Don’t Anoint Governor Romney Yet
Governor Romney received 25% of the caucus in Iowa, and either won Iowa by 8 votes or lost by 20. He won a convincing 40% of the New Hampshire primary.
These two victories gave him 25 delegates, out of the 1,144 needed for the Republican nomination. He’s only 1119 delegates short of clinching the nomination.
He won’t capture them in South Carolina or Florida. The process will go on through Super Tuesday, perhaps all the way to the Convention.
The Republicans changed the rules this year. The state results are not winner take all, but proportionate. Theoretically, the contest could go into the Convention if a conservative opponent to the Governor catches fire with the voters, and both fall short of a majority.
The Governor is obviously in the best position to win, with the strongest organization and financial resources. He has the fire in the belly, and will engage in negative campaigning to win. He has the endorsements. Karl Rove is singing his praises, but the conservative base of the party doesn’t want him. RomneyCare nullifies the strong Republican campaign against ObamaCare.
Gingrich, Huntsman, Perry, Santorum cannot all survive South Carolina and Florida.
As the non - Paul candidates drop out one by one, the surviving conservative, perhaps Senator Santorum, will narrow the race to essentially a one on one, discounting the 15% Ron Paul vote.
The Governor proved last week that even the brightest, most disciplined candidate will utter a gaffe during a long campaign. His quote “I like to fire people” will be taken out of context, especially coupled with the Bain ads. It occurred too short before the New Hampshire primary, and hence was a non-factor. It’s not going away.
Of course he meant that when people and companies provide poor service, we fire them.
Governor Romney has yet to craft an effective response to the Bain ads or the questions about RomneyCare. He's vulnerable.
The advent of the SuperPacs means candidates are not as dependent as in past years on direct political contributions. If the funding dried up, the candidate was out.
Not now. These “independent” campaigns can keep a candidate in the race. Governor
Howard Dean paved the way for low cost internet contributions.
Finally, the media simply cannot stand the possibility of neither a heated Democratic or Republican primary season. They will keep the race going.
Governor Romney’s success partially depends upon Congressman Paul remaining in the race. The Congressman makes the Governor appear much more moderate and reasonable to the general electorate. In addition, his presence precludes a unified “Block Romney” candidate, making Governor Romney’s plurality wins seem larger than they are.
Speaker Gingrich will probably shoot himself in the mouth again. Governor Huntsman has little traction, and is even more moderate than Governor Romney. Governor Perry is still trying to make a second first impression.
That leaves Senator Santorum, who delivers warmth in his speeches.
If not Romney, then Santorum or a brokered convention.
Just don’t anoint the Governor, at least not yet.