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Will blue California be a battleground in the November presidential election?

While the Golden State will almost surely go for President Barack Obama in the general election, California Republican Party Chairman Tom Del Beccaro believes that the competitiveness of the race will force the Democratic president to raise -- and spend -- more money in California, diverting time and resources from other key states.

"It will look like a competitive race for a long time, and then I think in the last month things will slip away from Obama, and it's going to require him to spend money in places he otherwise would not want to spend," Del Beccaro said in an interview with The Bee Capitol Bureau today.

"I'm not predicting to you today that we're going to carry California, but I think (Obama) has trouble here, and I think that allows us to provide resources and do other things around the country that will eventually lead to his loss," he added.

Del Beccaro, who has not endorsed a GOP candidate in the presidential race, said he believes it is too early to tell who would give Obama more trouble in California. But the state's top GOP official said that once the "worst of their food fight" for the nomination is over, the battle-tested GOP nominee will be better positioned to defeat the president.

"One of the benefits of this intramural affair is that it forced the Republican candidates to get very definite on what their plans would be, whereas Obama going into the fall is not going to have a plan because his plan is, involves government spending and that's not going to be able to sell," Del Beccaro said.

"He'll have a hodgepodge of we want to do one, or two or three things here, or what you saw last night (during the State of the Union), but it's going to be vague. So I think the detailed plan beats the vagueness in a difficult situation," he added.

That "intramural affair" between GOP frontrunners Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich could extend through California's June 5 primary, giving the state's Republicans more sway in the nomination process, Del Beccaro said.

"If they continue this constant process of debates, then I think it's possible," he said.

Watch a video from Del Beccaro's interview below or check out our Capitol Alert's Facebook page for his answers to questions from our readers. Pick up tomorrow's Bee to read a Q&A with the party chairman.


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