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John Bolton replaces Scott Walker at CRP meeting

John Bolton, who served as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush, will take the California Republican Party convention speaking slot that presidential candidate and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker abandoned.

John BoltonBolton will give the dinner banquet keynote address this Saturday, Sept. 19 as the state GOP convenes at in Anaheim. Walker was supposed to give the speech, but on Friday said he was cancelling the appearance in order to concentrate on early-primary states; his poll numbers in Iowa and New Hampshire have slid precipitously in recent weeks following a lackluster debate performance and some notable waffling on issues including birthright citizenship.

“I greatly appreciate Ambassador Bolton for agreeing to join us at CRP 2015 Fall Convention on such short notice,” party chairman Jim Brulte said in a news release. “With Ambassador Bolton’s experience in foreign policy and national security, I’m looking forward to hearing his thoughts on the important international issues facing America today.”

Bolton, who was Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security for four years before serving as ambassador from 2005 to 2006, is now a foreign-policy senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

“During the Obama presidency America has failed to lead and we are more vulnerable now than ever before,” Bolton said in the news release. “From the Iran deal to China and Russia, we need to change the direction of America’s foreign policy. On Saturday, I’m looking forward to speaking at the CRP convention. It’s important to continue the discussion on national security following the Republican debate at the Reagan Library.”

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SF couple hosting John Kasich, Ben Carson

A San Francisco couple’s home seems to be becoming a key stop on the Republican presidential primary campaign trail.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich was at the Nob Hill home of Christine Hughes and Abe Ostrovsky on Thursday for a reception with a few dozen members of the Lincoln Club of Northern California.

Hughes is the club’s vice chairwoman as well as chairwoman of the San Francisco Republican Party, president of the CalWatchdog Foundation, and a former vice president and board member of the conservative Pacific Research Institute. Ostrovsky is chief operating officer at Artkick. The Kasich event was free to club members and their guests.

Hughes and Ostrovsky also are scheduled to host Dr. Ben Carson for a cocktail reception at their home on the evening Tuesday, Sept. 8; tickets cost $250 per head, or $500 for those who want to attend a VIP photo opportunity first.

UPDATE @ 10:45 A.M. FRIDAY: I now hear that Kasich had a fundraiser yesterday morning at the Stanford Park Hotel in Menlo Park, with about 100 people in attendance and venture capitalists Ted Schlein and Floyd Kvamme offering remarks. Kasich reportedly spoke about his successes in Congress and as Ohio’s governor – the latter including a Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act – and said Donald Trump helped all GOP candidates by drawing 24 million viewers to the first debate early this month.

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Donald Trump wins a South Bay GOP straw poll

Billionaire businessman and reality television star Donald Trump topped the presidential straw poll at the South Peninsula Area Republican Coalition picnic Sunday at the Morgan Estate in Los Altos Hills.

Out of 144 votes cast, Trump got 39 votes, or 27 percent. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush came in second with 27 votes (18 percent), followed by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (20 votes, 13 percent); U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. (16 votes, 11 percent); and Ohio Gov. John Kasich (13 votes, 9 percent). Notably absent from among the poll’s top finishers: former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, who used to live less than two and a half miles from the site of Sunday’s picnic.

Poll participants were given the opportunity to mark a second choice as well. Of those whose first choices didn’t finish in the top five, five picked Rubio as their second choice, four picked Bush, four picked Trump, three picked Walker and two picked Kasich.

“The field is still pretty wide open, but there seems a trend in favor of more conservative candidates,” SPARC president John McDonnell said. “The results belie the conventional wisdom that Trump’s appeal will fade among party regulars, but the results also suggest strong support for Jeb Bush, the ‘establishment’ candidate. We can expect some considerable ebb and flow between now and the hard results in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.”

SPARC is affiliated with the California Congress of Republicans, a mainstream conservative grassroots group that’s chartered as part of the state GOP. The keynote speaker at Sunday’s picnic was Assemblywoman Catharine Baker, R-Dublin, the Bay Area’s only Republican voice in Sacramento.

