Former California Republican Party chairman Tom Del Beccaro told Breitbart News on Tuesday that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is “better positioned” to win the state’s primary June 7, thanks to superior organization and the fact that only registered Republicans will be able to participate.
“Given the Cruz organization’s head start, he is better positioned than [Donald] Trump,” Del Beccaro said.
Del Beccaro, who led the state party during the last presidential election, is also running in 2016, hoping to replace retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) in the U.S. Senate.
Another former state GOP chair, Mike Schroeder, is working officially as Cruz’s California political director. Earlier this week, he touted the Cruz campaign’s advantage over rival Donald Trump in organization and preparation.
“I think we’re going to win California — but even if we don’t, Trump is not going to get to 70 percent of the vote,” Schroeder said. Noting that delegates are mainly awarded in California’s Republican primary based on winner-take-all victories at the congressional district level, Schroeder added: “It requires a great deal more organization to conduct 53 elections than it does to conduct one statewide and just buy a lot of TV.”
Del Beccaro told Breitbart News, “Mike is correct that a state like California, where delegates are awarded by congressional district, especially a state with so many districts, places a premium on organization. Also, it is a closed primary, which will favor Cruz if the national trend holds.”
Though all other races — including Del Beccaro’s own — are subject to a “jungle primary,” in which all candidates from all parties compete with each other to finish in the top two, the presidential portion of the primary ballot is “closed,”, i.e. restricted by party.
Del Beccaro added that he expects high Republican turnout.
“This is the first time the CA primary has been pivotal in decades. I expect Republican turnout to be up as much as 30%-40% among Republicans which will spill over into down ticket races. The only question is whether the Democrats will have a contested race.”
Asked whether high turnout favors Trump or Cruz, Del Beccaro responded: “Nationwide, higher turnout has helped Trump in open primaries. Since this a closed primary, he cannot expect a similar bump.”
He pointed to the East San Francisco Bay as a key battleground. “Whether Cruz really has a superior organization will be evident if he wins in places like Alameda County — a place where Trump might otherwise do well in an open primary but Cruz may take because of superior organization.”
Del Beccaro said that currently polls, which have Trump ahead by at least seven points, do not provide an accurate picture of the race in California, “Quite frankly, I don’t believe any of the polls are correctly calculating turnout at this point. There is no modern precedent for this race. I think the polls are underestimating Republican turnout.”
Even if Trump were to defeat Cruz in the state, Del Beccaro said, he doubted Trump’s ability to win decisively enough in the state to reach the required 1,237 delegate total needed to secure the Republican nomination: “I don’t see anyone getting enough delegates by the end of the primary process.”
Del Beccaro added: “Anyone who say they have this turnout model down is kidding themselves. They may guess right, but it remains a guess at this point.”
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