Bannon to speak at California GOP convention


Executive chairman of Breitbart News, Steve Bannon, is pictured. | Getty

Steve Bannon is likely to receive a warm reception at the convention in Anaheim. | Scott Olson/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES — Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon will address the California Republican Party next week, a source familiar with the details said, as Republicans in heavily Democratic California seek to defend several contested congressional seats.

Bannon’s Oct. 20 appearance at the state party’s fall convention comes at a critical time for the Republican Party in California, where Democrats are gunning for GOP incumbents in seven congressional districts Hillary Clinton carried last year. Those contests are critical to Democratic efforts to flip the House.

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The GOP has withered in California in recent years, as the electorate became younger and more diverse. The party’s share of statewide registration now stands below 26 percent.

Bannon, the firebrand waging high-profile efforts to challenge GOP incumbents in other states, is likely to receive a warm reception at the convention in Anaheim. State party conventions typically skew right, attracting the GOP’s most ardent activists.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) are scheduled to speak the day after Bannon.

Trump’s job approval rating is dismal in deep-blue California. But among Republicans, he is relatively well regarded here. Seventy percent of California Republicans approve of the way Trump is doing his job, according to a recent Public Policy Institute of California poll.

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Bannon, who recently resigned from his White house post, has returned to the helm at Brentwood-based Breitbart News Service — the alt-right online outlet where he had served as executive chairman before he was drafted to be chief executive of the 2016 Trump presidential campaign.

Trump ran unopposed in California’s late primary last year, leaving the Trump campaign to all but hand-pick the nation’s largest delegation to the Republican National Convention. The state party chairman, Jim Brulte, led the California Trump delegation at the convention, and Republican volunteers here made thousands of telephone calls into targeted states.

Tim Clark, Trump’s California political director during the campaign, is now the White House liaison to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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