Presidential rivals Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis will court Republicans on Friday in California, a glittering prize in the race for the party’s 2024 nomination and home to many wealthy donors.
Trump, the former president and runaway frontrunner to be the party’s nominee in the November 2024 general election, and Florida Governor DeSantis are speaking to activists and donors at a convention organized by the California Republican Party in Anaheim, 25 miles (40 km) south of Los Angeles.
The event follows Wednesday night’s Republican presidential debate in southern California, which Trump skipped and DeSantis used to make his most direct challenge yet of the race’s leader. Democratic President Joe Biden also traveled to California this week to raise money for his re-election campaign.
Democrats will easily win the liberal state in next year’s general election. But in the battle to become the Republican nominee, California offers the most valuable prize of all. The country’s most populous state has 169 delegates up for grabs in a race where winning delegates state by state determines who will capture the nomination.
Trump, who leads his nearest rival DeSantis by 37 percentage points in the latest Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll, is set to benefit from a recent rule change in how California’s delegates are awarded. If he wins more than 50% of the primary vote in the Golden State, he will collect all 169 delegates, rather than have them allocated on a proportional basis.
Many of the delegates who will attend the Republican nominating convention next year will be in the crowd at the Anaheim event.
Two other presidential candidates – U.S. Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina and biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy – will also speak at the convention.