CLEVELAND (CBS SF) — California has sent more people to the Republican National Convention than any other state, and after a weekend of partying, they were ready to get down to work in Cleveland Monday.
Hundreds of Trump delegates, alternates and guests from the Golden State have taken over the sprawling Kalahari Resort, an African-themed waterpark an hour distant from the convention arena in Cleveland. Here, the giant fake elephants aren’t for the GOP – they’re trumpeting the hotel’s attractions, all built around the mystique of the African continent.
The California team rested up for the excitement and uncertainty of the week ahead by lolling in the Kalahari’s pools, and roasting a whole pig, complete with a bubbling fountain of barbecue sauce, at a weekend celebration. Sunday night, they headed to a welcome party at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, where Three Dog Night was a last-minute replacement for the Doobie Brothers, the Bay Area band that was supposed to headline the show.
In part to make up for their remote housing assignment, the California delegation has been given prime real estate on the convention floor. They’ll be in the front row, just to the right of the stage, occupying even choicer terrain than the host state, Ohio, and such key battlegrounds as New Hampshire and Florida. That’s also because, unlike most other states, California has nothing but Trump delegates.
“We’re the backstop,” says California GOP chair Jim Brulte, who leads this delegation. “We’re the largest delegation, and my guess is, California is the most Trump-loyal delegation.” All 172 Golden State delegates are committed to Trump.
Mick Malaney, an alternate delegate from Sacramento, is thrilled to be attending his first national convention. “We’re here to show the whole country, Trump is the guy.” He hopes things stay peaceful, and is excited to hear Trump address the convention. “I’m looking forward to a positive outcome. We’re definitely in need of some uplifting moments in this day and age.”
Listen to Doug Sovern’s live reports from the Republican National Convention, Monday through Friday, on KCBS 106.9 FM/740 AM.
AM reports at 6:20, 7:30 and 8:30
PM reports at 4:20, 5:11, 6:11 and 7:11