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California Republican convention begins today

9/16/2011, 8:20 a.m.

LOS ANGELES, Calif.--The three-day California Republican Party 2011 Fall Convention will begin today in downtown Los Angeles, focusing on the 2012 presidential race and efforts to reach out to Latino and Asian American voters.

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., is scheduled to speak at a dinner banquet tonight, while three other presidential candidates--Reps. Ron Paul, R-Texas, and Thaddeus McCotter, R-Mich., and activist Fred Karger--are scheduled to speak Saturday. McCotter and Karger have been polling so low that they have not been included in the GOP's primary campaign debates.

A presidential straw poll will be conducted Saturday.

Ed Rollins, who managed Ronald Reagan's 1984 re-election campaign, and pollster Frank Luntz, are among the scheduled participants in a panel discussion Saturday on the campaign.

The convention will also include what is described as the party's first Latino town hall, with California Republican Party Chairman Tom Del Beccaro and "leading Latino voices" participating in a discussion Saturday about how jobs and the economy are affecting the state's Latino community, according to Mark Standriff, the party's communications director.

Board of Equalization member Michelle Park Steel and her husband, Shawn Steel, a member of the Republican National Committee, will host an Asian Leaders Forum Saturday, discussing what makes the Republican Party "a natural alliance for many Asian voters," Standriff said.

More than 1,000 activists are expected to attend the convention at the JW Marriott at L.A. Live.