Monthly Archives: January 2012
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney eked out the narrowest of victories in the GOP Iowa caucuses on January 3rd. The effect: Romney’s Iowa “victory” reinforced his frontrunner status and gave him additional momentum heading into the New Hampshire primaries.
Now fast forward. Early this morning history was rewritten when the head of the Iowa Republican party announced that Rick Santorum was actually the winner of the Iowa caucuses. The former PA Senator is currently 34 votes ahead of Mr. Romney in Iowa, and there are still more votes out there that are predicted to favor Santorum.
In light of this news, Romney issued a statement this morning declaring that the new results show a “virtual tie” between the two candidates.
Wait; didn’t Romney somewhat jokingly refer to the initial outcome in Iowa as a “landslide victory” during a campaign rally earlier this month? Now he is calling them a tie and has thus far refused to make any further comments.
It’s a bit ridiculous that the former Gov. can’t even stake out an honest position on a certification issued by a leader of his own party. Not to mention a bit disturbing that Romney goes to such great lengths to avoid saying or doing anything that he cannot later refute, or flip-flop on.
Today’s news will not change the outcome of the Republican race. Mitt Romney will almost certainly be the Republican nominee for president, but just like McCain in 2008, we are witnessing another politician move from the middle to the far right, or anywhere in between if it results in a win.
Still I ask: do his interests really lay with those of the American people?
I guess the ends justify the means. So given Romney’s record, it was a victory, landslide, and a tie…whatever works, right?
Tags: Election, flip-flop, Governor Romney, Iowa Caucus, iowa caucuses, iowa republican party, Iowa Results, landslide, landslide victory, massachusetts gov, Mitt Romney, new hampshire primaries, Republican, Republican Primaries, republican race, Rick Santorum, Romney, virtual tie
It remains likely that former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney will be the Republican Party’s eventual nominee. Still, he faces a potentially nasty uphill battle in the weeks ahead. After squeaking out a historically narrow 8-vote victory over Rick Santorum in the Iowa caucuses, the Romney camp is looking ahead to an easy win in New Hampshire.
However, the former governor has reason to be anxious about his winning number in Iowa: 25%. Numerous polls have shown that Romney has steadily registered at around 25% among Republican voters, which means that three-quarters of his own party are still looking for someone other than Romney. This was evident last night when Iowa voters narrowly divided amongst three candidates.
Last night Rick Santorum came out of nowhere in the final days of Iowa campaigning to steal a narrow second place victory; the result of a strong grassroots coalition built around the former senator’s overwhelming presence in the state’s 99 counties. Additionally, Santorum spent about $30,000 on television ads and won nearly 30,000 votes, whereas Mitt Romney spent over $200,000 to win the same number of votes, proving that Iowans can’t be bought. Moreover, it appears as though both Perry and Bachman are out of the Race, which means that Romney can’t rely on a plurality of candidates to split the vote in his favor.
Thus, the greatest challenge for Romney will come from South Carolina’s evangelical population that will head to the polls on January 21st. If we take a look back at the Republican field in 2008, John McCain won S.C. by only 1 point over Mike Huckabee. A map of South Carolina’s 46 counties shows that Huckabee carried huge portions of the state where evangelicals were present. Had it not been for Fred Thompson and his 3rd place showing, Huckabee would have likely won S.C.
So what does this mean for Mitt Romney in 2012?
Basically, it looks like it will be a three or four man race heading into South Carolina. This is bad news for Romney because he can’t rely on a fragmented republican base like he did last night. Looking at the potential line-up heading into S.C., Gingrich or Paul could drop out after New Hampshire on January 10th if one of them fails to make a strong showing, which only spells more trouble for Governor Romney.
Romney will have a difficult time courting evangelicals that view Rick Santorum as a strong alternative. Going back to 2008, the Republican primary in S.C. was split amongst 8 candidates, which worked to Senator McCain’s advantage. The same will not be true for Romney who will likely face a dwindling Republican field in a state where he finished 4th in 2008.
If Rick Santorum can walk away from New Hampshire with at least a second or third place finish, then he will have the momentum to gain a first, or second place finish in South Carolina. This scenario only creates more problems for the candidate that sees himself as the eventual nominee given that both Gingrich and Santorum are poised to do well in Florida’s primary, which takes place only ten days after S.C.
If Romney was hoping to wrap things up quickly, he may want to think twice. In the coming days he will face a wave of attacks from Newt Gingrich who will say just about anything to prevent Romney from winning the nomination. Additionally, he faces greater opposition within his own party as Rick Santorum continues to gain support among conservative voters.
This all adds up to Mitt Romney fighting to gain the support of conservatives that think he is too liberal, evangelicals that are uncomfortable with his positions on social issues, moderates that view him as a flip flopper, and an unenthusiastic base. While his odds are clearly better than in ’08 and he is still viewed as the most likely candidate to beat President Obama in the general election, Romney faces a potentially long and damaging primary season; a battle that could easily come back to haunt him when he faces off against a strong incumbent president in November.
Tags: 2012, Conservatives, Election, Evangelicals, Florida, General Election, Independents, Iowa Caucus, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Obama, Primary, Republican, Republican Primaries, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, South Carolina, Super Tuesday, Tea Party