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Lincoln Club Pebble Beach Retreat: Haley, McConnell, Johnson Among Star Power

Gov Nikki Haley-Google GlassesBeing a Republican in California is a lonely job only made bearable with a little help from our friends across the country.

That was certainly evident at the Annual Spring Seminar, hosted by The Lincoln Club of Northern California, an organization of high profile business leaders and Republican donors who favor freer markets and less government. The Seminar was held in gorgeous Pebble Beach this past weekend.

The Club has been a favorite for national players. High level donors and business people in the Club serve as policy advisors and give generously on the national, state, and local levels.

Even in the liberal Bay Area, the Club enjoys a 70% win rate among local Republicans it backs.

“A” list players like Condoleezza Rice, George Shultz, Henry Kissinger, Governor Chris Christie, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, Governor Jeb Bush, and U.S. Senator Rand Paul, have been featured and honored at past events in Northern California.

This year’s Spring Seminar’s political energizers included South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, U.S. Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Ron Johnson (R-WI), Congressmen Mac Thornberry (R-TX) and Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R-IL).

National pundits and policy leaders on hand for the weekend included new RNC CTO Andy Barkett, national pollster John McLaughlin and Students Matter Founder David Welch.

Gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari spoke at the opening reception, just prior to launching his jobs plan for rebuilding the middle class. Secretary of State Candidates Pete Peterson and Dan Schnur were also on hand and talked about making the office more business-friendly, reducing fees, and upgrading technology, which is desperately needed.

Governor Haley, had just tested Google Glass the day before and discussed progress on Google’s new campus in Charleston, South Carolina. Haley, whose first job was keeping the books for her family’s clothing store – at the age of 13 – is an articulate and accomplished woman role model for Republicans. She discussed efforts to improve education and promote a jobs friendly environment. South Carolina unemployment is at its lowest point, 6.4%.

“I learned how hard it is to make a dollar and how easy it is for government to take it,” said Governor Haley.

Business leaders are quite familiar with California government’s ability to tax anything they can, in this land where Democrat super majorities rule our legislative chambers.

I was anxious to hear Andy Barkett’s thoughts as a big data guy on what went wrong in 2012 and what we can do to fix things now. Barkett has worked with some of the largest data sets in the world, managing infrastructure engineering teams at Facebook and Google. He’s an impressive addition to the national effort who gets it when it comes to engaging voters online. I’m a fan.

Pollster McLaughlin, a friend of 30 years who I know as a straight talker, reviewed national trends on Obamacare, jobs, and national security. He’s fresh off Rep. David Jolly’s special election victory in Florida’s 13th Congressional District. If Republicans follow McLaughlin’s advice, we might win a few.

With take-back of the U.S. Senate a national priority for Republicans, it was refreshing to hear U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell say that he intends to be the offensive coordinator of the U.S. Senate next year.

U.S. Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin was exceptionally generous with his time with Club members and gave a rousing speech about the failure of national health care. He challenged small business leaders to fight for what they believe –

“Business people must be force multipliers. Get thoroughly involved. If we are united, we have a chance of saving our country,” said Senator Johnson.

Congressman Adam Kinzinger, a 36-year old Iraq War veteran talked of country, heart, soul and generations who were better in 1989, just after Reagan was President when America was stronger and communism was coming to a halt. He got emotional talking about veterans and so did everyone else. Kinzinger is among a group of exciting young leaders the Lincoln Club has featured in its programs.

Recently, Republicans have enjoyed victories in special elections across the country as well as in the state senate and San Diego. While we have a lot of work to do, the retreat energized Republicans who know they can make a difference with the help of strong business advocates across the country.

Cross-posted at Fox and Hounds Daily