Trump holds an 11-point lead over Bush in the latest average of recent national polls compiled by Real Clear Politics, followed by neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson; Walker; Rubio; U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas; and Fiorina. In Iowa, Trump leads Bush by about 8 points; in New Hampshire, Trump leads Kasich by 14.

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Carly Fiorina embraces ‘happy hour debate’

Republican presidential candidate and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina says she’s looking forward to taking part in Thursday’s “happy hour” debate between the low-polling contenders.

Fiorina, formerly of Los Altos Hills and now of Virginia, had issued a statement Tuesday soon after Fox News announced the main debate’s lineup saying she continues “to be encouraged by the support of conservative activists and grassroots Republicans across the country–even just today from the readers of PJMedia and Breitbart. They know we need someone from outside the political class if we want America back in the leadership business.”

She called into MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Wednesday morning to speak with host Joe Scarborough:

SCARBOROUGH: You ears were probably burning yesterday. We were all saying wonderful things about you around the set, how you have done a great job this year in everything you’ve done and yet, you’re not going to be on the main stage tomorrow. I know you’ve been getting positive reviews from a lot of people. What do you think about being kept off the main debate stage based on some polls, what, seven months out?

FIORINA: Well, first of all, these are national polls, as you know, Joe. National polls measure, among other things, name I.D. About 40 percent of Republicans have heard my name. In other words, a vast majority of Republican voters, never mind Americans, still don’t know who I am. So that’s not unexpected, considering I’m not a professional politician. Also, you know, in 2007 I think Rudy Giuliani was burning up the polls. As you point out, you have a long way to go here. It’s a long race. And I’ll look forward to the “happy hour” debate.

SCARBOROUGH: What’s the message you hope to get out in the “happy hour” debate?

FIORINA: You know, people are frustrated, disappointed, angry with the professional political class. Whatever your issue, your cause, the festering problem you hoped would be resolved by now, whether it’s border security or the veterans administrations or debts and deficits or a complicated tax code, the political class has let you down.

I don’t come from the political class. I think we need a president now who understands how the economy works, how the world works and who’s in it. Bureaucracies have to hold them accountable and cut them down to size. Technology. I think we need a leader in the White House who understands that their job now is to challenge the status quo of politics as usual.

Every problem we, as Republicans, talk about has been around for 25 or 30 years. It’s not that we don’t have good ideas. We have great ideas. It’s just that they never get implemented. So if we want to actually change it, we have to change the kind of leader we put in the White House.

Fiorina also said she would defund Planned Parenthood; oppose a gas-tax increase to fund the federal highway program; take the federal government to zero-based budgeting; and hold a summit meeting with America’s allies in the Middle East to determine how we can support them better.

Fiorina now ranks 14th among the Republican candidates, with 1 percent support, in an average of five recent national polls compiled by Real Clear Politics. In Iowa, she places 11th with 2.5 percent support in an average of four recent polls; in New Hampshire, she’s in 11th place with 2 percent support in an average of three recent polls.

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Mike Huckabee to speak at state GOP convention

Republican presidential candidate and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee will speak at a lunch banquet during the California Republican Party’s Fall Convention on Sept. 18 in Anaheim.

HuckabeeThe announcement comes one week after the state GOP said Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, also a presidential candidate, will headline the convention’s big Saturday-night dinner on Sept. 19.

“As governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee prompted much needed reform and set the bar high for his fellow governors,” state GOP chairman Jim Brulte said in a news release. “A proven leader, I’m very excited he could join us to kick off convention with the first banquet.”

California Republican Party Vice Chairwoman Harmeet Dhillon said Huckabee “has become a strong, but reasonable voice for conservatives across the nation through his time as governor and as a bestselling author and talk show host. With his years of experience, Huckabee is sure to have a great message to share with our fellow Republicans.”

Huckabee, in the same release said he’s “excited to be kicking off the California Republican Party convention and helping build excitement and enthusiasm for the great things California Republicans are going to help us accomplish in 2016.”

