California Republican Party

Last updated

California Republican Party
ChairpersonJessica Millan Patterson
Senate Leader Brian Jones
Assembly Leader James Gallagher
Founder John C. Frémont
Founded1854;169 years ago (1854)
Youth wing California College Republicans
Membership (2023)Decrease2.svg5,236,952 [1]
Political position Right-wing
National affiliation Republican Party
  •   Red
  •   Green   Blue
US Senate Seats
0 / 2
US House Seats
12 / 52
Statewide Executive Offices
0 / 8
State Senate
8 / 40
State Assembly
18 / 80

The California Republican Party (CAGOP) is the affiliate of the United States Republican Party in the U.S. state of California. The party is based in Sacramento and is led by chair Jessica Millan Patterson. [2]


As of October 2020, Republicans represent approximately 24% of the state's registered voters, [3] placing the party far behind the California Democratic Party which has 46% of registered voters. The party is a super minority in the California State Legislature, holding only 18 seats out of 80 in the California State Assembly and 8 seats out of 40 in the California State Senate. The party holds none of the eight statewide executive branch offices, 12 of the state's 52 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives delegation, and neither of California's seats in the U.S. Senate.

The California Republican Party is known for its culture-war style politics; the state party platform advocates for a near-total ban on abortion access, overturning Obergefell v. Hodges , and banning same-sex marriage. [4]


The Republican Party was born in the 1850s as a primary vehicle to oppose the expansion of slavery in the United States. In 1856, Republicans nominated one of California's inaugural senators, John C. Frémont, for the 1856 presidential election, [5] but he lost the state by a wide margin to Democrat and eventual winner James Buchanan, though he did win the state of New York. Later in 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected to the presidency as the first Republican president. The Republican Party would emerge as primary opposition to the Democratic Party until the present day.

California Republicans and Democrats were competitive throughout the late 19th century. In 1878, Republican California Senator Aaron A. Sargent introduced the language that would become the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which would allow women the right to vote. [5]

Republicans dominated state politics for most of the 20th century (they controlled the state senate from 1891 to 1958) until the 1960s when the Democrats once again became competitive with the rightward shift of the Republican Party, exemplified by their nomination of Barry Goldwater in 1964 (Goldwater lost California in a landslide). [6] Republicans still saw ample success up until the 1990s. George H. W. Bush carried the state in 1988 after Ronald Reagan twice carried the state in 1984 and 1980. Pete Wilson was elected Senator in 1988, and John Seymour was the last Republican Senator from California after being appointed to the seat in 1991.

California's Latino and Asian populations grew significantly in the 1990s and the growing segment of voters were turned off by the Republican Party's hard-line stance on immigration (the Party closely tied itself to Proposition 187). Democrats have won most elections at the state, local, and federal levels since the 2000s by comfortable margins. For example, despite failing to win the presidency, Hillary Clinton won a higher percentage of votes than any candidate since Franklin D. Roosevelt. [6]

Still, California elected Arnold Schwarzenegger twice for governor. Schwarzenegger and Steve Poizner, who later became an independent, are the last Republicans to win statewide elections in California.

California has two Republican presidents in U.S. history: Richard Nixon, who was a U.S. representative and senator from California, and Ronald Reagan, who was a governor of California (1967–1975). Herbert Hoover also studied in California and lived there for a number of years. Other notable California Republicans include former Governor and Chief Justice Earl Warren, former Governor and Senator Hiram Johnson, and former Senator and founder of Stanford University Leland Stanford. [5]

In 2018, the California Republican Party had fewer registered voters than voters registered with a no party preference option, but that trend reversed in 2020. [7] [8]

Elected officials

The following is a list of Republican statewide, federal, and legislative officeholders:

Members of Congress

U.S. Senate

  • None

Both of California's U.S. Senate seats have been held by Democrats since 1992. John F. Seymour is the last Republican to have represented California in the U.S. Senate. Appointed in 1991 by Pete Wilson who resigned his Class I Senate seat because he was elected governor in 1990, Seymour lost the 1992 special election to determine who would serve the remainder of the term expiring in 1995. Seymour lost the special election to Democratic challenger Dianne Feinstein, who was subsequently elected to a full term two years later and held the seat until her death in 2023. Pete Wilson is the last Republican to have won an election to represent California in the U.S. Senate, when he won in 1988. He is also the last Republican to represent California for a full term in the U.S. Senate from 1983 to 1989.

With the passage of Prop 14 in 2010 setting up a jungle primary system in California, there was a period of 10 years (2012–2022) in which no Republican made the general election for the US Senate, as Republicans were locked out from the general elections in both the 2016 election and the 2018 election.

