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We'll hear from the chair of the San Diego Republican party about how the delayed convention is trying to catch up.

August 28, 2012 1:18 p.m.


Tony Krvaric is San Diego Republican Party Chair. He's at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla.

Related Story: Despite Delay, Republican Stage Is Set In Tampa


This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

CAVANAUGH: San Diego Republican delegates get to vote today for their presidential candidate as roll call takes place at the GOP convention in Tampa. Tropical storm, now hurricane, Isaac delayed the start of the convention. Today's schedule is jam-packed. Tony is at the convention in Tampa. Welcome to the show.

KRVARIC: Thanks Maureen.

CAVANAUGH: It must be good finally to get this convention started. Tell us what's happened so far today.

KRVARIC: Well, it's great to get out of our hotel. I know every nook and cranny of the hotel we've been staying at. The entire California delegation was ready to get to the Convention Center and start with the business of the convention. People are starting to arrive, but we don't expect it to be full until the union program starts which is in about three hours. So there are tons of buses arriving, a lot of people that transported. And a lot of excitement.

CAVANAUGH: And you said actually the weather was pretty beautiful today, right?

KRVARIC: It's beautiful right now. There are clouds in the sky, but they're white clouds instead of the dark gray ones. The humidity is just -- for those of us that live in San Diego, it's a little bit of a challenge. But once you get inside, the air conditioners are working fine.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: You said people are excited for this convention to begin. What is the mood there this week? What are people talking about?

KRVARIC: The one unifying -- what Barack Obama has done is unify Republican was all stripes. And the one thing Republicans from here from all parts of the country, the one thing that everybody is united on is that we have to get rid of Barack Obama come November. That is the one unifying overarching theme, and the convention is going to play on that, of course. And the goal of course is to leave here really, really excited for the upcoming fight after labor day.

CAVANAUGH: We're getting a little bit of a problem on your line.

KRVARIC: I'll try.

CAVANAUGH: What are you looking forward to seeing this week? Who will you be personally meeting with? What are your highlights that you're hoping from this convention?

KRVARIC: Well, the California delegation is the largest delegation, 172 delegates. It's the largest of the national convention. So Monday morning, we had New Jersey governor, Chris Christie visit us for breakfast. We had speaker John Boehner, and the most anticipated are Mrs. Romney and Governor Christie speaking to the entire delegation. But this is an opportunity for grassroots Republicans to hear and see their national leaders in person. And it's really charming in a way, just walking the halls and here comes governor Scott walker. You go down the elevator, and you bump into Marco Rubio on the way. This is like super bowl for political folks.

CAVANAUGH: Tell us about the San Diego delegation. If you want to expand that to the California delegation, how are delegates selected?

KRVARIC: Delegates are selected by the nominee, the person in the east congressional distribution. Governor Romney won the east congressional district, so there are there's -- 159 or whatever it is, and we have at-large delegates. Then there's another set of alternates also chosen in the same fashion. Then we have about 400 guests. So the entire location is 700 to 800 people.

CAVANAUGH: Now -- and are the prominent members of that delegation, Pete Wilson and Darryl Issa. Anyone else who stands out?

KRVARIC: The daughter of Congressman Bilbray is here. Jan Goldsmith is an alternate delegate. A lot of grassroots, regular people who are volunteering their time and resources for the campaign. And that's how they get to know -- selected, and everybody will have to adapt to a certain number.

CAVANAUGH: We do want to keep Tony on the line. As long as we can make out what you're saying, we're going to stay with you. One of the prominent San Diego Republicans who will not be at the convention in person but is virtually there is San Diego mayor, Jerry Sanders. He's released a commercial that will be airing in Tampa this week that urges support of same-sex marriage. Here's the audio.

NEW SPEAKER: In 2007, I announced my support for marriage equality for two reasons: Family and freedom. As a Republican, I believe in conservative values like responsibility and limited government. Our party is changing on this issue thanks to leaders like Dick and Lynn Chaney, Ted Olson, and Cindy McCain. Marriage strengthens families. And we need more of that in this country, not less. Please join us.

CAVANAUGH: Have you seen it?


CAVANAUGH: Have you seen that commercial?

KRVARIC: No, that was the first I heard the audio.

CAVANAUGH: So you don't know if it is having any impact on the convention at all?

KRVARIC: You know, the fact that it was some time ago, it's expected to be adopt. There's nobody here expected to be redefining marriage. Everybody here is focused on Barack Obama which is the clear and present danger, him being reelected. That's what everybody is focused on. There are issues that different people have different opinions on, but the overarching is making sure governor Romney gets elected president. I haven't heard any discussion on that topic or any other, you know, topics that may be interesting to different groups.

CAVANAUGH: Okay. In the past week, it seems like the presidential dialogue has shifted from the economy to social issues like same-sex marriage or rape, abortion, contraception. Do you think the Republican conservative stance on these issues is a strong point for the party in the national election?

KRVARIC: Well, this is going to be ultimately decided on the economy. If Barack Obama. S to talk about all kinds of different things, and different Americas against each other, and playing identity politics, and war on this group or that group, at the end of the day, we're going to talk about the economy and jobs, and how Barack Obama thinks jobs and prosperity come from government, where's the Republicans are going to put forward the idea that prosperity comes from small business and individuals. If he wants to talk about other issues, I don't blame him.

CAVANAUGH: I have only a couple more questions for you. One is about hurricane Isaac. There have been a lot of comparisons between hurricane Isaac heading right toward New Orleans, and of course we're right up against an anniversary of hurricane Katrina, the way the bush administration handled that was not exactly notable. And do you think this is going to reflect at all on reminding people that maybe they have doubts about the Republican party being in charge again?

KRVARIC: I think the governors in those states are staying put, and the mood here is going to be commensurate with that. People are excited about their presidential nominee. But everything is done in a good, respectful way. And they give them the benefit of the doubt that they're doing the best they can, so this isn't a time to finger-point one thing or another. This is a lead-up to Thursday, where governor Romney will be formally nominated. The excitement here, I doubt there's so much excitement on the other side. We'll see. Last time San Diego County went to Barack Obama, and we're going to do our best in our corner of the world to make sure that San Diego County goes for governor Romney.

CAVANAUGH: Thank you very much.

KRVARIC: Thank you.