This is big and complicated. California is strongly considering moving up to February 5th. This will have an enormous impact on the race. First, the money barrier to entry just got a lot bigger. A lot. California is really really big.
Second, the rules, on the Republican side, in California are quite strange and still in flux. California has a winner-take-all by-congressional-district system. Therefore, the guy that gets 20k votes in a hard Democratic district gets as many delegates as someone who gets 100k in a hard GOP one. So gaming out how to play in California will be quite complicated.
Third, the rules for the primary may be changed. There has been speculation in several directions. We really just won’t know until the California Republican Party convention in February.
And fourth, some background. What the LAT story does not tell you is that this is getting pushed by the legislature because there may be an attempt to repeal term limits. By making an early primary, like this, there will be an opportunity to put that question on the Feb 2008 ballot in time for legislators to file for their regular June primary if term limits are repealed.