U.S. House of Representatives

Out of the 52 seats California is apportioned in the U.S. House of Representatives, 12 are held by Republicans:

Statewide offices

California has not had a Republican in a state-wide elected office since January 2011. Republicans were last elected to a statewide office in 2006, when Arnold Schwarzenegger was re-elected as governor and Steve Poizner was elected insurance commissioner. In 2010, term limits prevented Schwarzenegger from seeking a third term while Poizner chose not to seek re-election as insurance commissioner, instead making an unsuccessful bid for the Republican nomination for governor. In 2018, Poizner attempted to run again for his old seat of insurance commissioner, but did so without the affiliation to the Republican Party.

The last Republican to serve as lieutenant governor was Abel Maldonado, who was appointed in 2010 by Schwarzenegger to fill the vacancy when John Garamendi resigned to take a seat in Congress. Maldonado lost his election in 2010 for a full term, and left office in January 2011. The last Republican elected to the position was Mike Curb, who was elected in 1978 and served until January 1983.

The last Republican to serve as Attorney general was Dan Lungren who was elected in 1990, reelected in 1994, and served until January 1999.

The last Republican to serve as Secretary of State was Bruce McPherson who was appointed to the position in 2005 when the previous Secretary of State, Kevin Shelley, resigned. McPherson lost the election for a full term in 2006 and left office in January 2007. The last Republican elected to the position was Bill Jones who was elected in 1994 and reelected in 1998.

The last Republican to serve as State treasurer was Matt Fong who was elected in 1994 and served until January 1999. Fong chose not to run for re-election in 1998, choosing instead to run unsuccessfully for the US Senate.

The last Republican to serve as State controller was Houston I. Flournoy who was elected in 1966, reelected in 1970, and served until January 1975.

The last Republican to serve as the Superintendent of Public Instruction (which is officially a non-partisan position) is Max Rafferty, who was elected in 1962, reelected in 1966, and served until January 1971.

Board of Equalization, State Senate and Assembly

Board of Equalization

Republicans hold one of the four non-ex-officio seats on the State Board of Equalization: [9]

State Senate

Republicans are in the minority, holding eight of the 40 seats in the State Senate. Republicans have been the minority party in the Senate since 1970.

State Assembly

Republicans hold 18 of the 80 seats in the State Assembly. [10] The last time the Republicans were the majority party in the Assembly was during 1994–1996.

Mayoral offices

Of California's ten largest cities, two have Republican mayors as of July 2022:

Rules for presidential primary elections

How delegates are awarded

As of the 2024 Republican National Convention, the California Republican Party gets to send 169 delegates to the quadannual Presidential nominating convention, the most of any state party. From the 2004 presidential primary until the 2020 presidential primary, the California Republican Party awarded 3 delegates to the winner of the primary within each one of the state's congressional districts, with the balance (about a dozen delegates) awarded proportionally based on the statewide result. [13]

Ahead of the 2024 National Convention, the state party changed its rules for awarding delegates in order to comply with the rules of the national party (failure to do so would have resulted in a cut of 50% to the number of delegates the state party gets to send to the national convention). Under the new system, delegates are awarded based on the statewide results, rather than results within the individual districts. At the urging of the Donald Trump presidential campaign, the rules were also changed that if a candidate receives more than 50% of the primary votes, the candidate gets 100% of the state's 169 allotted delegates. If no candidate gets 50% of the primary vote, then delegates are awarded proportionally. [14]

Who can participate in the primary

Since the passage of Proposition 14 in 2010, all of California's primaries, with the expection of primaries for President of the United States, are jungle primaries in which candidates from different parties compete in the same primary. For President of the United States, California has a closed primary system in which the different parties have separate primaries, and only voters registered with the party can vote in the party's primary. California allows the parties to select whether to allow voters who are not affilitated with any party to vote in their party's primary. The California Republican Party does not allow voters not affilitated with any party to vote in the Republican presidential primary. [15]


The California Republican Party is a "political party that has detailed statutory provisions applicable to its operation", which are in division 7, part 3 of the California Elections Code. [16] [17] The Republican State Central Committee (RSCC), the governing body of the California Republican Party, functions pursuant to its standing rules and bylaws. [18] [19] [20] The RSCC works together with the Republican county central committees and district central committees, [20] with county central committees appointing delegates to the RSCC. [21] The regular officers of the RSCC are the chairman, state vice chairman, eight regional vice chairmen, secretary, and treasurer. [22]

County central committees

There are semi-autonomous county central committees for each of California's 58 counties. [16] [20] At every direct primary election (presidential primary) or when district boundaries are redrawn, [23] their members are either elected by supervisor district or Assembly district depending on the county. [24]

County central committees
County partyElected members
Republican Party of Los Angeles CountyAssembly district committee members elected at the direct primary elections. [25]
Republican Party of San Diego CountySix regular members elected from each Assembly district in the county. [26]
Republican Party of Orange CountySix members elected from each Assembly district. [27] [28]

