As the momentum proceeding the fall presidential election builds, local leaders of the Republican party expect hundreds of conservative voters will flock to Burlingame this weekend in order to hobnob with notable members of the Grand Old Party.
High-ranking party officials such as House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, Republican National Committee Co-Chair Sharon Day and Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich are rolling into town Friday and will appear over the course of the weekend at the .
Chuck McDougald, chairman of the San Mateo County Republican Party, said he anticipates that nearly 1,000 people will attend all of the events taking place such as town hall meetings, banquets and speeches.
According to McDougald, about 70,000 county residents are registered as Republican voters, which comprises about 10 percent of the total population.
But despite being the local political minority, McDougald said his party is not willing to forfeit the battle to win over the hearts and minds of county residents.
"We are going to fight until we get the majority," he said. "We used to be the majority. I don't know what happened. But we've got to do something to change that."
McDougald said he believes this forthcoming election could be integral in shifting the county, and country's, political allegiance.
"This election could be the most important in our lifetime," he said.
McDougald also said he has faith in the ability of the eventual Republican candidate to win the upcoming presidential election, despite the claims of some critics that the current group of potential conservative nominees is not strong enough to seriously contend with President Barack Obama.
"There is a great chance that whoever is the Republican nomination can beat Obama," he said.
But in order to do so, it is in the best interest of the right wing candidate to build their campaign on a foundation of highlighting the variety of economic failures that took place during the first four years of Obama's presidency, McDougald said.
He said the high unemployment rate and increased cost of gas over the course of Obama's four years in office are examples of his unsuccessful economic track record.
County Republican party spokeswoman Lucy Calder agreed, but was not as optimistic as McDougald about the outcome of the upcoming presidential election.
"I think we have a shot, but I think it will be very tough," she said.
Calder cited the sizable campaign war chest that President Obama has built, as well as his appeal to those who favor voting for the candidate with the best grasp on social issues, as two of the most substantial obstacles that the Republican candidate will have to overcome in order to be elected.
"If we don't get away from social issues, it will be tough," she said.
Yet she pointed to the election of Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg as proof that substantial support still exists for conservative candidates, even in areas that are traditionally liberal.
Calder also said she believes that the recent passage of a pension reform act in Menlo Park may indicate that a groundswell of support for fiscally conservative politics may be growing.
She said she hopes that the events this weekend will be able to tap into that community of supporters, and expects the convention will be packed with enthusiasts wanting to support a common cause.
And that is music to the ears of Burlingame Mayor Jerry Deal, who said local merchants will welcome the influx of visitors with open arms regardless of their political affiliation.
"I'm glad they are coming to fill up our hotels," he said.
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