Republicans at San Francisco Watch Party intrigued by 1st debate

SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - The San Francisco Republican Party hosted a watch party for Thursday night's debate among the frontrunners for the party's nomination for President.

More than 100 people attended the invitation-only watch party at the Presidio Golf Club. Most of the attendees paid $35 each.

"It's got a lot of fireworks and shots have been fired. But I think it's a good first debate," said Matt Shupe, a Republican strategist and executive director of California Young Republicans.

Many in the audience said Donald Trump brings excitement to the race.

"I think he needs to tone it down. I don't like a lot of the things he's said. But I think that basically he's capable of getting the job done," said Joan Leone.

But some like his approach.

"Blunt in the way he feels, and not looking for Washington, and cannot be bought," said Philip Wing.

Most say it's too early to know who they support, but that this first debate is a first close-up look to help decide which candidate will ultimately get their vote.

"The way they speak… their body language... the way they interact with each other, it's very important," said Barry Graynor, a Log Cabin Republican.

"I like Donald Trump. I really like Rand Paul's ideology. Rubio is really impressive up there. We got six months. We'll see how it goes," said Ben Mehr.

The fight against terrorism, foreign policy and the economy are key issues for many of these Republicans.

For Republican strategist Mark Shupe, electability is the sum of all issues. He says that’s a quality Trump lacks.

"At the end of the day, he's promoting himself. I think it's selfish to do that on this level of politics," said Shupe.

Many say the debate served its purpose. In a field with so many Republican candidates, they say the event got them interested and involved.

"I wasn't really sure what I came out here looking for, but I'm very intrigued," said Allie Bondanza.

The consensus at the watch party was that no one was the clear winner, but that all the candidates did well during the debate.