A Republican State Of The Race Report

Going into Florida, I wrote that McCain’s dream scenario was as follows,

“McCain stokes his momentum for Super Tuesday by defeating Romney, Giuliani drops out (and his supporters start moving over to McCain), and Huckabee stays in (to drain off Southern conservatives from Mitt on Super Tuesday).”

Unfortunately for the other candidates in the race, that’s exactly how it played out, although it remains to be seen what percentage of Rudy’s supporters will migrate to the McCain camp.

So, how will things be looking after Super Tuesday, next week?

Here’s Jim Geraghty’s prediction of how it will look after Super Tuesday, which has McCain doing a little worse than some of the other estimates I’ve seen (Because of the lack of polling in some of these states and the complicated way delegates are handed out, this is very difficult to estimate).

In the Romney pile, we’ll probably have about five to seven wins, and the delegates most of Massachusetts, all of Utah, all of Montana, most of Colorado, all of Missouri, and if that poll is correct, all of Delaware, and perhaps most of North Dakota’s. And he’ll get some of California’s.

I put him at about 200 to 250 delegates.

In the Huckabee pile, we’ll have Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, Georgia, and maybe he’ll get some of California’s.

I put him around 200.

In the McCain pile, we’ll have all of Arizona, all of New York, all of New Jersey, all of Connecticut, probably the largest chunk of California’s, probably most of Minnesota’s, probably majorities in Oklahoma and West Virginia.

I put him around somewhere north of 400 delegates.

Alaska may go for Ron Paul, and he may get a majority of their 29 delegates.

That would put things at about McCain at 500+ (needing 1,191 to be the nominee), Romney at 325, Huckabee at 230 or so.

So, let’s say it plays out about like that: what happens next? Well McCain, who is already being treated in some quarters as if he has the nomination locked up, will get another big boost as he moves way ahead in the delegate count.

Then, the next key question will be whether Romney or Huckabee will drop out. If Huckabee doesn’t drop out, it’s hard to see how Mitt will be able to make up the gap. If he does, Mitt should probably see what the polls look like and then make a call about whether to continue.

However, ominously

Several officials said that on the heels of a defeat in Tuesday’s Florida primary, Romney’s campaign was not attempting to purchase television advertising time in any of the states on the Super Tuesday calendar.

That’s a strong indication of two things,

#1) He’s out of donated money.

#2) He’s considering dropping out after Super Tuesday. Otherwise, he’d be pouring his own money into advertising in key states right now.

I know Mitt has deep pockets, but rich guys are rich because they don’t throw their money away. In political campaigns, when candidates that are self-financing think they have an uphill struggle to win, the wallet usually closes.

If Mitt were to drop out, Huck would probably take a look at the polls, see if he has a chance without Romney in the race, and then soldier on or call it quits depending on what it looked like. However, Huck’s nearly broke, too, and at this point, it’s hard to see how he could raise the money he needs to keep competing against McCain after coming out of Super Tuesday in third place.

So, unless something changes, get ready to start saying it. Republican nominee John McCain…

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