Cruz’s decision to lavish attention on parochial power brokers 3,000 miles away from the next big contest underscored his novel approach to the final three months of the Republican presidential race: He is effectively creating his own primary calendar, map and electorate in hopes of cobbling together enough support to prevent front-runner Donald Trump from clinching the nomination outright…
“California,” Cruz told the boisterous crowd here in Irvine, “is going to determine the Republican nomination.”
The Cruz campaign believes it can energize a Republican base in a state that hasn’t had a leading voice in the GOP presidential primary in decades. It plans to hire additional paid staffers here, and it rolled out dozens of endorsements from local and state officials this week.
The campaign has targeted Orange County, San Diego County, the San Fernando Valley, the rural, agricultural Central Valley, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo — the home town of Cruz’s wife, Heidi — as potential reservoirs of support.