Sunday, January 20, 2008

GOP: South Carolina and Nevada

By Nicholas Stix

Sen. John McCain (Media-AZ) won today’s primary, with 33 percent of the vote. Former Gov. Mike Huckabee (Evangelicals-AR) came in second with 30 percent. Former Senator Fred Thompson (TV-TN) came in third with 16 percent, then came former Gov. Mitt Romney (Well-Groomed-MA) with 15, Ron Paul with four, and Rudy Giuliani with two percent. California Cong. Duncan Hunter tallied zero percent (actually, about a quarter of one percent).

As I had predicted, Hunter formally withdrew form the race today. He blamed no one but himself.

Although Huckabee very much needed to win in South Carolina, the majority of whose Republican voters are Christian Evangelicals, and his people were a bunch of sore losers, complaining that it was Thompsons’ “fault” he lost, he is not done. One Fox talking head said that Huckabee lacks “the money or the organization” to stay in the race without having won South Carolina, and the rest of that herd of independent thinkers echoed him. But Huckabee must come in in first or second place in Florida on January 29, or he will be done as a viable presidential contender.

Like many observers, I had predicted a fourth place finish for Romney in South Carolina, and the fact that he came one percentage shy of a tie for third is good news for his campaign. Even better news was his success in not only winning the Nevada caucuses, but in winning an absolute majority (51 percent) of all votes. He snared 18 delegates in the silver state. Interestingly, Paul finished second, with 14 percent of the vote.

Thompson needed at least a second place finish in South Carolina. He’s done, and should announce his withdrawal any day now.

Giuliani got his ears pinned back again. He is gambling on taking win or place in Florida. If he does that well, I’ll have a heart attack. People aren’t going to suddenly vote for a man who had been doing consistently terribly. As I previously predicted, he’ll hang around at least until Super Tuesday on February 5, to se if he can’t win New York and New Jersey, so as to have a chance to play kingmaker at the convention.

As Robert Novak observed tonight on Fox, “It’s a two-man race…. The last man standing looks to be McCain.”

Let us hope Novak is wrong about McCain.

* * *

Fox had a young man named Chris Something from on as an analyst, who could not utter a single sentence without the dreadful redundancy “moving forward,” either at its beginning or its end. Someone needs to tell him that that particular barbarism does not make him sound intelligent.

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