Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio
California is sending the largest delegation of any state to this week’s Republican National Convention. The 172-member delegation includes several prominent elected officials - but others did not make the trip.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield is the best known of California’s delegates. He’s joined in the delegation by one other member of Congress, Rep. Darrell Issa of San Diego County, and by former Sacramento-area Rep. Doug Ose.
State Senate Minority Leader Jean Fuller is on the trip – she’s also from Bakersfield and a close ally of McCarthy’s. Two other state lawmakers are delegates, and a third is an alternate.
Notable absences include the two highest ranking California Republican elected officials: Board of Equalization members Diane Harkey and George Runner. Both supported Ted Cruz, and Runner wouldn’t have come anyway – his wife passed away on Thursday.
Also not in Cleveland: Assembly Minority Leader Chad Mayes, who was a Mitt Romney convention delegate in 2012 before being elected to the Legislature. Mayes originally backed John Kasich – and has still not endorsed Donald Trump.
Mayes told me today it'll depend on how Trump campaigns in the next few months. https://t.co/MY3WIIoGlY
— Ben Adler (@adlerben) May 5, 2016
That said, many elected officials choose to skip presidential conventions regardless of the nominee.
“It’s July in Cleveland, or I could be at home,” rural Northern California Rep. Doug LaMalfa told the Los Angeles Times in May. “I don’t think I’m needed there. There’s a lot of people anxious and hot to go and be delegates, so have at it.”
And members of Congress are guaranteed convention access by virtue of their office. Orange County Rep. Mimi Walters, who's not a Trump delegate, told the Times that she would attend the convention out of curiosity.