Giuliani campaign feels strong in California

giuliani.jpgPerhaps trying to soften up the California press before tomorrow’s MSNBC/politico.com Republican presidential candidates’ debate at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, Brent Seaborn — strategy director for 2008 Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani — this morning said the former New York mayor continues to run strong here in the Golden State.

Seaborn — a former Republican National Committee deputy director of strategy — said Giuliani has held a lead over other GOP contenders averaging 15 percentage points across the last three Gallup polls, though “we fully expect the dynamics of the race are going to change” as summer approaches. The campaign is “trying to build a sustainable coalition of voters” and expect to see “a lot of churn in vote preference,” so it’s trying to hold onto the voters already expressing a preference for Giuliani.

California’s GOP primary system — in which the popular vote winner in each Congressional district will determine which candidate gets that district’s delegates, rather than a winner-take-all statewide vote — makes for “interesting algebra and geometry in how candidates target California,” Seaborn said. That’s Seaborn’s strong suit: He was a co-founder of TargetPoint Consulting, which did much of the the microtargeting and data mining that helped mobilize votes for President Bush in 2004.

While a candidate could spend $40 million to $50 million in this state alone if he or she had the resources, Seaborn said he doubts anyone will do so with so many other states at stake Feb. 5.

“We’re pleased with where we’re positioned,” Seaborn said, adding the most recent California polls show Giuliani at 8 points ahead of his GOP rivals. “We’re comfortable with the lead we have in California right now.”

And Giuliani polls well against Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in general-election matchups, too, Seaborn said.

“People are voting on leadership, people are voting on ideas, people are voting on their ability or perceived ability to change things in Washington,” he said. “I think we’re particularly strong when you look at those types of measures.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.