Party chairs

Election results


President Richard Nixon (1969-1974), whose home state was California Richard Nixon presidential portrait.jpg
President Richard Nixon (1969−1974), whose home state was California
President Ronald Reagan (1981-1989), whose home state was California Official Portrait of President Reagan 1981.jpg
President Ronald Reagan (1981−1989), whose home state was California
California Republican Party presidential election results
ElectionPresidential TicketVotesVote %Electoral votesResult [lower-alpha 1]
1856 John C. Frémont/William L. Dayton 20,70418.78%
0 / 4
1860 Abraham Lincoln/Hannibal Hamlin 38,73332.32%
4 / 4
1864 Abraham Lincoln/Andrew Johnson 62,05358.60%
5 / 5
1868 Ulysses S. Grant/Schuyler Colfax 54,58850.24%
5 / 5
1872 Ulysses S. Grant/Henry Wilson 54,00756.38%
6 / 6
1876 Rutherford B. Hayes/William A. Wheeler 79,25850.88%
6 / 6
1880 James A. Garfield/Chester A. Arthur 80,28248.89%
1 / 6
1884 James G. Blaine/John A. Logan 102,36951.97%
8 / 8
1888 Benjamin Harrison/Levi P. Morton 124,81649.66%
8 / 8
1892 Benjamin Harrison/Whitelaw Reid 118,02743.78%
1 / 9
1896 William McKinley/Garret Hobart 146,68849.16%
8 / 9
1900 William McKinley/Theodore Roosevelt 164,75554.50%
9 / 9
1904 Theodore Roosevelt/Charles W. Fairbanks 205,22661.84%
10 / 10
1908 William Howard Taft/James S. Sherman 214,39855.46%
10 / 10
1912 State party ran Theodore Roosevelt/Hiram Johnson (Progressive)283,61041.83%
11 / 13
1916 Charles E. Hughes/Charles W. Fairbanks 462,51646.27%
0 / 13
1920 Warren G. Harding/Calvin Coolidge 624,99266.20%
13 / 13
1924 Calvin Coolidge/Charles G. Dawes 733,25057.20%
13 / 13
1928 Herbert Hoover/Charles Curtis 1,162,32364.69%
13 / 13
1932 Herbert Hoover/Charles Curtis 847,90237.39%
0 / 22
1936 Alf Landon/Frank Knox 1,766,83666.95%
0 / 22
1940 Wendell Willkie/Charles L. McNary 1,877,61857.44%
0 / 22
1944 Thomas E. Dewey/John W. Bricker 1,988,56456.48%
0 / 25
1948 Thomas E. Dewey/Earl Warren 1,913,13447.57%
0 / 25
1952 Dwight D. Eisenhower/Richard Nixon 3,035,58756.83%
32 / 32
1956 Dwight D. Eisenhower/Richard Nixon 3,027,66855.39%
32 / 32
1960 Richard Nixon/Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. 3,259,72250.10%
32 / 32
1964 Barry Goldwater/William E. Miller 2,879,10840.79%
0 / 40
1968 Richard Nixon/Spiro Agnew 3,467,66447.82%
40 / 40
1972 Richard Nixon/Spiro Agnew 4,602,09655.00%
45 / 45
1976 Gerald Ford/Bob Dole 3,882,24449.35%
45 / 45
1980 Ronald Reagan/George H. W. Bush 4,524,85852.69%
45 / 45
1984 Ronald Reagan/George H. W. Bush 5,467,00957.51%
47 / 47
1988 George H. W. Bush/Dan Quayle 5,054,91751.13%
47 / 47
1992 George H. W. Bush/Dan Quayle 3,630,57432.61%
0 / 54
1996 Bob Dole/Jack Kemp 3,828,38038.21%
0 / 54
2000 George W. Bush/Dick Cheney 4,567,42941.65%
0 / 54
2004 George W. Bush/Dick Cheney 5,509,82644.36%
0 / 55
2008 John McCain/Sarah Palin 5,011,78136.95%
0 / 55
2012 Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan 4,839,95837.12%
0 / 55
2016 Donald Trump/Mike Pence 4,483,81031.62%
0 / 55
2020 Donald Trump/Mike Pence 6,006,42934.32%
0 / 55