Mike Huckabee was the 44th governor of Arkansas, serving from 1996 to 2007. He won the 2008 Iowa caucus, but eventually finished third for the GOP nomination behind John McCain and Mitt Romney; since then, he has made a name as an author, radio commentator and host, and at the helm of his own Fox News Channel show.

Huckabee now polls fifth and Walker polls second for the Republican nomination, according to an average of recent national polls compiled by Real Clear Politics.

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Will state GOP amend abortion, marriage stances?

Several California county GOP chairpeople are pushing to make sure the party doesn’t soften its stances against same-sex marriage, abortion rights, illegal immigration and gun control at its convention this September in Anaheim.

CA-GOP logoEight county chairs – including two from the Bay Area – wrote a memo to California Republican Party delegates last week urging support for the party’s current platform.

“We believe this is an excellent platform, reflective of our principles as a party,” the memo said. “It is one that Republicans have united around before and one that is consistent with Republican values nationwide. Tampering with the existing document at this juncture will divide the party and discourage the Republican voters.”

The chairs wrote that they expect the party’s drafting committee might amend four key planks at its meeting next Saturday, Aug. 1 in Los Angeles.

“There may be an effort to significantly change the language and message of three of these planks – Family/Marriage, The Right to Life, and Immigration. Also, we believe we may see an attempt to dilute a fourth plank – The Right to Bear Arms,” the memo said. “If this takes place, these four re-written and significantly weakened planks will be reflected in the Draft Platform. These changes would then make it to the Floor for a vote by all State Delegates at our Fall 2015 State Republican Convention.”

“It is crucial that these four planks be upheld rather than be incrementally chipped away,” the memo concluded. “This Platform will serve to motivate our numerous volunteers and voters who will be needed to Get Out the Vote and rally around our candidates in 2016.

The memo was signed by Alameda County GOP Chairwoman Lori Drake; Calaveras County GOP Chairwoman Vicky Reinke, Contra Costa County GOP Chairman Rohit Joy, Del Norte County GOP Chairwoman Karen Sanders, Fresno County GOP Chairman Fred Vanderhoof, Humboldt County GOP Chairwoman Annette De Modena, Mariposa County GOP Chairman Richard Westfall, and Siskiyou County GOP Chairman Richard Marshall.

The California Republican Party’s current platform says that because family is the foundation on which American society has grown and prospered, “we support the two parent family as the best environment for raising children, and therefore believe that it is important to define marriage as being between one man and one woman. We believe public policy and education should not be exploited to present or teach homosexuality as an acceptable “alternative” lifestyle. We oppose same-sex partner benefits, child custody, and adoption.”

On abortion rights, the current platform says the party supports “laws that protect unborn children from partial birth, sex selection, and tax-payer funded abortions, and abortions performed as a form of birth control or on minor girls without their parent’s notification and consent.”

“We believe that the question of abortion is a matter that should be left to the people through their elected representatives, not usurped by the United States Supreme Court, and believe that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided and should be reversed,” the platform continues.

On immigration, the state GOP’s current platform says controlling the border and enforcing all current laws is the only way to be fair to those who’ve come to the country legally. English should be the government’s official language, it says, with all election ballots and other government documents in English only. It calls for a worker visa program with tamper-proof, biometric ID cards for participants and heavy fines for employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants. It calls for cross-deputization of state and county law enforcement personnel so immigrants who’ve come here illegally can be deported immediately upon completion of any criminal sentences. And it calls for “the termination of all federal and state benefits to illegal aliens other than emergency medical care.”

And on the right to bear arms, the state GOP’s current platform says “one of the first acts of a totalitarian society is to disarm its people. California’s gun control laws only serve to disarm law abiding citizens, not criminals. We oppose any further gun control legislation and support the right of all California citizens to own and bear guns and ammunition for any lawful purpose.”

The platform calls for statewide legislation setting reasonable criteria to let law-abiding citizens carry concealed weapons, and supports “allowing citizens to use deadly force to protect lives and property. We also support including all of these rights in the California constitution.”

“Finally, we call for the elimination of waiting periods to purchase firearms and instead support complete implementation of instant background checks,” the platform says.

See how these platform planks compare to polls of Californians’ public opinion, after the jump…
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