2014-03-16T231956Z_1_CBREA2F1STB00_RTROPTP_2_USA

Republicans roar for Tea Party candidate at California convention

California Republican gubernatorial primary candidate Donnelly greets well-wisher in BurlingameBy Sharon Bernstein BURLINGAME, California (Reuters) – California Republicans wrapped up their annual state convention on Sunday with a roar of approval for a charismatic Tea Party-backed candidate seeking to unseat popular Democratic Governor Jerry Brown as he vies for an unprecedented fourth term. Tim Donnelly, a Southern California state assemblyman who made his name as a leader for the anti-illegal immigration Minutemen Project, brought the crowd of several hundred party activists to its feet in a speech that slammed Brown, warned of government tyranny and criticized recent efforts in the state to allow transgender children to use school restrooms in accordance with their gender identities. Speakers included former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus who urged members to strike a more inclusive tone as the party struggles to rebuild in a state where it once dominated. “We cannot abandon them … We were once them.” The convention took place after months of strategizing and fundraising led by former Republican state senate leader Jim Brulte.

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