June 2023 Newsletter Articles

California’s Early Primary Creates Opportunity for Presidential Hopefuls

California’s Presidential primary will take place on March 5, 2024, three months earlier than the 2022 statewide primary.  That change along with the CAGOP’s return to a system known as winner-take-all-by congressional-district gives candidates an opportunity build campaign momentum even if they don’t win the statewide vote.

In the California Republican Presidential primary, the candidate who receives the most Republican votes in each of California’s 52 congressional districts is awarded three delegates.  Ten delegates are awarded to the candidate who receives the most Republican votes statewide.  The CAGOP Chairwoman, National Committeeman and National Committeewoman are automatic delegates to the Republican National Convention.  That brings the total number of California Delegates to the Republican National Convention to 169, three less than in 2020, but still the largest delegation in the country.

The result of this system is that Presidential candidates could target their campaigns in areas where they have the best chance of winning specific congressional districts.

Republicans in blue areas like the San Francisco and Monterey Bay regions will choose a substantial number of Presidential delegates.  There are twelve congressional districts that include portions of the counties that make up the San Francisco and Monterey Bay region.  This means 36 delegates will be selected by GOP voters in this area.  That is more delegates than are selected in many states. Hopefully, this will attract Presidential candidates to campaign in our region.

California Republicans will once again participate in a closed Presidential primary.  Each party that selects delegates to a national nominating convention must decide if No Party Preference voters will have the opportunity to request a party ballot and participate in that party’s presidential primary.   In both 2016 and 2020, the Democratic Party, American Independent Party and Libertarian Party chose to allow NPP voters to participate in their presidential primaries.  Since 2010, The California Republican Party has not allowed NPP’s to vote in their partisan primaries.

In previous elections, the California Secretary of State has sent a letter to NPP voters inviting them to request a ballot for those parties who allow them to participate in their primaries.  NPP voters often ask why the Republican Party is not listed.  Currently, in order to vote in the Republican Presidential primary voters must be registered Republicans.

California Republicans will have an opportunity to decide if they wish to allow NPP’s to participate in their primary when the CAGOP convention meets this September.  However, it is not clear whether a decision allowing NPP’s to request a Republican ballot would run afoul of the rules of the Republican National Committee.

In 2020, California Republicans changed their Presidential primary rules to award delegates based on the statewide vote rather than by Congressional district.  However, those rules applied only to the 2020 ballot and are no longer in effect.

Mayor Marie Blankley Leads Gilroy Forward

By Roger Riffenburgh


It was a challenging time for the City of Gilroy in December 2020 when Marie Blankley took office as the newly elected mayor. The Covid pandemic was approaching its peak and stressing city finances, the city was still recovering from the tragic Garlic Festival shooting of 2019, and several key city jobs were staffed with interim managers as a result of departures.

Today Gilroy’s situation is much more positive. Mayor Blankley is proud of the successful effort to fill vacancies and rebuild the city’s executive team into a group that works together like a family. Beyond that, much of her work has been focused on economic development and improving the city’s financial stability. She has worked with the council and staff to push several projects forward.

Construction is starting this year on two NHL sized hockey rinks at the Gilroy Sports Park, largely “funded by a revenue bond for which the San Jose Sharks are responsible,” says Blankley.. This arrangement should bring both financial benefits from visitors, as well as local recreational opportunities. The city is also renovating two alleys parallel to Monterey Street, called Gourmet Alley and Railroad Alley. The project provides better lighting and makes the alleys more pedestrian friendly, attracting people to downtown restaurants and shopping. Gilroy won a $3.9 million grant through the CalTrans Clean California program to fund it.

Data showed that Gilroy’s streets were deteriorating rapidly. Blankley realized that street maintenance is often neglected in difficult budget times, but following a pavement management plan can save money in the long term. So she pushed for consistent funding through a 5-Year Street Repair Program.

Other efforts that Blankley is working on include building a 10th Street bridge across Uvas Creek, improving fire department response times with a temporary fourth firehouse, and planning for a community center. She devoted her February Spotlight message to affordable housing issues. She is a member of the Valley Transportation Authority board and has been raising the visibility of Gilroy there. Gilroy is likely to be a High Speed Rail stop if the line makes it to the Bay Area.

Professionally, Marie Blankley is a CPA, which is no doubt valuable to the city in these times. She was raised in Gilroy, earned her bachelor’s in accounting at Santa Clara University, and later a master’s in taxation at Golden Gate University. She worked as an accountant and has run her own CPA business in Gilroy for 27 years.

Over the years, Blankley has been active with Rotary, the Gilroy Foundation, the Gilroy Youth Task Force, and St. Mary’s Church. She was appointed to the council in 2018 and won election later that year. She was elected mayor in November of 2020 with over 68% of the vote.

For fun Marie enjoys listening to music and hiking with her husband Steve and the dogs. She and her husband have a son and daughter, both engineers. She says “With faith in yourself and the strength to make yourself proud, we can improve communities and move mountains together. Moving Gilroy forward, together. Love Gilroy!”

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