GOP Delegate Math & PA

Miss me?  Well, I’m back.  And much like Nixon in ’88, I’m tanned, rested, and ready.

It seems the ascension of the Huck– which he may or may not have you believe is Divinely directed— has scrambled every campaign’s electoral math.  McCain thought social conservatives would forget about McCain/Fiengold and give him a boost since he’s been strong on abortion.  Mitt put about 8 million dollars worth of eggs in Iowa, and they’ve rotted prematurely.  Thompson thought he could be the Southern candidate.

And Team Rudy figured a top tier of four candidates and Ron Paul would be crowded enough to diffuse opposition support, but not so crowded that it would keep him from getting a majority of convention delegates with the support of all those big states with just a few smaller ones mixed in.

Well, Huck has ruined all that.  Turns out there are a lot more dissatisfied Red Staters out there with unread copies of Friedman’s “Free to Choose” that seem to dig a cross between Bill Clinton and Huey Long.

What does this mean to humble voters in PA?  Well, it means that I may have to eat my hat.  Our Coelacanth of a primary in the spring may actually mean something.  As this would be a once a generation occurrence– the exception that proved the rule– this does not obviate my criticisms of our silly later primary.  Reform is still necessary.

But the delegate math presented here seems to suggest that not only may all primaries matter in the GOP race in 2008, but we may actually be in for a brokered convention.  Well, it at least isn’t tin-foil hat territory for political geeks like me to start hoping for one.

A brokered convention would be bad, bad news for Giuliani.  His personal platform is, shall we say, a little too quirky to win in that environment, one would think.

It would be fun, though.  It also may be good for the GOP generally, monopolizing all the press coverage for MONTHS while Ms. Clinton (or, less likely, Obama) stuggles to get some attention.  I never thought I’d have to type those words.  Imagine.  A democrat presidential nominee struggling to get attention from the MSM…

So what’s Team Rudy to do?  As much as it pains me to admit it– as to me the entertainment value of a meaningful convention approaches that of a Genesis reunion including Peter Gabriel– he has to get a majority of delegates prior to the convention.  Giuliani is, rightly, the first choice of many GOP voters.  Alas, he is not anyone’s second choice.  Except for maybe my Dad’s.  We are not case studies one would choose if looking for a typical GOP voter.

So Giuliani needs to kill in Florida.  Anyone else noticing all those Florida focused e-mails from the Giuliani campaign, lately?  You know what other state they’re talking about a lot in New York?  South Carolina.  If Rudy kills in FL, and does especially well in SC, he’s off to a good start.

But if he slips in either state, he’s got problems.  He also has problems in CA.  He’ll win the most delegates out of CA on Feb. 5, but CA is also a proportional state, and right now it ain’t shaping up to be a TKO.

Finally, and strangely, it looks like Giuliani’s big mo may need to come out of MO.  Missouri, that is.  MO is a winner take all state on Feb. 5.  Team Rudy is strong there, but not prohibitively.  So here is my prognostication:

If Giuliani wins FL and MO, he will win the nomination.  If not, my primary vote in PA may matter, and we may be in for a fun convention.

What else should be on the top of Team Giuliani’s to do list?  Buttering up John McCain.  Being low on money and long in the tooth, he stands the highest chance of opting out of this mess and retiring from the race.  Of the top tier candidates, he’s the most likely to endorse Giuliani.

Perhaps people should also start explaining to Fred Thompson that the veep slot seems to suit his temperament more than the CEO’s chair…

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Filed under Fred Thompson, Giuliani, McCain, Primaries, Rudy, Rudy Giuliani

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