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California Republicans showcase diversity in Cleveland, or not

Enthusiastic Pasadena woman presents California's votes for Donald Trump

Businesswoman Shirley Husar presented California's 172 votes for Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention, doing so in energetic fashion.
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Businesswoman Shirley Husar presented California's 172 votes for Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention, doing so in energetic fashion.

When California Republicans formally proclaimed their support for Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention on Tuesday, the state party turned to Shirley Husar, who is black, to make the announcement.

Minutes earlier, Harmeet Dhillon, the state party’s vice chair, delivered a Sikh prayer on the national stage.

The presentations stood out at a convention that, now entering its second day, mostly features speakers who are white.

The California Republican Party, of course, is no bastion of diversity. It has grown older and more conservative in recent decades, while the state’s electorate has become younger and more diverse. The party can trace much of its decline in California to its inability to attract Latino voters, who represent only about 14 percent of GOP registrants, according to Political Data, Inc., a voter data firm.

For image-making purposes at a political convention, California could hold promise. The pool of prospective delegates, nearly all of them hand-picked by the nominee, is relatively large and diverse in the nation’s most populous state.

Yet at the Republican National Convention in 2012, delegation organizers said 79 percent of California delegates were white. Just 7 percent were Latino and 3 percent were black.

This year, the Trump campaign referred questions about delegation members’ race and ethnicity to the state party, which said it did not collect that information.

David Siders: 916-321-1215, @davidsiders

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