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Rove tells California GOP to 'fight'

| Saturday, March 2, 2013, 9:15 p.m.
Republican strategist Karl Rove told California Republicans that Texas was an example of how the party could make inroads in Democrat-dominated states. AP

SACRAMENTO — GOP strategist Karl Rove had blunt words on Saturday for California Republicans, who are trying to claw their way back to political relevancy in the state.

“My message is this: Get off your” butts, Rove told nearly 500 Republicans gathered for a convention luncheon at a downtown hotel. “Get back in the game and fight. Don't give in to what the other side wants.”

The gathering occurs with the California GOP at a crossroads. A Republican politician has not been elected to statewide office in seven years, GOP voter registration has plummeted, and the party is mired in debt.

Rove said it was possible to turn the situation around and pointed to his experience in Texas. When he moved there, he said, no Republican had been elected statewide in more than a century, and only 13 members of the 150-member house were Republicans.

Now 101 members of the House are Republicans, and in 1998, when George W. Bush was re-elected governor, the GOP swept all 28 statewide offices, Rove said.

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