Published: March 15, 2014 Updated: March 16, 2014 9:10 a.m.

BURLINGAME – After years of declining party registration and minority status in the state Capitol, California Republicans are celebrating a pair of key victories and focusing their firepower on local races – including several battles in O.C. – as they attempt to re-establish the party.

At their Bay Area gathering this weekend, GOP leaders are touting San Diego Republican Kevin Faulconer’s mayoral win and their success in a Democratic-leaning Central Valley Senate district last year as signals that they are gaining ground.

Still, it’s an era of rebuilding, with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus appearing to reassure delegates that they’re on the right path.

Limited campaign funds will be targeted toward pushing the strongest candidates over the finish line, not ensuring that there is a Republican in every contest, said Jim Brulte, who took over as state party chairman last year. He describes it as a “nuts and bolts” approach that will require Republicans to find messengers in new areas if the party is to grow beyond 29 percent of state voters.

“I do not buy the narrative that we cannot win votes in every community,” Brulte said. “We have ceded far too much territory to the Democrats because we’ve failed to show up and even try to compete. And that’s on us.”

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