From the eMail: California: The Battleground Primary

This missive about the California presidential primary in 2020 arrived in my inbox last night. Not particularly in depth but a starting point on what we will want to watch next year. It comes from HSG Campaigns who are headquartered in California but once had an operations office in Milwaukee.

With the first presidential primaries already less than a year away, it’s no secret that candidates are eyeballing ways to influence and capitalize on voters and delegates in the first voting states. With California’s primary being moved up to Super Tuesday, this makes for an interesting fight in a state that has traditionally been non-competitive for presidential candidates. 

Here are three trends to watch as the all-important California presidential primary develops.

1. Mass Communication
California has over 500 delegates to acquire and because California’s geography is so large, it takes more resources for mass communications such as TV and digital ads. This kind of political spending can be extremely costly for any candidate low on resources early in the primary season. How and when to start media communication in a state with the most expensive media market will be a critical development to watch.

2. Ballot Harvesting
Ballot harvesting is another practice that California’s unique political landscape now allows for. This tactic can be extremely beneficial for any candidate who has a well-organized operation that can target voters, collect their ballots, and keep track of how many their operation needs. This practice is new to California and could play a significant role in the 2020 presidential primary. 

3. Progressives vs. Moderates
California – like many other states – has had a divide between the progressive and moderate Democrats. This divide has complicated the Democratic Party and will be a key factor for the presidential candidates looking to gain support in California.  

full disclosure: HSG worked on my 2011 campaign for the 8th District of the Milwaukee School Board seat.


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