(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 in the comment section.)
It’s been a bit of a roller coaster ride since the South Carolina upset by Newt Gingrich. At first it appeared that Newt was going to have enough momentum to win in Florida but that all changed after a couple of lackluster debate performances. Plus Mitt apparently got a new debate coach (whom he should pay handsomely). Now most of the polls show Romney with a double digit lead. And this despite endorsements from Sarah Palin and Herman Cain for Gingrich. Palin’s motivation seems to be not necessarily to support Gingrich but ‘to annoy liberals’ as she put it on a Fox interview.
All may not be for naught for Mr. Gingrich, however. It was previously reported that Florida is a winner-take-all delegate state but it turns out that may not be necessarily true. It would have been true if Florida had not decided to break the rules and jump their primary ahead. Many of the later primaries or caucuses after April 1st are winner-take-all contests. But since Florida decided to ignore party rules they may have to forfeit that right and allocate delegates proportionately. The idea being that the rule keeps other states from jumping ahead like Florida did. So not only did Florida lose half their delegates as punishment for jumping ahead but they may lose their winner-take-all status. That could work to Gingrich’s favour.
So let’s call the Florida primary.
Everybody is pretty sure that first place goes to Mitt Romney by a comfortable margin. Newt Gingrich will likely take second place with Rick Santorum rounding out third. Ron Paul, perhaps assuming the race wouldn’t net him any delegates, pretty much has by-passed the state and has been in Nevada and Maine.
The rest of February is fairly quiet and looks to be good for Romney. He’ll most likely take Nevada; he did very well there the last time.
It’s unclear how or when the Florida delegates will be awarded. So far the delegate count is pretty low. Of the 2,188 delegates available (of which the nominee needs half), only 81 have been allocated; Romney has 37, Gingrich has 26, Santorum has 14, and Ron Paul has 4; depending on which news organization’s figures you use. Newt Gingrich says he’s staying in the race all the way to June so it’s still anybody’s game.
It’s good to be the President right about now.