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2016 Republican National Convention: Live updates

As Republicans prepare to officially name Donald Trump as their presidential nominee, follow reporters Matthew Artz and Julia Sulek, Bay Area News Group editors, California delegates and others through our live-blog of the convention.


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John Kasich is raising funds in Silicon Valley

Republican presidential candidate and Ohio Gov. John Kasich is in Silicon Valley this Monday evening for a fundraising reception.

KasichThe $1,000-to-$2,700-per-head event is at the Woodside home of Kevin Mandia, president of Milpitas-based cybersecurity firm FireEye, and his wife, Julie. The co-chairs are venture capitalists Floyd Kvamme of Saratoga and Ted Schlein of Menlo Park. The event committee includes GOP strategist and former state Sen. Jim Cunneen of San Jose; former Rep. Ed Zschau of Los Altos; venture capitalist Naren Gupta of Woodside; venture capitalist Mark Kvamme of Atherton; and attorney and independent 2012 Assembly candidate Chad Walsh of Los Gatos.

Kasich currently is in ninth place among the GOP presidential contenders with 1.8 percent support, according to an average of recent national polls compiled by Real Clear Politics. In Iowa, he’s in ninth place with 2 percent support, but he has surged to third place in New Hampshire with 11.2 percent support, trailing only Donald Trump (30.2 percent) and Marco Rubio (13.2 percent) in the Granite State.

Billionaire Ron Burkle is scheduled to host a fundraiser for Kasich on Tuesday at Soho House, a private club in West Hollywood, Politico has reported.

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Lookin’ rather vice presidential there, Gov. Haley…

Giving fresh credence to rumors that Republican elders look upon her as a possible vice-presidential nominee, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has been tapped to deliver her party’s response to President Obama’s State of the Union speech next Tuesday, Jan. 12.

Nikki Haley“Nikki Haley has led an economic turnaround and set a bold agenda for her state, getting things done and becoming one of the most popular governors in America,” House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., said in a news release. “In a year when the country is crying out for a positive vision and alternative to the status quo, Governor Haley is the exact right choice to deliver the Republican Address to the Nation.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kent., called Haley “a proven leader and committed reformer who believes deeply in the promise of the country we all share. Not only has Governor Haley fought to bring opportunity and prosperity to the people of her state, but she’s also demonstrated how bringing people together can bring real results.”

The prime-time rebuttal slot has been a prized perch for those with higher aspirations. Those tapped in the past few years to deliver the GOP response include Ryan himself in 2011 – the year before he was GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s running mate. Current presidential candidate Marco Rubio gave the response in 2013, and former candidate Bobby Jindal gave the response to Obama’s first address to a joint session of Congress in February 2009.

Many believe Haley’s conservative bona fides, along with the diversity she symbolizes as a woman and as a daughter of Indian immigrants, make her a good pick for the number-two slot on this year’s GOP ticket. Her popular decision to remove the Confederate battle flag from her capitol’s grounds after June’s massacre in a black church in Charleston, and her steadfast refusal to wade into this year’s presidential morass – she has made no endorsement – could help her chances.

In Ryan’s news release, Haley, 43, said she’s honored to get the speaking slot. “This is a time of great challenges for our country, but also of great opportunities. I intend to speak about both.”

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GOP knocks Clinton for Solyndra-related supporter

Republicans are trying to revive Solyndra – the Fremont-based solar energy company that went bankrupt in 2011 after receiving a federal loan guarantee – as an issue in 2016’s presidential campaign.

Hillary screenshotThe Republican National Committee has published an opposition research brief titled “Another Scandal in the Making” that knocks Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton for her scheduled attendance Friday at a Tulsa, Okla. fundraiser hosted by billionaire oilman and banker George Kaiser, a prominent Democratic fundraiser.

“Clinton is cashing in with a central figure in the Obama administration’s Solyndra scandal,” the GOP’s memo says.

Bloomberg News reported in 2011 that Kaiser’s family foundation invested $340 million in Solyndra, partly in hope that the solar-cell manufacturer would open a plant in Tulsa.

Solyndra also had received a $535 million loan guarantee from the federal government. The company, facing stiff competition from solar manufacturers in China and elsewhere, declared bankruptcy in September 2011; taxpayers took a loss of about $500 million. However, the renewable-energy loan program overall has made more money than it lost.

Solyndra in 2012 became a poster child for GOP charges of the Obama administration’s cronyism, in that the Energy Department apparently had pushed the loan guarantee through for a company in which several prominent Democratic donors were invested. Republican nominee Mitt Romney held a news conference in May 2012 outside the company’s shuttered headquarters. And an Energy Department inspector general’s report released in August found that Solyndra company officials had misrepresented facts and omitted key information in their efforts to secure the loan guarantee, while the department itself wasn’t adequately diligent and felt political pressure to OK the application.

