It’s in, and it’s final. John McCain has won the Florida Primary. He proved he could win a closed primary, where only Republicans can vote. He won a state where Rudy Giuliani had pegged his entire campaign on, and Mitt Romney spent a boat load of cash to try and win. Yet still John McCain managed to take the victory.
The win not only generates a lot of momentum for McCain, effectively ends Rudy’s campaign (he’s expected to endorse McCain in California today or tomorrow), but vaults him into the lead in terms of delegates over Romney. This was a big win for the McCain campaign, one that should lead to a significant boost on February 5th, with McCain hold significant leads in key states such as California, New York, and New Jersey.
Mitt Romney may be all but finished as well. He trails McCain in several large, key states (as mentioned), and trails Huckabee in several smaller states as well. Mitt has a chance in California to take a few delegates, because of California’s rules, but I don’t think he will do much of anything in New York, New Jersey, or Illinois. I think that Romney’s biggest problem is that he doesn’t come across as sincere on issues to many people. Like I’ve been saying, he can’t really pass the “would you buy a used car from this guy” test. Even his ads, even his “attack ads” just come across more like your local used car dealer, or maybe Crazy Eddie (for those that remember him from NYC). Plus, he’s a bit of a political chameleon, much like Hillary Clinton, in that he will say what he thinks he has to to get elected. If he was more established, and had more of a record in public office, he might have been the run away candidate this year. But he doesn’t, and that I think has hurt him.
Mike Huckabee has vowed to continue on, making comparisons to base ball and the St.Louis Cardinals. Well, he was in Missouri after all. Huck doesn’t have a shot at the nomination, not a realistic one anyway. But he could play spoiler to Romney. Huck’s “Southern appeal” plays well in some Super Tuesday states, where he does hold a lead in several. Even if doesn’t win any states on February 5th, he may drain enough votes away from Romney to give McCain a nearly clean sweep.
The circus that is Ron Paul is also carrying on. What’s left to be said about this? If only Lyndon Larouche got this kind of press back on the day…
Meanwhile, Rudy Giuliani is done. I’ve said for quite a while now that this focus on Florida and the big states strategy was doomed to failure. Once Iowa was over, Rudy was a non-factor, even while he still lead in the national polls. Rudy made so many mistakes with this campaign, it’s a wonder he made it as far as he did in retrospect. He didn’t bother with Iowa, and gave up in New Hampshire. Worse, he appeared to give up in New Hampshire, jetting off to Florida. He had absolutely awful damage control with his persona affairs (in all senses of the word), and with the Bernie Kerik debacle. Once he lost the backing of some key and influential NY’ers (Al d’Amato, Jack Kemp, Ed Mullins-President of the NYPD Sargeants Benevolent Association), we knew the end was nigh for Rudy. Rudy still has a political future, either in a cabinet post, or he could run for the Senate again here in NY (preferably against Chuckles Schumer).
Over on the other side, they had a “beauty pagent” (as CNN so succinctly described it) in Florida. Hillary won what was essentially a meaningless contest, where only she campaigned. Of course, as Florida had its delegates stripped for violating pary rules, the win does nothing really. Oh, it should be mentioned that Hillary vowed not to campaign in Florida (or Michigan), publicly so, but went ahead and did anyway. So while Barrack Obama and John Edwards were traipsing across the Super Tuesday states, she held a fund raiser or two, and gave a few speaches in Florida. In addition, just prior to this, she was mounting a push to have the delegates of Florida and Michigan restored (she won big in both by the way). How desperate is she to get delegates, if she has to resort to getting delegates from states which were little more than uncontested contests for her? I suppose she could be following U.S. Grant’s advice: “If you can’t win fair, just win.”
Next up for the GOP are the Maine Caucuses, which will probably be a win for McCain. But the real fun will be on next Tuesday, when it could very well all be over except the crying.