With the third quarter campaign money rolling in, it’s time for my assessment of the GOP Presidential candidates. Things are starting to tighten even more in this race and I don’t think it will loosen up much over the next several months.
First, let’s look at Giuliani. He’s still on top in most national polls, but his lead is getting much slimmer now that Fred Thompson has entered the race. He seems to be making a mad dash towards the right by speaking at a NRA convention and going to the infamous Philly cheesesteak shop that demanded customers order in English. What will he say next? I believe that life begins at conception and women shouldn’t be able to kill their babies? Who knows?
John McCain is seeing a decent little surge after a good showing in the recent debates (that is, the ones he showed up to). However, his campaign contributions may not mirror his success in the polls and his small victory this quarter may be short-lived. He will not win this nomination.
Mike Huckabee is gaining by inches (but only to scale) in the race. He could end up doing better than McCain, which would not surprise me. I personally like Huckabee quite a bit, but his Flat-Tax platform is short-sighted and unrealistic. He won’t win the nomination, but he’ll certainly be in consideration as a running mate.
Mitt Romney is seeing a bit of a decrease in national polls due to Fred Thompson’s entrance. Yes, he’s still my candidate and yes, I do think he still has a shot at the nomination. Why? Because recent polls are showing him ahead in all three of the initial primary states (Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina). South Carolina has been extremely tough for Mitt to crack, but now that a current ARG poll puts him ahead of the pack, this is definitely a huge break for his campaign, even though his leads in Iowa and New Hampshire may be starting to slim. This success, combined with leads in Nevada and Utah could build incredible momentum for the rest of the primary process.
Fred Thompson. I’ve said before that a late entry may hinder his chances. Was I right? Maybe. Some national polls have him second to Giuliani and a few even have him in the lead. As far as I know, he still leads in Texas, Tennessee, and Alabama. But I keep seeing less and less of him after his entry. He hasn’t made that many appearances lately and I get the feeling that he’s just not all that vigorous. Don’t get me wrong. Fred’s still my #2 guy for the nomination. But his opposition to a Constitutional Amendment banning gay marriage, coupled with his apparent lack of enthusiasm makes me doubt him. Frankly, his supporters seem to want him in more than he does. That may sound like a good thing, but I think a candidate should have a strong desire to win and I’m just not getting that from Fred.
For the sake of humoring the fringe movement, I’ll acknowledge Ron Paul. I haven’t really seen him gaining much in the polls. He’s not irrelevant to this race, but he’s definitely not a main contender. His anti-war stances don’t mean as much to the conservative base as his supporters seem to think. Sure he’s got a substantial internet following, but let’s face it: so does Star Trek and Babylon 5.
Sam Brownback’s campaign is dead. He should quit now. Tom Tancredo should have quit six months ago. Duncan Hunter’s a good guy but he’s just not relevant to this race. Who am I missing……
Alan Keyes! I like Alan Keyes, I really do. But this guy does not have a prayer. He’s wasting our time by entering this race, even though I think he just might possibly make a good running mate.
Now a few strong words for the top-tier candidates: shame on you! This may sound wild and crazy coming from a guy that generally favors the upper echelon of candidates, but I was disappointed to see Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson, John McCain, and yes even Mitt Romney absent from the recent PBS debate. Republicans have got to appeal to a wide range audience. No candidate is too good for a debate or forum. I don’t care who you are. Stop whining about how you don’t like the format, blah blah blah. Get out there and put forth your convictions. Failure to address these forums does far more harm than good.
So that’s my take on the status quo of the GOP Primary. Things are going to tighten up and I would venture to say that at least three candidates will win states next year. I don’t believe this is a two person race at all. It’s going to be roughly 4-5 serious contenders duking it out till the end. I just hope my guy comes out on top.