotel large enough to fit the whole group. The Kalahari resort, which will house the delegation, not only offers loads of “beautifully appointed authentic African-themed guest rooms and suites,” according to its web site, but also a water park with “an exciting mix of rides, slides and adventures.”
Still, the accommodation is even more remote than in Tampa in 2012, when California Republicans and a delegation from the Northern Mariana Islands shared a hotel about 30 miles from the convention site.
Delegates that year cheered their beachfront location and time to bond with fellow Californians. But they lamented grueling bus rides to and from the convention center. One night, buses did not return some weary delegates to their hotel until 3 a.m., hours after proceedings let out.
Despite the size its delegation and status as a major donor state, California Republicans typically endure a mix of pity and ribbing when traveling out of state. No Republican holds statewide office, and not since George H.W. Bush in 1988 has a Republican presidential candidate carried the state.
Still, this year holds promise for California delegates beyond the June 7 primary. If Donald Trump fails to secure the nomination and the convention is contested, California delegates may not be the only people slogging to and from Sandusky: Representatives of candidates seeking those delegates’ support might be, as well.