A long Republican race awaits Romney

Rick Santorum’s surprising sweep of two Republican presidential caucuses and one primary recently offers the strong possibility that the Republican presidential nominee may not be decided for several months. That may thrill political junkies, but it’s disconcerting for Republican leaders, who would prefer to have a presumed nominee able to campaign against Democratic President Barack Obama.

Santorum’s wins in Missouri, Minnesota and — most surprisingly — Colorado make it almost a guarantee that the primary season will include himself, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and Ron Paul for a long time. For Romney, it’s another troubling indicator that the former Massachusetts governor has not connected with or earned the confidence of the Republican Party’s conservative base.

Romney’s problems get clearer with each setback. He does not command support from the Tea Party, or evangelicals, or Republicans earning fewer than $50,000 a year. The results are a loss in evangelical South Carolina and defeats in three of four caucuses, which tend to produce low turnouts dominated by the party’s more conservative base.
In fact, the Republican candidates have another problem besides knocking off each other en route to the GOP convention. The past few primaries and caucuses have had voter turnouts that have been low. A lack of enthusiasm from Republican voters for their candidates provides another worry.

Santorum, who previously was a U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, has strong conservative credentials. He’s a natural fit for a Tea Partyish base that isn’t sold on Romney. Still, Romney retains several advantages over Santorum. He has far more money and the continued ability to wage a national campaign. Santorum can’t do that, yet. He’ll have to prove he can to surpass Romney as the “frontrunner.”

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7 Responses to A long Republican race awaits Romney

  1. Steve Stones says:

    In the meantime, your Republican Party may end up tearing itself apart if these candidates continue to run negative campaigns. I think you will see a change in message and overall image in Mitt Romney now. He has no choice but to heal his wounds and pick himself up & dust himself off. The next few months ought to be interesting, indeed.

    • Doug says:

      Steve, it’s a crazy era for politics. A few months ago, Democrats were worried enough to wonder if Joe Biden should stay as VP. Now the blood sport of the GOP is helping the president. It’s a short but long time till Nov.

  2. Owain says:

    Primaries are always a viscous affair, and the other side always predicts it will weaken their opponents. Look at how nasty it got between Hillary and Obama in 2008, but in the end, they kissed and made up, and it didn’t seem to slow Obama down any.

    If you think the Republican Primary race is nasty, wait until a final candidate is selected and watch what $1 Billion in the Obama campaign war chest will buy in negative ads. Republicans should be glad of this warm up round. Their ultimate candidate should be stronger because of it. He’ll need to be.

  3. J. Hartwell says:

    After voting rights were passed in the the 60′s, the Republican Party made a conscience choice to go after the Southern bigoted segment of society. This “Southern Strategy” worked for years. Now similar bigotry is working against Romney, the GOP’s most electable candidate.

    I find the irony laughable.

  4. ScottH says:

    There never has been and will never be a perfect political candidate. How can there be? Candidates are, after all, politicians—and flawed humans to boot (although some might argue with the human portion of this equation).

    Still, it must be recognized that the remaining GOP 2012 presidential field consists of three statists of various strains and one quasi-libertarian whose appeal is too limited to win the nomination. Is it any wonder that many Republicans openly wish for some other candidate to magically rise from the mist?

    This sentiment is broad enough to signal weak and/or unenthusiastic support for whichever of the rivals ultimately gets the party’s nomination. Can anyone imagine voters getting as excited about any of the GOP contenders as they did about Pres. Obama during the 2008 contest?

    It is possible that lackluster support by Republican conservatives could actually make a candidate more attractive to independents whose votes will be necessary to win a general election. But no GOP nominee can hope to win without a huge army of grass roots workers that ultimately must come from the party’s conservative base.

    To be fair, Pres. Obama won’t generate the kind of enthusiasm he did in 2008 either. Reality has deflated that balloon. But many voters will opt to keep “the devil they know” over a weak alternative.

  5. Myth Buster says:

    Super Tuesday is Mar 6. Gingrich and Santorum are not even on the VA ballot. Romney should be lock by then, but it may be nice if he proved his eligibility to be President by producing naturalization papers for his father George before then.
    Mar 4 Russia holds its elections: Russian Ambassador Michael McFaul has been accused of election tampering; an act of war for an Ambassador.
    Mar 2 Iran Parliamentary elections
    Mar 7-8 i “Purim”, the date Gulf War I ended in 1991 with the slaughter of 150,000 Iraqis under White Flag on Hwy 8.
    Gulf War II began on Purim in 2003
    China suffered a 7.8 earthquake on Purim in 2008
    Chile suffered an 8.8 earthquake on Purim in 2010
    Libya saw 160 Tomahawk Cruise Missiles hit Tripoli on Purim in 2011.
    Mar 8 the FBI intends to shit down Rogue DNS servers corrupted with the DNSChanger Trojan worm. 500,000 computers in America and around the world will be infected.
    Interesting times eh?

  6. Frances says:

    Romney has dug his own hole by being very aggressive and detailed in attacking his Republican rivals-particularly Gingrich. Yet Gingrich was-and probably still is perceived as the best, most elequently aggressive candidate in attacking Obama’s policies. Romney is far too non-specific and non-aggressive in his anti-Obama comments, a difference that has become apparent. Santorum is now favored by Republicans, at the same time, perceived to be not quite popular enough to beat Obama in a general election. There is now a strongly growing perception that another candidate, a Mitch Daniels or even Jeb Bush-or even Christie that has the charisma, brains, and aggressive argumentative ability to combat obama in a general election. I originally thought Romney the pragmatic, if not dogmatic, best choice, but now question both his convictions and his real intellect; he’s made some really dumb speaking gaffs and strategic mistakes to lose all his initial advantages.

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