Capitol Alert
By Christopher Cadelago and David Siders
April 28, 2016 – 6:26 AM

  • It’s been five decades since state GOP had such a chance
  • Trump, Cruz convention speeches sold out quickly
  • Party leaders call for unified message to defeat Democrat

Celeste Greig of Northridge said she will be sitting at a VIP table when Donald Trump gives his address Friday to Republican activists in Burlingame.

Jeannie Foulkrod plans to travel from Southern California to the state GOP’s weekend convention. She likes Ted Cruz, but couldn’t nab a prized ticket to his speech on Saturday.

“Its going to be a lot more exciting,” said Autumn Frank-Stoff, a longtime GOP delegate from San Diego who did get tickets to see Trump and Cruz, events that have long-since sold out. John Kasich and Carly Fiorina also are scheduled to give speeches.

Not since Barry Goldwater and Nelson Rockefeller competed for the party’s nomination in 1964 have California Republicans been so relevant in a presidential primary, and the action at this weekend’s convention is the result.

California for years has been irrelevant when it comes to retail campaigning among Republicans, either because the presidential primary has already been decided by the time it reaches here, or because it’s been written off by the candidate as too Democratic to win in a November election. This year, however, Trump won’t gather enough delegates to clinch the nomination until the June 7 primary, when California votes.

Trump will kick off the packed 24 hours on the heels of a Thursday evening rally in Costa Mesa, where he replayed for a cheering crowd he estimated at 31,000 – others estimated no more than 9,000 – the greatest hits of his standard stump speech.

“We have a movement. This isn’t like a normal situation,” he said.

For his speech Friday, protesters will gather outside the Hyatt Regency hotel. One of the organizers, Alycia Moore, wrote on Facebook that she was looking for musicians to play “covers or original songs about peace and equality.”

Cruz’s speech is set for Saturday, with Fiorina, his newly named running mate, addressing delegates that night.

“It’s obviously going to be a zoo,” said Foulkrod, a delegate from the Rancho Bernardo area of San Diego.

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