It seems to me like one objective sign that candidates are serious about campaigning for California delegates would be what we will call, “resource allocation” – which is to say, if you want to get votes in California, you have to go get them.
Since we are more focused on the GOP primary here in California, I will ask an open question. At what stage should we see resources being visibily committed by a campaign before we can assume they are not serious about competing for our boatload of delegates?
Resource Test #1 – Absentee Voting in California Starts Around Now.
Are candidates sending mail to Republican absentee voters? What about a chase program? Do they have enough volunteers to make follow up calls?
Resource Test #2 – Television and Radio Advertising as well as Mail Pieces
California’s a big state. It is very expensive to advertise here if you look at it as one big buy. But it isn’t. We are really a group of media markets, and presidential contenders don’t need to go for the whole thing.
It seems to me that Mitt Romney has, more or less, bottomless pockets (assuming he will be using a portion of his hundreds of millions in worth to augment his considerable fundraising totals). With California’s starting to vote and the primary here just a month off, when does he need to be up with a major California ‘buy’ (which might be in particular regions given our by-district delegate allocation formula)? After New Hampshire? South Carolina? What about Giuliani. His strategy is to kick butt in the “big” states to offset places like Iowa, where he chose not to compete. He’s been the leader (with a plurality) in polls here, so does he only advertise if Romney goes up with spots?
I am focusing this ‘resources’ question on Romney and Giuliani because they are the two candidates who have large bank accounts. McCain, Thompson, Huckabee – these folks need to use momentum from this week and the next couple to raise the funds to compete going forward – a huge handicap for them with “Super-Duper” Tuesday coming on February 5.
Wait, there IS one other Republican candidate who has raised a ton of money – Congressman Ron Paul. Wouldn’t it be ironic if the first GOP candidate to make a major media buy in the Golden State was Paul?
Resource Test #3 – People
A final indicator of resource allocation would be personnel being deployed here to ramp up and implement at GOTV program. Any campaign that is serious about winning delegates out of California will HAVE to invest in a major survey that looks at each Congressional District – and if we hear of any campaigns moving bodies into those areas in a focused, targeted way, that would be one other “resource deployment indicator."
If you know about resource allocations by GOP Presidential campaigns in California, drop me a line!