The GOP’s new memo notes Clinton spoke in support of Solyndra in 2011 while serving as U.S. Secretary of State, and that Kaiser has donated up to $250,000 to the Clinton Foundation. It also notes that although Kaiser said he didn’t discuss the loan guarantee with the government, an email trail later revealed that his foundation’s staff had.

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Bobby Jindal ends his presidential campaign

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal dropped out of the race for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.

Bobby Jindal“I cannot tell you what an honor it has been to run for President of the United States of America. My parents came to this country 45 years ago searching for freedom and a chance.

“When I was born, we lived in student housing at LSU, and never in their wildest dreams did they think their son would have the opportunity to serve as Governor of Louisiana or to run for President.

“They raised me to believe Americans can do anything, and they were right, we can. But this is not my time, so I am suspending my campaign for President.

“Going forward, I believe we have to be the party of growth and we can never stop being the party that believes in opportunity. We cannot settle for The Left’s view of envy and division. We have to be the party that says everyone in this country – no matter the circumstances of their birth or who their parents are – can succeed in America.

“One of the things I will do is go back to work at the think tank I started a few years ago – where I will be outlining a blueprint for making this the American century.

“We must show the way forward on growing our economy and winning the war against terror, and especially defeating radical Islam.

“I realize that our country is off on the wrong track right now. Everyone knows that, but don’t forget, this is still the greatest country in the history of the world – and every single one of us should start every day by thanking God that we are fortunate enough to be US citizens.

“Now is the time for all those Americans who still believe in freedom and American exceptionalism to stand up and defend it. The idea of America – the idea that my parents came here for almost a half a century ago – that idea is slipping away from us. Freedom is under assault from both outside our borders and from within. We must act now, we do not have a moment to spare.

Not many will shed a tear. Jindal had the support of 0.3 percent of Republican voters, according to an average of recent national polls compiled by Real Clear Politics. And here in the Bay Area, only four people had contributed any money to his campaign by Sept. 30 – a total of $1,500. (See my earlier story on presidential fundraising for one opinion on why the Bay Area’s huge Indian-American population didn’t pony up for Jindal.)

So, “‘Bye, Felicia.

Nonetheless, several of his Republican presidential candidate peers issued laudatory statements.

From U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas:

“Bobby Jindal is a friend, a patriot, and an incredible governor who has consistently and passionately championed conservative values. He brought a unique talent and many strengths to the Republican primary competition.

“His focus on substantive policy matters advanced the debate that our party must have on the issues most important to American voters. And his vision for fundamental tax reform, as well as repealing and replacing Obamacare, helped set an important standard among the Republican field. He presented bold policy proposals that helped strengthen the ideas put forth in this primary to prepare our eventual nominee for the general election.

“Bobby will always be an important conservative leader in the Republican Party and serve to better the future of our country. Heidi and I wish Supriya, Bobby, and their family all the best.”

From U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.:

“Governor Jindal is a true conservative and a principled leader, whose story epitomizes the American Dream. Governor Jindal has served the people of Louisiana with distinction, and I have no doubt that he will play an important role in helping to elect the next President of the Unites States, and beyond. I wish him and his family all the best.”

From neurosurgeon Ben Carson:

From former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush:

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Carly Fiorina going ‘Back to the Future?’

The super PAC supporting Carly Fiorina is trying to find 1.21 gigawatts of power for her campaign’s flux capacitor, using Wednesday’s “Back to the Future” benchmark to get some viral energy into what might be a flagging presidential bid.

Christopher Lloyd as Doc BrownThe Carly for America super PAC (not to be confused with the Carly for President campaign itself) on Monday launched a separate 102115.com website with a countdown clock to Wednesday’s momentous date and a video featuring a familiar souped-up DeLorean and a voice-over that might have Christopher Lloyd calling his lawyers.

“Oct. 21, 2015, of course! That’s the date that people can start changing the future!” the voice says. The site solicits visitors’ names and email addresses with the plea, “Doc Brown needs your help to save our future – sign up for future transmissions.”

If the super PAC is hoping to piggy-back some excitement onto this pop-culture moment, it doesn’t seem to be making much headway so far: The related “Doc Brown” Twitter account as of mid-Tuesday morning has 35 followers.

Fiorina, who rocketed up to third place (11.8 percent) behind Donald Trump and Ben Carson in the week following her well-received performance at the second GOP debate on Sept. 16 now has plummeted back down to sixth place (5.6 percent) behind Trump, Carson, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush, according to averages of national polls compiled by Real Clear Politics.

In Iowa, the former Hewlett Packard CEO is still in third place (10.3 percent) behind Trump and Carson, and in New Hampshire she’s in second place (13.3 percent) behind Trump.

Nonetheless, national media are trumpeting headlines like “What Happened to Carly Fiorina?” (The Atlantic); “What happened to Carly Fiorina’s presidential campaign?” (Christian Science Monitor); and “The Carly Fiorina Boomlet is Already Over” (The Week).

So a little time travel might be just what Fiorina needs.