Thursday, January 19, 2012

And Then There Were Four

English: Governor Mitt Romney of MA
Image via Wikipedia
When the week began, there were still six candidates vying for the nomination to be the Republican candidate for President of the United States.  Early Monday, prior to the Fox News debate that night, Jon Huntsman suspended his candidacy and threw his support behind Mitt Romney.  Huntsman was polling so low, I am not sure his supporters will help Romney that much.

It is funny to hear these candidates speak, because as a candidate, Huntsman had said Romney was "not electable."  After dropping out of the race, and announcing his support for Romney, Huntsman now says that Romney is the only candidate that is "electable" and can defeat Barack Obama.  Yes, politicians do make strange bedfellows.

With only five candidates on the stage for the Fox News debate that night, it made for a much more intense debate in my opinion.  Newt Gingrich once again had a very strong debate, and for a change, I thought Romney stumbled a bit.  Since that debate, Gingrich has been gaining on Romney in the polls for the upcoming primary in South Carolina on Saturday.

As Gingrich has surged in the polls, he has called on supporters of Rick Santorum and Rick Perry to consider voting for him as the conservative Republican option as opposed to the moderate Romney.  This morning, Gingrich may have gotten a few more voters as Rick Perry announced that he is dropping out of the race and endorsing Gingrich for the nomination.

English: Newt Gingrich at a political conferen...
Image via Wikipedia
Perry was showing quite a bit more support than Huntsman had been getting, so his departure may actually help Gingrich.  Tonight, there will be another debate in South Carolina to be televised on CNN.  Another strong performance by Gingrich could put him over the top in South Carolina and make a race of the nomination.  With only four people on stage, there should be ample opportunity for all to make their case.

Of course, all of this could be a moot point depending on how the public reacts to a television interview to be broadcast after tonight's debate.  Newt's second wife, the one he was married to when he was carrying on an affair with his current wife, will be interviewed on ABC. Will people give any credence to what she has to say, or will she come across as someone trying to even the score after a bitter divorce?

As of this moment, however, there are currently three separate camps vying for the nomination.  There is the moderate Mitt Romney, that seems to have the support of the so called "GOP establishment," the Ron Paul Libertarian camp, and the Conservative camp being split between Gingrich and Santorum.  A strong showing on Saturday by Gingrich and a poor performance by Santorum could whittle the field down some more.
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