SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — Donald Trump talked big about competing in California, but now his campaign is all but conceding the Golden State, and instead diverting local resources to a handful of battleground states, according to a campaign spokesperson.
Trump’s California campaign is mobilizing its Bay Area volunteers to staff phone banks, make calls from their home computers to voters in swing states, and go to Nevada to canvass door-to-door. The Clinton campaign has a similar operation, using the same software to let supporters phone undecided voters in toss-up states. It, too, is forming “Strike Teams” to go to Nevada, which, unlike California, is considered a battleground state.
The most recent statewide polls show Hillary Clinton leading Trump in California by as many as 17 points.
Harmeet Dhillon of San Francisco, who was a Trump delegate to the Republican National Convention and is California’s Republican National Committeewoman, says the campaign is not giving up on pulling off an upset win in the Golden State, but says “I won’t rule it out, but California is not a primary focus of this election right now. California is definitely one of the longer shots. It’s one of the bluest of the blue states.”
But Dhillon says Trump’s California supporters remain enthusiastic, and eager to help him win elsewhere in the country. “Our California operation has made more phone calls than anyone else in the country” to voters in swing states.
Most of Trump’s physical phone banks are being set up in Orange County. There will be one in the Bay Area, in Burlingame, but it’s not operative yet, so volunteers are placing calls from home using a VOIP program provided by the campaign.
“People in California almost always do make a difference,” says Dhillon, “and I guarantee you we will make a difference in moving the needle.”