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Republican Women On An Election Mission To Bolster The Red In San Diego

Republicans attend a meeting and luncheon, hosted by the San Diego County Federation of Republican Women, in a banquet room at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, decked out in patriot colors and a stuffed elephant to symbolize the GOP,  May 14, 2018.
Susan Murphy
Republicans attend a meeting and luncheon, hosted by the San Diego County Federation of Republican Women, in a banquet room at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, decked out in patriot colors and a stuffed elephant to symbolize the GOP, May 14, 2018.

A group of San Diego women, who claim they helped lead President Trump to victory, are hoping to bring the same outcome to local GOP candidates.

On a recent Monday in a Mission Valley banquet room decked out in red white and blue, dozens of members of the San Diego County Federation of Republican Women were gearing up for an election battle.

“We’ve lived in enemy territory forever, it seems like,” said Waskah Whelan. “And so we’re used to it. You just have to keep fighting, because you have to keep fighting.”

Whelan and the others, some flaunting their patriotic styles and accessories, are among the 1,400 conservatives who make up the group. The women are heavily engaged in elections, providing fuel for Republican campaigns by walking precincts, working phone banks and rallying — one of Patti Siegman’s passions.

“I believe that rallies make people aware and alert of the candidate and what they stand for,” said Siegmann, a veteran Marine Corps police officer.

So it’s no wonder the GOP candidates who had joined the women for their annual banquet luncheon, were vying for the group’s support. They know what the women can do.

“Which state in the United States helped put Donald Trump over the top? California,” said Whelan, the group’s campaign precinct chairman. “Not because of the vote but because of all the phone calls we made.”

Trump did not win in California, but the women were part of a national effort to get Republicans to the polls, making thousands of phone calls all across the country.

Patti Siegmann (center) rallies with other women in support of President Trump and Darrell Issa (R-Vista) in front of the Congressman's Vista office, Feb. 21, 2017.
Matthew Bowler
Patti Siegmann (center) rallies with other women in support of President Trump and Darrell Issa (R-Vista) in front of the Congressman's Vista office, Feb. 21, 2017.

With election season kicking into full gear, they’re energized and organized in their mission to bolster the red, said Whelan.

“I just want to win,” she said.

Whelan is helping to lead their efforts with a close eye on local Congressional races, especially the 49th seat, which stretches from northern San Diego County to southern Orange County. Darrell Issa (R-Vista), who has held the seat since 2001, plans to retire.

“We have to hold that seat,” Whelan told the women from a podium at the front of the large hall at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. “That is the key to Nancy Pelosi becoming the “Speaker of the House. It’s that seat, and the ones in Orange County.”

Whelan said she's confident in her winning strategy.

“We’re going to work in the 49th whether we can vote in the 49th or not,” she said. “We’re going to have ladies going up there, carpooling up there to work on the phone banks.”

But the women admit there’s plenty to worry about amid a wave of activism and protests among liberals over President Trump’s initiatives — from immigration and the border wall to taxes and gun control.

Republicans also represent a minority in the county’s Democrat-majority region. The latest voter registration numbers in San Diego County recorded in April show Democrats outnumbering Republicans by nearly 8 percent.

Marilyn Rogers, a retired teacher from Point Loma, said she's disheartened over the nation’s divisiveness.

“In my lifetime, I don’t remember this many people being opposed to each other as they are now,” said Rogers, the group’s membership leader.

To avoid confrontation, she has become more sensitive to sharing her views outside of the group, or wearing her GOP elephant earrings in public, she said.

“I do have friends who have not quite quit speaking to me, but have problems communicating since Trump got elected because they are so afraid or have been brainwashed that he’s destroying things,” Rogers said.

But Rogers, and many of the other women said they remain steadfast in their support for the president, and they’re encouraged by the things he’s done.

“The women love Trump,” Whelan said, “and they have loved him from the beginning.”

“He stands for everything we believe in. Everything,” Siegmann said.

“He’s not perfect, but I think he’s exactly what we need right now,” Rogers added.

They’re hoping that with their help, Republicans will come out strong in November’s General Election.

Republican Women On An Election Mission To Bolster The Red In San Diego
Republican Women On An Election Mission To Bolster The Red In San Diego
A group of Republican women in San Diego, who claim they helped lead President Trump to victory, are hoping to bring the same outcome to local GOP candidates.