Some interesting happenings over the last days since Michigan... Mitt Romney is in search of delegates, hoping that delegate count in the "jump to the front" states will mean more than the traditional "first in the nation" states. He had abandoned his campaign in SC, claiming that 4th would be a victory, and instead opted to aim for Nevada, a Mormon stronghold, and a state also offering about ten more delegates. He took a similar approach in Wyoming, a Mormon state, where he was the only candidate who honestly campaigned in the state. He and Duncan Hunter were big winners in Wyoming... so that says something, I suppose.
But what about South Carolina? The state in which no GOP candidate of recent years has lost, but gone on to receive the GOP nomination. A state with strong ties to faith, independence, civil rights issues, and agrarian history. It is a state which encompasses the values of Iowa and New Hampshire... And it is truly a state which must be won by many in the GOP field today if they wish to continue the race for the GOP nomination.
Time for my predictions:
What does this mean?
Romney has made it clear that he plans to hold out for delegates. As I see this being a brokered convention, this is a smart move. He may be in the lead with delegates now, but he will find himself in the middle of the pack after Super Tuesday. Recent polling has shown that he is not doing well in a majority of the Super Tuesday states.
McCain will lick his wounds and live to fight another day... namely in Florida, where he and Rudy seem to be leading the polls... surely, though, a loss in SC will make Florida a hard win. And his recent surge in the national polls will likely be busted in favor of the SC winner.
Mike Huckabee, if he does get the win as I am predicting, will see another surge of support, similar to his Huckaboom of December, and his resurgence after Iowa (though short lived because of NH). Mike Huckabee is a contender in Florida, and has many states locked up in the Super Tuesday contest. He may come out 2nd or possibly 1st after super tuesday (in delegates) with a commanding win in SC. A second place finish will likely ensure a VP consideration, especially if it kills any chance of gaining momentum before Super Tuesday.
Thompson is plagued with 4th place finishes across the board so far, and one tie for third in Iowa. If South Carolina doesn't pan out for Thompson, he will have some serious soul searching to do. The best Thompson may hope for is a McCain victory, and a VP nod from his good friend... However, a surprise win or 2nd place finish tonight could give this summer's "Mr. Inevitable" a breath of life, and potentially a surge of support and delegates heading into Super Tuesday.
Rudy is still holding out for Florida, but as I have said before, with no momentum, no headlines, and waning support. This may be the biggest blunder in presidential campaigning since the Howard Dean scream... YYYEEEEAAAAHHHH!
All eyes are on SC. And for those looking ahead to Super Tuesday, what can we expect to see?
If my prediction of SC is correct, I expect the following:
*WTA = Winner Takes All delegates (by districts or entire state)
Alabama (primary - WTA districts - 48): Huckabee
Alaska (caucus - 29): Huckabee
Arizona (straw poll - WTA state - 53): McCain
Arkansas (primary - WTA district - 34): Huckabee
California (primary - WTA district - 173): Rudy (if he wins Florida)
Colorado (caucus - 46): Huckabee
Connecticut (primary - WTA state - 30): Rudy
Delaware (primary - WTA state - 18): Rudy
Georgia (primary - WTA district - 72): Huckabee
Illinois (straw poll - 70): Huckabee
Massachusetts (primary - 43): Romney
Minnesota (caucus - 41): Huckabee
Missouri (primary - WTA state - 58): Rudy
Montana (caucus - WTA state - 25): Huckabee
New Jersey (primary - WTA state - 52): Rudy
New York (primary - WTA state - 101): Rudy
North Dakota (caucus - WTA state - 26): Huckabee
Oklahoma (primary - WTA district - 41): Huckabee
Tennessee (primary - 55): Thompson
Utah (primary - WTA state - 36): Romney
West Virginia (convention - WTA - 30): Huckabee
Delegate count is nearly impossible, because some states are WTA by district, or proportional... But, let's look at total number of states won:
Rudy: 6 of 21
Huckabee: 11 of 21
McCain: 1 of 21
Romney: 2 of 21
Thompson: 1 of 21
Let's see how SC plays out, and I will be glad to modify these numbers. My predictions come from latest polls in those states, or state voting trends (by issues) where polls where not available, as well as predicted bumps by the predicted SC and Florida finishes.