California Republican Party gubernatorial election results
ElectionGubernatorial candidateVotesVote %Result
1857 Edward Stanly 21,04022.46%LostRed x.svg
1859 Leland Stanford 10,1109.84%LostRed x.svg
1861 Leland Stanford 56,03646.41%WonGreen check.svg
1863 Frederick Low 64,28359.03%WonGreen check.svg
1867 George Congdon Gorham 40,35943.71%LostRed x.svg
1871 Newton Booth 62,56152.11%WonGreen check.svg
1875 Timothy Guy Phelps 31,32225.48%LostRed x.svg
1879 George Clement Perkins 67,96542.42%WonGreen check.svg
1882 Morris M. Estee 67,17540.79%LostRed x.svg
1886 John Franklin Swift 84,31643.10%LostRed x.svg
1890 Henry Markham 125,12949.56%WonGreen check.svg
1894 Morris M. Estee 110,73838.92%LostRed x.svg
1898 Henry Gage 148,35451.68%WonGreen check.svg
1902 George Pardee 146,33248.06%WonGreen check.svg
1906 James Gillett 125,88740.4%WonGreen check.svg
1910 Hiram Johnson 177,19145.94%WonGreen check.svg
1914 John D. Fredericks 271,99029.35%LostRed x.svg
1918 William Stephens 387,54756.28%WonGreen check.svg
1922 Friend Richardson 576,44559.69%WonGreen check.svg
1926 C. C. Young 814,81571.22%WonGreen check.svg
1930 James Rolph Jr. 999,39372.22%WonGreen check.svg
1934 Frank Merriam 1,138,62948.87%WonGreen check.svg
1938 Frank Merriam 1,171,01944.17%LostRed x.svg
1942 Earl Warren 1,275,23757.07%WonGreen check.svg
1946 Earl Warren 2,344,54291.64%WonGreen check.svg
1950 Earl Warren 2,461,75464.86%WonGreen check.svg
1954 Goodwin Knight 2,290,51956.83%WonGreen check.svg
1958 William Knowland 2,110,91140.16%LostRed x.svg
1962 Richard Nixon 2,740,35146.87%LostRed x.svg
1966 Ronald Reagan 3,742,91357.55%WonGreen check.svg
1970 Ronald Reagan 3,439,17452.83%WonGreen check.svg
1974 Houston Flournoy 2,952,95447.25%LostRed x.svg
1978 Evelle Younger 2,526,53436.50%LostRed x.svg
1982 George Deukmejian 3,881,01449.28%WonGreen check.svg
1986 George Deukmejian 4,505,60160.54%WonGreen check.svg
1990 Pete Wilson 3,791,90449.25%WonGreen check.svg
1994 Pete Wilson 4,781,76655.18%WonGreen check.svg
1998 Dan Lungren 3,218,03038.38%LostRed x.svg
2002 Bill Simon 3,169,80142.40%LostRed x.svg
2003 (recall) Arnold Schwarzenegger (best-performing)4,206,28448.6%WonGreen check.svg
2006 Arnold Schwarzenegger 4,850,15755.88%WonGreen check.svg
2010 Meg Whitman 4,127,39140.9%LostRed x.svg
2014 Neel Kashkari 2,929,21340.03%LostRed x.svg
2018 John H. Cox 4,742,82538.05%LostRed x.svg
2021 (recall) Larry Elder (best-performing)3,563,86748.4%Recall failed
2022 Brian Dahle 4,462,91440.8%LostRed x.svg

See also


  1. Result of the national electoral vote count

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  4. Korte, Lara (September 30, 2023). "California GOP rejects effort to strip abortion, same sex marriage from platform". Politico. Retrieved October 1, 2023.
  5. 1 2 3 "About CA GOP".
  6. 1 2 Krishnakumar, Priya; Arm; Emamdjomeh; Moore, Maloy. "After decades of Republican victories, here's how California became a blue state again". Retrieved February 24, 2022.
  7. "Republicans slip to 3rd place, behind independents, as registration choice of Californians", San Francisco Chronicle , June 1, 2018
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  10. "Members | Assembly Internet".
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  15. "Voting In California's Primary When You Have No Party Preference Gets Complicated". NPR. February 23, 2020.
  16. 1 2 Eu v. San Francisco County Democratic Central Committee (1989), 489 U.S. 214 Archived 2014-03-12 at the Wayback Machine . "The State of California heavily regulates its political parties. … The California Elections Code (Code) provides that the 'official governing bodies' for such a party are its 'state convention,' 'state central committee,' and 'county central committees,' …"
  17. California Elections Code § 7250
  18. California Elections Code § 7350
  19. Standing Rules and Bylaws of the California Republican Party Archived 2014-03-12 at the Wayback Machine , As Amended 6 October 2013.
  20. 1 2 3 Bylaws § 1.03
  21. Bylaws § 2.01.01(B)
  22. Bylaws § 2.03.01(A)
  23. California Elections Code § 7420
  24. California Elections Code division 7, part 3, chapter 4, article 1, §§ 7400 et seq.
  25. Bylaws of the Republican Party of Los Angeles County, as amended December 15, 2012, § 2(a)
  26. Bylaws of the Republican Party of San Diego County Archived 2012-06-10 at the Wayback Machine , § 2.01.01(A)(1)
  27. Bylaws of the Republican Party of Orange County Archived 2014-04-11 at the Wayback Machine , As Amended May 20, 2013, Article IV(A)
  28. California Elections Code § 7401