(Red Right Returning, a nautical mnemonic for the side of the buoy or marker on which to pilot a ship in order to stay in the channel, is a look back at the activity of the past week of the Republican candidates in the 2012 primary. Feel free to voice your opinions on the candidates in the comment section.)
This is normally a Saturday feature but now that the Republican nomination process is underway you may see some irregular posts on or before caucuses or primaries as we discuss and make predictions on the winners (and losers).
The Iowa caucus is tomorrow so let me run down my picks:
First place goes to Ron Paul. You’ve probably seen the article on why I think he will win. But to summarize, it’s the Ron Paul zombie flash mob effect. Paul’s supporters are rabid and have consistently helped him win several straw polls. Expect to see them out en masse. Plus you could see Iowa Democrats acting as spoilers and turn up as ‘Republicans for a day’ in order to vote for Paul. Much of the polling puts Paul in a dead heat with Romney.
Second place goes to Rick Santorum. I’m as surprised as anyone about this pick but Santorum has finally gotten his shot at a surge just in time for the caucus. Which means he’s been largely ignored by the other candidates while quietly running a hard ground game. Consequently, no one has had a chance to torpedo him with millions in attack ads as they did with Gingrich, Cain, and Perry (Newt gets the distinction of being the first victim in the post Citizens United world). Santorum has been to all 99 counties in Iowa and has pumped a lot of hands whereas Romney largely ignored Iowa until recently.
Which means that third place goes to Mitt Romney. As previously mentioned he skipped the ground game in Iowa, presumably because he spent $7 million in 2008 only to have Iowa pick Mike Huckabee. He must figure that Iowans just aren’t all that into him. And let’s be frank; there are a lot evangelicals in Iowa who think Mormonism is a cult. That’s going to be tough for Romney to overcome in several predominately southern states. He is likely banking on the hatred for Obama to outweigh those objections. Romney spent a good deal of effort in New Hampshire and likely expects this to be his jumping off point.
It’s probably pointless to rank any further except just to lump them all in the loser category. But we can speculate how long they’ll be around. If Michele Bachmann does as badly as I think she will, she’ll be out not long after Iowa since all the eggs she had in her basket for the state are cracked and she’s running out of money.
Jon Huntsman put all his eggs in the New Hampshire basket. How well he does there will dictate when he gets out. But Nevada is a caucus state next to Utah where Huntsman was a popular Governor. He might wait until after that caucus to decide. There’s also that Mormon thing again.
Rick Perry probably has enough money to stay in until Nevada. Perhaps he can stick around until some other southern states come into play and hope he gets the good ole boy vote.
Newt Gingrich may make a play for South Carolina. He is also running out of money and his negatives aren’t playing well in the polls.
That’s 538Refugees picks. What are yours?
(Update: An hour after the doors have closed it’s
Ron Paul 24%
Rick Santorum 23 %
4% of the vote in)