Chuck DeVore is Surging, But Folks Wouldn’t Know it From Los Angeles Times

At LAT, “With little money to spend, Chuck DeVore puts his faith in his message: Running third in a three-way race for the GOP’s U.S. Senate nomination, he is a strict “tea party” conservative.”

As usual, the piece is one of those balloon poppers LAT‘s so famous for. Note especially the quote from political scientist Larry Gerston:

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I don’t know why Chuck DeVore has not done better. It is a mystery to me,” said Larry Gerston, a political science professor at San Jose State University. “It does shock me that a guy like that, a good-looking guy with a good pedigree as far as the right wing’s concerned, who says all the right things about abortion, healthcare, you name it, still he has not managed to move nearly as far as he needs to be considered in the swing of things.”

Actually, DeVore reported $1.8 million in his first quarter campaign statement, more than Tom Cambell, who announced a $1.6 million haul. And the DeVore campaign has announced that billboards will go up across the state beginning today.

The Times mentions that, buried though it may be:

DeVore’s voter outreach includes billboards, radio ads, yard signs that supporters can print, mailers and intense use of social media. Some of these pieces show how humble his campaign is: His daughter designed the billboards; his radio ads end “This is Chuck DeVore. Not only do I approve this message, I wrote it.”

DeVore has also been an enthusiastic campaigner since he joined the race in November 2008 and has vastly outpaced his rivals on the campaign trail, holding 330 events across the state.

DeVore’s Tax Day schedule showed the type of coalition he is trying to build among social conservatives, voters enraged by the Obama administration and long-time committed Republican activists. After hitting the Family Action PAC in Newport Beach, he spoke at tea parties in Irvine and Oceanside and capped the day off with a speech to a Republican women’s club in Fallbrook.

By stitching together supporters in these various groups, all of which are vital in a GOP primary, DeVore sees a path to victory.

Polls show that many of Campbell’s supporters are conservative Republicans, which DeVore said doesn’t square with some of the law professor’s positions. At least two independent expenditure groups are already spending as much as $2 million on television ads, mailers and robo-calls to tell voters about Campbell’s liberal social stances – he favors abortion rights and same-sex marriage – and about his support for temporary state tax increases.

Once these positions become better known, some Campbell supporters will desert him and find a natural home in the DeVore camp, the candidate believes.

“I’m liking everything where it is and I’m going to press on forward and be the happy warrior because I think I am going to win this,” DeVore said.

DeVore also notes that state ballot information identifies him as an “assemblyman” and not a “miltary reservist.” But when more information about him is available, support surges. See SFGate, “Why DeVore is surging next to Fiorina in new Senate poll: He’s a military guy.” (At the Oceanside April 15th tea party, vets and military famlies got all fired up for DeVore.)

The takeaway here is that roughly a third of GOP primary voters are still undecided. And having seen the enthusiasm at the DeVore rallies, media honchos ought not bet against the grassroots just yet. With still over a month to go, events will test the dictum that “campaigns matter.” Sure, DeVore’s got the underdog role cornered, but in 2010 that’s a campaign asset MSM outlets are downplaying like no tomorrow.

More Photos: “Thousands Turn Out for Irvine and Oceanside Tea Parties!

Cross-posted from American Power.

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