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Schwarzenegger, Kasich to team up for group seeking to reform California GOP

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Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger speaks on the Los Angeles campus of USC on April 5, 2017. (Rick Loomis/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

LOS ANGELES — Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ohio Gov. John Kasich will headline an event to debut a new group seeking to reform the California Republican Party.

The pair will deliver speeches and participate in panels on March 21 in Los Angeles at an event for New Way California, a group formed by Republican Assemblyman Chad Mayes of Yucca Valley.

“They will be focused on reminding the Republican Party we need them to be successful, but in order to be successful, they need to choose policies and messaging that helps them grow rather than continue to shrink,” said Daniel Ketchell, a spokesperson for Schwarzenegger.

The former California governor, one of the last Republicans to win statewide election, has been lamenting the party’s decline for years. In 2007, he famously made a speech about the state party “dying at the box office.”

Since then, the GOP’s share of voter registration in California has slipped to 26 percent.

Kasich shares Schwarzenegger’s concerns, adviser John Weaver said.

“He believes the Republican Party should be positive and inclusive and expansive, as opposed to the narrow cast that it has been nationally, and in California particularly, for some time,” Weaver said. “What has happened with tone and on immigration clearly over the last decade, longer, has put the party back, and now the party, by and large, is run by people who would rather be leaders in a phone booth and are not inclusive enough and not positive enough to win a statewide election.

“He has concerns about that because what happens in California is a precursor to what happens nationally,” Weaver said.

Kasich, who has been a fierce critic of President Donald Trump since his unsuccessful presidential bid in 2016, has toured the nation calling for civility and bipartisanship in politics, and is reportedly considering another presidential run.

Schwarzenegger and Kasich are also longtime friends, a relationship forged in part by Schwarzenegger holding his Arnold Classic bodybuilding competition in Ohio. Schwarzenegger previously endorsed and raised money for Kasich, and has called on him to run for president in 2020.

Schwarzenegger sits on the board of Mayes’ political action group, which was formed after the assemblyman was forced from his GOP leadership post for supporting a Democratic cap-and-trade program. The group is expected to organize a super PAC for this year’s elections.

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