- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 27, 2016

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Donald Trump is courting Golden State voters who could put him over the top in GOP convention delegates.

The presidential candidate will kick off his California campaign with a rally in Costa Mesa Thursday night before he addresses the state’s Republican convention on Friday, his campaign announced.

“It just gives us an opportunity to get into the state and say here we are,” said Trump’s California campaign manager Tim Clark. “We can draw volunteers as far south as San Diego and as far north as Los Angeles.”

Clark said tickets have been going fast since the event in Orange County was announced Wednesday but he did not have an estimate of how many would be available.

Fresh off a sweep of five Northeastern primaries, Trump hopes to lock up the nomination with California’s June 7 primary.

The rare importance of the state’s vote, which has the last primary in the country, is signified this year by the attendance of all three candidates at the weekend convention in Burlingame, in the San Francisco Bay Area. Joining them is Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s newly announced running mate, Carly Fiorina, a former U.S. Senate candidate in California.

Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer of California, who fended off a challenge from Fiorina in 2010, held a call with reporters Wednesday in which she said that all three Republican contenders are out of step with California voters.

She also jabbed Trump’s comment a day earlier that Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton is “playing the woman card,” noting that no woman has yet come close to being the president.

“Anyone with a heartbeat and a pulse knows how hard it is for a woman to get to the top,” she said. “We still don’t even make a dollar for every dollar a man makes; it’s 79 cents. I am speechless at what I saw.”

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