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strong Dem Strong Dem (253)
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tied Exactly tied (0)
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strong GOP Strong GOP (125)
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News from the Votemaster

Bachmann Drops Out     Permalink

After coming in last among the candidates who campaigned in Iowa (with a dismal 5% showing), Michelle Bachmann is ending her campaign. She has no money and no hope at this point, so either she had to go into debt to self-finance for a few more weeks or give up now and she chose the latter. At this point there is little hope that evangelical voters will coalesce around her now that all the momentum is with near-winner of the Iowa caucuses, Rick Santorum.

Perry Hesitates, but Stays In     Permalink

After placing fifth in Iowa, Rick Perry announced that he was going back to Texas to reassess his campaign. Normally, this is the graceful way to drop out. But Perry doesn't seem to understand how the game is played. A few hours of reassessment convinced him to stay in. He didn't announce what role, if any, God played in his decision. What he doesn't seem to understand is that statements like this only make him seem weaker. If he intended to stay in, he should have flown to South Carolina and said: "I know I didn't do well in Iowa, but I learned a lot and am a much better candidate now. Just watch me soar here in South Carolina." But he didn't.

A key issue that will affect his future--and one over which he has little control--is whether he is allowed to participate in the upcoming debates. The organizers decide who is serious and who is not. For example, up until now, Jon Huntsman has been deemed 'serious' but Buddy Roemer has been deemed 'not serious.' despite both being ex governors polling in the low single digits. Perry will certainly finish last in New Hampshire next Tuesday, so he is wise to skip the state, but if he is excluded from either of the two debates in South Carolina (Jan. 16 and Jan. 19), he won't get much traction there. At least Bachmann had the decency to leave after the show was over, so the conservative vote would not be unnecessarily fragmented, but by staying in, Perry could take away enough votes from Gingrich and Santorum to ensure a Romney victory in South Carolina, essentially the same as happened in Iowa.

Movement Conservatives Attempt to Find a Consensus Candidate     Permalink

In a last-ditch effort to stop Mitt Romney from wrapping up the GOP nomination, a group of top conservative leaders are meeting at the Texas ranch of wealthy former Gap CEO Paul Pressler this weekend to try to find a consensus candidate. They have tried before and failed. Everyone agrees they are better off with a single candidate. They just don't agree on which one. At least now the choice is realistically limited to only two possibilities: Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich. Each one has pros and cons, roughly like this.

Newt Gingrich
Pro: Universal name recognition, lots of money, good organization, strong debater, bombthrower
Con: Too many wives, ethics violations, lobbied for Freddie Mac, many flip-flops, bombthrower

Rick Santorum
Pro: New and hot, strongly anti-abortion & gay marriage, working class background
Con: No money or organization, hasn't been vetted yet, too far right for general election

Of course, even if the meeting ends up picking one or the other, what really matters is action, not words. If the net result is a few endorsements, it doesn't matter much as there is little evidence that endorsements bring in votes. If however, Pressler gets out his Rolodex, makes 50 phone calls to wealthy friends, and millions of dollars get donated to the chosen candidate within a few days, that matters a lot, especially for Santorum who is going to be viciously attacked on TV by Romney's superPAC. Currently, he doesn't have the money to fight back. A large infusion of money now could help him run his own ads going after Romney.

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Previous headlines

Jan04 Iowa: Romney 24.6%, Santorum 24.6%, Paul 21.4%, Gingrich 13.3%
Jan03 All Eyes on Iowa Today
Jan03 The Horse Race as a Horse Race
Jan01 Happy New Presidential Election Year
Jan01 Iowa Caucuses Are This Tuesday
Jan01 Final Selzer Poll: Romney and Paul on top but Santorum Rising
Dec16 No Fireworks in Final GOP Debate
Dec11 Romney Offers Perry a $10,000 Bet During Debate
Dec11 Where is Sarah Palin?
Dec11 The 2012 Contest: Whole Foods Clients vs. Cracker Barrel Shoppers
Dec07 Gingrich Way Ahead in Iowa
Dec07 Obama Gives Fiery Speech Attacking the Republicans
Dec07 Pelosi Backtracks on Releasing Dirt
Dec04 Herman Cain Drops Out
Dec04 Gingrich Pulls Away in Iowa
Nov29 Woman Accuses Cain of Long-Running Affair
Nov23 Romney's Extended Family Could be a Problem
Nov23 Republicans Ignore China, Eurocrisis in Debate on Foreign Affairs
Nov19 Newton Defies Gravity
Nov10 Perry Stumbles Badly in Debate
Nov09 Anti-Union Bill Repealed in Ohio
Nov09 Republicans May Take over Virginia State Senate
Nov09 An Egg is Not a Person in Mississippi
Nov06 Romney's Choice
Oct22 Cain First, Romney Real Winner in NV Straw Poll
Oct12 Mitt the Inevitable?
Oct06 Steve Jobs and Politics
Oct06 Palin Will Not Run for President
Sep30 Senate Races 2012

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