SAN FRANCISCO — After decades of taking a backseat in presidential politics, California is finally occupying the pivotal role it’s long envisioned for itself.

The state’s Super Tuesday primary could decide the Democratic nominee. And this weekend, California becomes the center of the political universe as the biggest gathering of presidential hopefuls to date crashes the nation’s largest state party gathering.
With nearly 500 Democratic delegates at stake in the March 3 primary — the highest number of any state — the California Democratic Party’s mega-convention is important enough to pull more than half of the 23-candidate field out of the early presidential states and into Moscone Convention Center for three days of events.

The prospective rewards are tantalizingly rich: there are 8.6 million Democratic voters in the state, and the convention is expected to draw a crowd of at least 5,000 activist delegates and guests, in addition to at least 300 national media starting Friday.

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