I think Rudy is going to have a tough fight but so will everyone
else. In 48 hours the GOP race shifts to Florida.
SC and Nevada will be in the rear view mirror but this time there
will be 10 full days to contemplate the results and run a full
blown campaign for the next state.
Let’s say McCain gets a solid (4-7 pt) win with
Huckabee in second. What happens then? McCain will get a bump going
into Florida where he leads in the
by 2.9 pts now. According to his campaign he has
purchased media time and will be up on the air. He will face a
, including many moderates transplanted from the
northeast but also social conservatives in the Panhandle and the
key I-4 corridor voters. However, unlike the last few stops, he
will also have to contend with the another candidate who appeals to
moderate voters, stresses the importance of terrorism and who has a
firm base of support— Rudy. Coupled with Rudy’s intensified push
on taxes it will be a tough race. Huckabee, even if he comes in
second, has not declared SC a “must win” and will continue on in
Florida, appealing to social conservatives. Romney will have come
in third or possibly fourth in SC, have a win in Nevada which he’ll
hype and be in the midst of a message correction. Out: “send the
illegals home.” In: “fix Washington and don’t let the lobbyists
control the government.” Out: “maintain the three legged stool.”
In: “the same old crowd won’t solve our problems.” Is there an
electorate that this appeals to which is distinct from those voters
McCain and Rudy are going after? It is not clear, nor is it clear
the new, new message is the Florida message, particularly if
Thompson drops out and Romney now can re-re-position himself as the
one true establishment conservative.
Now if McCain is upset what happens then? (After
the all night Rudy campaign party ends, I mean.) Rudy will have
himself ideally positioned to consolidate the moderate, national
security, fiscal conservative voters. The others will scramble over
the remainders but in this case perhaps Thompson stays in, hopeful
that the shift from a chaotic race to an utterly chaotic race will
leave room for him.(UPDATE: Someone
Under any scenario it will be highly competitive.
Will it be decisive? Likely not because if you stick around for
Florida there’s no reason not to give it a whirl on Feb. 5. UPDATE:
is his new very powerful Florida ad
with a very explicit 9-11 reference.