The Republican race takes center stage today when the GOP candidates vie for the state of Michigan and its delegates. The two front runners in the state, Mitt Romney and John McCain, are tied in a statistical dead heat as voters get ready to head to the polls. The contest is a must win for Romney, who suffered loses in both Iowa and New Hampshire. In Iowa, Mike Huckabee, a conservative evangelical from the south, was able to win in convincing fashion after gathering much of the Christian vote. Romney had outspent Huckabee 15-1 there and led in many of the polls for months leading up to the state’s caucus, so the defeat was especially devastating for his campaign. In New Hampshire, Romney suffered another defeat at the hands of John McCain. McCain was able to gather a large percentage of the independent vote just as he had done in NH’s 2000 primary when he defeated President Bush. The McCain and Huckabee victories, along with Romney’s two second place finishes, suggest just how close the Michigan primary might be.
The state of Michigan is kind of a hybrid of Iowa and NH, and that’s what makes their primary so important for the Republican candidates. On one hand, there is a large group of voters who identify themselves as Evangelicals, which means religion is extremely relevant. On the other hand, the economy and war are two issues that are extremely important to the state’s voters. They’ve fallen on hard economic times and have watched many of their sons get sent overseas to fight in Iraq. So, tomorrow after the results are in, we might have a better idea of who the GOP front runner is moving forward simply because of the state’s makeup. If McCain is able to win, he becomes the odds on favorite to win South Carolina and sweep on Super Tuesday. If Romney wins, he’s back on the map and might have a chance to compete in SC and Florida. If Huckabee wins, he will most likely become the favorite to win SC, and will be seen as a viable candidate in the eyes of some of the more moderate GOP voters in states where the bible and constitution aren’t seen as one and the same.
The one candidate I haven’t mentioned is Rudy Guiliani, who is focusing his entire campaign and chances for the White House on the state of Florida. Guiliani was a non-factor in Iowa and NH, and will most likely finish 4th in Michigan tomorrow. He has dumped all of his money and time into Florida, where he once held a sizable polling lead over other candidates. Now, many pundits believe his strategy might not pay off. The most up to date polls suggest that McCain and Romney have closed the gap with Guiliani in Florida, so it should be interesting to see whether or not Guiliani’s strategy was truly genius or completely idiotic.
I am looking forward to today's results in Michigan. Romney’s from the state of Michigan and his dad governed there in the 1960’s, so he does have name recognition and plenty of connections. McCain’s momentum and the electorate makeup of the state might just be
enough for him to win. And Huckabee, well, he has religion. Those crazy Evangelicals will do anything short of saying “Jesus Christ” to get him into office, so it should be pretty damn interesting. Good luck to all of my conservative friends. I hope your candidate is able to take the lead in this most interesting of races.
I’ll have some stuff on Nevada’s democratic primary before it happens, but for now, it is time for some sleep. Oh, and Fred Thompson is so funny. He’s like the conservative grandpa I never had. I’m going to invite him over for the holidays. You tell me what’s better than a dinner table debate with an old, stubborn man, who doesn’t give a shit if you think he’s a complete ass. He speaks his mind, and couldn’t give two shits if comes off as ignorant, abrasive, or just downright dumb. Honestly, I respect that. I just want him to call me an idiotic young punk or something.