California Republicans all smiles about Paul Ryan

Jon Fleischman

Frank Stoltze/KPCC

Jon Fleischman of the Orange County based Flash Report, a GOP blog.

The hundreds of California Republican Party activists who gathered for their bi-annual convention in Burbank this weekend could hardly contain their enthusiasm Saturday.

“I’m ecstatic about the pick,” said Jon Fleischman of the Orange County based Flash Report, a GOP blog.

He was speaking, of course, about Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, the man GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney chose as his vice presidential running mate.

Fleischman called Ryan a “young, vibrant pick who is an articulate spokesman on economic issues.” Ryan is 42.

“I can’t wait for the first debate against Vice President Biden,” Fleishman said.

“It’s going to fire up the base,” said Clare Venegas of Irvine. “We’ll have a clear contrast. That’s what California conservatives are excited about.”

While it’s highly unlikely a Romney/Ryan ticket could win overwhelmingly Democratic California in November, excitement about Ryan could bring more Republicans to the polls in the Golden State. And that could affect Congressional races and various ballot propositions, including Governor Jerry Brown’s tax proposal.

Ryan’s selection may also prompt wealthy conservative Republicans in California to give more generously to Romney.

Amid the political placards and red, white and blue balloons inside the Burbank Marriott Hotel convention center, the party faithful most often spoke of Ryan’s budget plan.

“Paul Ryan has a blueprint on how to solve a lot of our economic problems,” said Manny Padilla of North Tustin. “He is a deep thinker.”

Some California Republicans were lukewarm to Romney during the early days of GOP primary — suspicious of his conservative credentials. The selection of Ryan allayed those concerns.

“His pick really shows Romney is focused on the fiscal health of the country,” said Ryan Trabuco of San Diego.

“I like Ryan because he’s almost a bit of a libertarian,” he added.

Fleischman, who once had his own misgivings about Romney, called Ryan an “out-of-the-box” decision that increased his confidence in the GOP’s presidential nominee.

Some here already are considering Ryan’s vice presidential candidacy as laying the groundwork for the future — regardless of whether Romney/Ryan wins. Conservative columnist John Fund was among them.

“Win or lose, I can give you the name of the Republican presidential nominee in 2016 or 2020.”

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