Having succeeded in raising huge amounts of money in California and generating GOP enthusiasm with the help of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sen. John McCain's team is considering playing big for the state in the fall election. "The McCain people out here actually think they have a shot at getting California," says a McCain adviser in the state.
Associates say McCain believes that his reputation for being a maverick, his moderate immigration reform stance, and his push for global warming changes will be attractive to California voters, as will his status as a western state Republican.
Democrats, however, scoff at the noting that the state will vote for a Republican. "Presuming [Sen. Barack] Obama's the guy, unless he does something really stupid I can't imagine him not winning California," says a major fundraiser in the state.
Nonetheless, the McCain campaign is telling donors in the state that the senator does plan to campaign there heavily.
California has voted for the Democratic nominee in the past four presidential elections, last choosing a Republican in the 1988 election, in which George H. W. Bush beat Michael Dukakis.