Republicans Make Early Rush to California

Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 7.49.07 AMALAN RAPPEPORT

Friday, April 29, 2016

Good Friday morning.

Its primary election is not until June, but the rush to California — a gold mine of delegates — is on.

The courtship of Californians officially begins on Friday, with the kickoff of the state Republican Party convention in Burlingame. The event will be studded with political stars this year, as Donald J. Trump is scheduled to give a lunchtime speech and Gov. John R. Kasich of Ohio is due to speak in the evening.

On Saturday, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Carly Fiorina, his running mate, have prime speaking slots, giving the freshly minted ticket a full day to make its case.

For California, primary season politics have rarely mattered this much. The state’s 172 Republican delegates are a big prize, but the high costs of campaigning there and its late placement on the calendar usually make it a political afterthought.

Not so this year. Mr. Kasich will be on a desperate hunt for delegates. Mr. Cruz and Mrs. Fiorina will be making their last stand to prompt a contested convention, and Mr. Trump will be hoping to put away the nominating contest.

Of course, in a traditionally blue state, a caravan of Republican candidates that have lurched sharply to the right will not be universally welcome. The activist group Answer, Act Now to Stop War and End Racism, is organizing a big protest on Friday to express opposition to Mr. Trump as he addresses the convention.

A Trump piñata will be smashed to mark the occasion.