BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The margin between Kern County registered Republicans and Democrats has increased since Election 2020.

As of Feb. 25, 2021, there are 12,223 more registered Republicans than Democrats in the Golden Empire. Just before Election 2020, the margin was narrower; there were 10,765 more registered Republicans than Democrats as of Oct. 7, 2020.

As of Thursday, there were 159,476 registered Republicans, 147,253 registered Democrats, and 94,870 voters who registered as “No Party Preference.” Republicans made up 37.0% of the total registered voters while Democrats made up 34.1% and “No Party Preference” made up 22.0%.

This weekend, thousands of conservatives and Republicans are set to meet in Orlando for the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, also known as CPAC. The event will feature several prominent conservative and Republican leaders, including former president Donald J. Trump. The announcement sparked approval from some Republicans and disapproval from others.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy weighed in (R-Bakersfield). When asked if he believes the former president should be speaking at CPAC this weekend, McCarthy answered “yes he should.”

GOP Caucus Chair Liz Cheney (R-WY) had another perspective.

“I don’t believe he should be playing a role in the future of the party or our country,” she said.

17 News Republican Analyst Cathy Abernathy said “Donald trump is a strong presence in this nation politically. He had a strong administration that did great things for this nation. [You] can’t rule him out of anything right now.”

Still, she added the party is focusing on issues.

“Republican party is about jobs,” Abernathy said. “It’s not about keeping you on the couch to keep you fed, it’s about getting you off the couch so you have some pride and you can grow as far as you want to go in a job.”

“Any Republican candidate that walks and talks the issues that Donald Trump talked is going to get strong support whether it’s Trump or someone else. Whether Congresswoman Liz Cheney Congressman McCarthy — We’re all going to be looking at who is out there and running and make a decision much later from now. But the issues won’t change because that’s where our nation is right now.”