Saturday, December 24, 2011

Only Romney and Paul make VA primary ballot

One last bit of politics before Christmas.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Gov. Rick Perry have failed to qualify for Virginia's March 6 Republican primary, a setback in their bids for the Republican presidential nomination.

The Republican Party of Virginia announced the developments Friday and early Saturday, saying that the two have failed to submit the required 10,000 signatures to get on the ballot.

That Gingrich and Perry failed to get on the ballot in this state that votes on Super Tuesday underscored the difficulty that first-time national candidates — many with smaller campaign operations and less money — have in preparing for the long haul of the campaign.

It also illustrates the advantage held by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. He's essentially been running for president for five years, and his team, smaller than in 2008 but larger than most of his 2012 opponents, has paid close attention to filing requirements in each state. He will appear on the Virginia ballot, along with Texas Rep. Ron Paul, who also has run a national campaign before.

The significance of this development shouldn't be understated.

As mentioned here previously, the GOP primaries are apportioning delegates by percentage instead of winner-take-all until April 1. So theoretically the fight for the nomination could go on well into the summer -- though I doubt all the way to the convention. It might be the case usually that this would drain resources from the frontrunner(s), but Romney can self-fund and Paul's Army isn't close to maxing out.

With Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Florida on the calendar in January and Nevada, Maine, Colorado, Minnesota, Arizona, and Michigan in February -- and Washington state on the Saturday before Super Tuesday -- those trailing a field that looks increasingly like it will be led by Romney and Paul appear to have few opportunities to break through.

Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, and Jon Huntsman have very narrow paths to victory left to them, and not just for the most obvious reasons (Reason #1. They're freaks and morons). A deck that once appeared stacked to the advantage of second-tier candidates now looks like it's against them.

Perry is particularly disadvantaged by the moving of the Texas primary from March to April due to the Texas attorney general's legal machinations. He would win it handily in either month, but April (even with him winning all the delegates) is probably too late to help him.

Barring anything more shocking than Dr. No being an embarrassingly obvious bigot, I see this as a two-horse race. How long do the Teas stay lined up with Paul -- or pull out and start clamoring for a third-party challenge -- is the last question left to answer.


Greg said...

Where do you get the idea that Rick Perry will win the Texas primary handily? I personally doubt he will even get 50% of the votes -- especially in April, as his viability as a candidate will have eroded even further than it already has.

PDiddie said...

It probably has something to do with the fact that he's, you know, kind of a popular governor among certain circles around here.

Why do you ask; you think Paul can beat him?

Greg said...

i spend an awful lot of time running in Republican circles -- and I don't find the enthusiasm for him that you think is out there.

My guess? I believe that Perry might pull 35-40% of the vote statewide, mostly as a protest vote against what I expect to be a strong Romney showing on Super Tuesday. Call it a case of folks seeking a brokered convention.

Ron Paul will pull around 20% -- and I suspect many of those will be Democrats seeking to monkey-wrench the primary.

Romney? A solid 30% of the vote because Perry does have favorite son status here -- but if he is already close to clinching then nomination, he could do better as Texans jump on the bandwagon (particularly if Perry has folded up his campaign and endorsed Romney in a bid to get on the ticket as VP).

Expect the remainder to divvy up between the also-rans on the ballot.