Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
02/28/2015 5:08 PM

The theme of Friday night’s state Republican Party convention dinner was “Celebrating Our Successes,” which would seem to be an oxymoron.

After all, the party didn’t win any statewide offices last year and dropped one of its congressional seats.

Moreover, as delegates attending a briefing on political demographics were told Saturday, they have been on the losing side of the state’s societal megatrends, such as a decline of the white population, a million-voter edge of women voters over men, declining marriage rates and increasing cultural secularization.

So was there anything for Republicans to celebrate at this weekend’s convention?

Yes, in a way.

They did pick up enough legislative seats last year to end the Democrats’ short-lived two-thirds “supermajorities.” But mostly, they seem to be celebrating three unspoken words: “we get it.”

After years of denial, a financial meltdown and hitting rock bottom in the 2012 elections, the GOP brought in former state Sen. Jim Brulte as its chairman.

Brulte, long an advocate of message realignment, has repaired the party’s finances and concentrated on recruiting and backing diverse candidates for local government, as well as for legislative seats, while not wasting resources on expensive and unwinnable statewide campaigns.

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