Dr. Pitney: California Will Help Decide Primary Races

From Rose Institute fellow John J. Pitney Jr.’s op-ed in the San Diego Union Tribune:

For the first time in decades, California will help decide the presidential nominees. Until this year, the state held its primary after each party had a prohibitive favorite. Now there are real fights on both sides. Although many other states vote on Feb. 5, California has the most Republican and Democratic delegates at stake.

From Dena Bunis’ column in the Orange County Register on California’s upcoming prominent role in the drama of Super Tuesday:

What all this means is that candidates are playing delegate math in California and looking to get the most bang for their buck.For example, I was talking to Jack Pitney, a political-science professor at Claremont-McKenna College. Pitney and his wife are enrolled Republicans and are permanent absentee voters. A target rich environment you’d think.

But Pitney told me that he hasn’t gotten one piece of mail from any GOP candidate. Why? He speculated that because he lives in David Dreier’s district, which has lots of Republicans, it makes more sense for the GOP hopefuls to target Democratic-heavy districts because there are fewer Republicans for them to persuade to vote for them. If you have 100,000 GOP voters, you need to get 50,001 to win the district. But if you only have 20,000 you have to get way fewer votes.

“I imagine the four or five Republicans who live in Diane Watson’s (Los Angeles) district probably are getting lots of mail,” Pitney said.

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