It was a message with which pretty much every Republican in the audience could identify, from the ideologue to the pragmatist faced with leading the party out of its long winter of electoral isolation.
"Here's some advice from a guy from New Jersey: Don't be afraid," said Gov. Chris Christie in his speech to the California Republican Party convention on Saturday afternoon.
"There are always going to be people to tell us that the country isn't ready for conservatism, " he said, "that you have to go along with whatever's the policy that the media or big donors in the party would like you to follow."
Christie, in a speech that lasted just under 25 minutes to a crowded downtown Sacramento ballroom, was ostensibly talking about the national GOP challenge in the 2016 presidential race -- a race he still seems to be thinking about taking on, even in the wake of some recent tough sledding in the Garden State and nationally.
But the message may have been just as applicable to California's GOP leaders, who have for more than a decade hotly debated how to rejuvenate Republican chances in a state where Democrats have long dominated.
Christie, himself a member of a state party outnumbered by Democrats, suggested to those in attendance that he sees authenticity as the key.
"If you tell the voters the truth, even if it's a hard truth they don't want to hear, they'll respect you," he said.
GOP leaders in California may believe that kind of consistency helped lead a handful of Republican candidates to victory last fall in races for the state Assembly and Senate, thus dismantling the Democratic supermajority in the Legislature.
But it has not been a winning strategy for statewide office. In the last 12 years, only three GOP candidates have won statewide -- none since 2006 -- two of which were named Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Schwarzenegger was the most prominent Republican who urged the state party to moderate its positions, famously telling a 2007 convention crowd that the GOP was "dying at the box office."
Christie avoided any specific references to California (and no reprise of his famous 2012 jabs at Gov. Jerry Brown), other than to invoke the legacy of the state's most famous Republican, the late President Ronald Reagan.
But his tell-it-like-it-is argument, one which he claims has produced success in New Jersey, is one that appeals to Californians who either want the GOP to broaden its appeal or to stop trying to be like Democrats.
"You ought to be prepared to fight for it," said Christie.