Don't expect presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney's selection of Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan for the vice presidential nomination to change the electoral landscape in California. No way is this indigo blue state about to become scarlet red by November, that's for sure. Nevertheless, Romney is sure to reap millions more in California gold in honor of his VP choice.
Most Republicans in California are conservative. In fact, this year, many moderate Republican leaders have transferred their loyalties to "no political party," as witnessed by candidate descriptions next to names in the June primary. That's just fine with the state's Republican core, who tack much further to the right than squishy moderates.
But it gets even better for Romney with Ryan in the mix. Conservative Republicans here fall into two camps: fiscal and evangelical. How evangelical Republicans will warm up to Ryan remains to be seen, particularly because of their lingering concerns about his Mormon religion. But the fiscal conservatives will be in political heaven.
Ryan's a no nonsense guy when it comes to taxing and spending. He wants to make Medicare a voluntary program, slash taxes, and all but eliminate discretionary federal spending for areas such as public education, environmental protection, and health, to name a few. For fiscal conservatives here, Ryan's ideas are golden, which is why they will be likely to spend like never before to assure a Romney/Ryan victory in November.
Romney has already done well in California on the money trail. Federal records show that he raised $21 million through April 30. Three campaign swings since then have brought in somewhere between $15 million and $20 million more, although those numbers are yet to be publicly released.
Now with Ryan, Romney is sure to attract a new wave of funds from fiscal conservatives here. And while little of that money will be spent in California, it will be put to good use in nearby swing states from Nevada and Colorado to Virginia and North Carolina.
California's votes may remain mostly Democratic in November, but don't be surprised when all is said and done if Romney gets the largest share of his campaign funds from here.
Larry Gerston teaches political science at San Jose State University and is the political analyst for NBC Bay Area.