By Torey Van Oot
Published: Friday, Mar. 1, 2013 – 5:45 pm
Last Modified: Saturday, Mar. 2, 2013 – 12:25 am

California’s highest-ranking House Republican has a message for fellow members of the GOP still reeling from November losses: “We can only go up.”

“The most important thing that the Republican Party has is I don’t believe we can get any lower,” Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the House majority whip, said during an appearance at the Sacramento Press Club on Friday.

The former Assembly GOP leader’s remarks came as Republicans from across the state flocked to Sacramento for the party’s spring convention this weekend. It’s the first official gathering of GOP officials, delegates and activists since the state party suffered yet another drubbing at the ballot box last year.

Republicans, who currently hold no statewide office in the Golden State, lost key legislative and congressional races and the party’s share of the electorate dropped below 30 percent for the first time.

McCarthy said the November outcomes were practically inevitable given the strength and organization of the Democrats’ campaign at the top of the ticket. President Barack Obama beat GOP nominee Mitt Romney by 23 points in California, boosting Democratic votes down the ballot.

“I don’t think in this presidential year we were going to be able to do much of anything,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy said the Obama campaign team’s focus on data mining and voter targeting was a “wake-up call” that California Republicans should try to emulate in 2014 and beyond.

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