January 23, 2008

DANG LOW HIGH WATER MARK:

From now on, Romney's on the visiting team (Peter A. Brown, Jan 23, 2008, Politico)

Michigan was Romney’s birthplace, a state where his father was a former governor. Not incidentally, the state’s economy is perhaps the sickest in the country, and Romney’s message of a government bailout — although wholly inconsistent with his claims to be the real conservative in the race — had a receptive audience.

He won caucuses in Wyoming and Nevada but had little competition in either contest as the other candidates spent their time and money elsewhere. Moreover, Nevada has a substantial Mormon population, which is true of only a couple of other states. Romney is a Mormon, and his religion is thought to be a detriment in some places.

His “silver medals” in Iowa and New Hampshire came after spending countless days, and many millions of dollars, building personal relationships among voters there. That is not possible in the orgy of upcoming contests. In both states, he was leading in the polls and lost when the votes were counted.

That was especially ominous in New Hampshire, his neighboring state, where he had once held a large lead.

Although Romney’s massive personal wealth will allow him to continue running regardless of the voting results, most of the upcoming contests are not in states where he has any built-in geographic or demographic edge.

An indication of the rough road that Romney may face is his fourth-place finish in South Carolina, where he left the state in the final days before the voting to try to argue he hadn’t competed there. But the truth is he plunked down $4 million in television commercials and staff — more than any other candidate — and spent more than 20 days there campaigning.

Florida and the Feb. 5 states may not offer a friendlier environment. McCain’s superior name recognition and polls showing him to be by far the most competitive GOP candidate in November against the Democrats give him a big edge.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 23, 2008 6:25 PM
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