Tom Campbell is seen as a moderate Republican, although he’s a Friedmanite conservative on economic issues. But his moderate pose has made him the most acceptable to the general electorate in California among the three candidates in the June GOP Senate primary. Campbell posts the best numbers against Barbara Boxer, basically in a dead heat, while Carly Fiorina and Chuck DeVore trail.

Given this reality, you’d think that Campbell would be pressing this advantage and making sure he wins the nomination from a state GOP that trends far to the right. But instead, he’s chopped his ad buy.

Ex-Rep. Tom Campbell (R) is cutting back on TV advertising, switching strategies as some opponents wonder whether Campbell’s surprisingly strong campaign is running low on funds.

Campbell will not be on TV this coming week. And he has cut his ad buys for the final 2 weeks of the campaign significantly, according to sources who watch campaign ad spending; data shows Campbell has purchased $286K in ads over the last 2 weeks, less than the $393K he had previously reserved.

Instead, Campbell’s campaign will send an oversized mailer to 1.1M voters this week, according to his campaign.

Campbell’s advisors are trying to spin this as a super-sneaky strategy to conserve funds, banking on the fact that California’s two billionaire Republican gubernatorial candidates, Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner, will crowd everyone out on television anyway. And maybe there’s a little truth to that. But far more likely is the fact that Campbell has run out of money. He’s never been a good fundraiser, having been chased out of the Governor’s race for just that reason. And while this may work in a primary when he’s pitted against two horrible candidates, Carly Failorina and far-right goon Chuck DeVore, the general election is another matter. And Campbell inspires no confidence that he’ll be able to run the kind of campaign that will truly challenge Boxer.

Boxer probably remains in better shape against Fiorina or DeVore, but all three potential rivals carry negatives – Campbell’s being that he can’t mount the kind of capacity you need to run statewide in California.