Perry dropped out this morning, leaving only four candidates in the GOP race to be the nominee for President.
Thoughts? Good news for Gingrich, bad news for Romney.
Romney is thriving on having the evangelical vote split among several candidates, one of them being Perry. With Perry out of the way, that vote is now only split two ways. More than that, however, is that with the vote split only two ways, the pressure on Santorum (weaker than Gingrich at this point) builds to drop out as well.
If Santorum drops, this is suddenly nowhere near over. In fact, if Santorum drops, I think the momentum shifts back to Gingrich.
At this point, Romney has got to put the race away on Saturday if he wants to win this. His debate performance Monday night was weak (for him), weak enough that the door is clearly open for a second front runner candidate to step in and establish himself. Tonight, Romney needs to go on the offensive, he needs to be openly defensive instead of privately defensive (his defense of the tax returns is his single worst mistake so far, and he lost huge points there). He needs to put the arguments in his camp and his corner instead of battling on the others’ fields.
To be honest, I had hoped that Perry would hold out through Saturday if only to disrupt the evangelical vote. With that option out of the way, Romney is going to have to hold his own camp AND convince the rest his ideas are the best. He is fast running out of the split-vote advantage that gave McCain the win in 2008.
This nomination is still Romney’s to lose, but South Carolina has changed from a really-nice-to-win state to a MUST-WIN state for Romney. The longer this is drawn out, the more likely it is that he’ll lose. Simple as that.
A couple thoughts on religion…. With Perry dropping out, this virtually guarantees that a non-protestant will win the nomination. Romney is LDS (Mormon), Gingrich and Santorum are Catholic, and Paul is Baptist. Should Paul win (he won’t) he’d keep the protestant streak alive for the GOP.
The religion of a candidate shouldn’t matter, of course, but I do think it interesting that this election will likely put out a candidate that pretty much goes against all the stereotypes some would place on the GOP.
A couple thoughts on Sarah Palin…. Last night, Gingrich stated that he would certainly consider having a seat at the table for Palin should he win the nomination. As a former Alaskan who thought Palin a strong governor, may I just say BARF!?! I’m not an Obama fan (that much is clear), but I’m not a big Gingrich fan either. However, if Palin is on the Gingrich ticket, I will run screaming for the exits. She was a capable and good governor in Alaska. She is NOT ready for primetime.
I was initially very excited when McCain tapped her as his running mate. But it quickly became evident that she was nowhere near ready.
Sarah Palin–Thanks for all your work in Alaska. Please go home.
A couple thoughts on Super PACs…. I desperately hope that the concept of Super PACS is revisited post-election. They are incredibly dangerous for our democracy, especially the complete lack of accountability. If nothing else, I hope that current campaign finance laws will be applied to Super PACs to help control them.