Nevada v. South Carolina, a Gutsy Strategy

Yesterday, Mitt Romney practically conceded South Carolina to his fellow GOP competitors for the nomination and announced that he would spend the weekend campaigning in Nevada.  This is wise, yet gutsy, move for Mitt.  It is wise because he knows he has no chance to win.  South Carolina is naturally a better fit for McCain (Military members and veterans), Huckabee (evangelicals), and Thompson (accent) as opposed to the smooth NE state governer Mormon candidate.

So here are the positives:

1. Nevada has more delgates than South Carolina, the SC delegates are likely to be more divided due to more people splitting the vote, including Mitt.

2. Minimizes the impact of a McCain or Huckabee victory, although only slightly. 

3. Winning Nevada gives him a win going into Florida, counters the Mo for the winner of SC.

4. Helps solidify Mitt in the West, the western States are going to be more important than the Southern in the general, as the South will most likely stick with the GOP candidate regardless.

5. Losing SC is becomes not as big of a deal, he can say, “what do you want? I wasn’t contesting there and I, as a Mormon, barely lost to two Southerners and a military hero.

6. His organizational strength, coupled with the strong SC endorsements and the MI win, could still give Mitt a 2nd or 3rd place finish. If in the unlikely event that he finishes 2nd, that would be a major victory for Mitt that he can play up.  It would also all but eliminate Thompson and Huckabee from the race (assuming they finished 3rd and 4th)

7. Mitt is saying that McCain looks like a foregone conclusion in SC, this raises McCain’s expectations, while lowering Mitt’s.  So if Huck or Fred beats McCain, it will look like an even bigger loss for McCain, which could be devastating for him.

Here are the negatives:

1. Demonstrates Mitt’s inherent weakness in the South.  Can he overcome this? (I think so)

2. Nevada is being ignored by Republicans, will Nevada be viewed the way Wyoming was? (By the way, if I were a Republican in a western state, I would be pretty offended that this is the second time that important region is being ignored by the bulk of the party).

3. Possibly being overshadowed by the Democrats in Nevada with media coverage.

4. More positive media coverage for the SC winner (especially because the media doesn’t like Mitt at all) rather than the Nevada winner.

5. Media and McCain will try to pass Mitt’s Nevada win off as only being because of all the Mormons there. The media will conveniently forget that Nevada should a natural McCain state, as he is from the neighboring state and the only candidate from the West.  (I hate the media)

So this is how I see Mitt’s strategy.  It is obviously less than ideal, but considering the circumstances, it was a wise decision.  It is more important for Mitt to have another win to offset the likely McCain win in SC heading into Florida.  This will set up a 3-way race in Florida.  The big question is how does Rudy play in Florida, he has been dedicating all his time and money there, yet he is not getting any traction.  I also think that Rudy and McCain split the vote in Florida and it will provide a great opportunity for Mitt there.

It is way to early to make predictions about Florida, but one thing is for sure, it is going to be a fist fight.  One of the good things, is that it is likely that Fred will drop out of the race if he doesn’t win in SC on Saturday (which he won’t).  I think Fred will endorse McCain, but I don’t see many of his supporters heading that way, they more logically fit with Mitt (and vice-versa, Mitt supporters-like myself-would have moved to Fred’s camp had Mitt dropped out).   If Fred drops out, I definitely give the advantage to Mitt in Florida, but that is all dependent upon how this weekend and the subsequent news coverage plays out. 

One final note regarding strategy for Mitt, I would put in a lot of really quiet effort into getting out Huckabee, Paul, or Thompson voters in Nevada.  I would try to push McCain into third or fourth there.  That would be pretty embarassing for McCain to come in third in both his neighboring and pretty moderate Republican state. An ideal finish in Nevada would be a huge margin of victory for Mitt, someone not named McCain in 2nd, and McCain far behind.  GO NEVADA!

 You’re thoughts?


Filed under Election 2008, Fred Thompson, John McCain, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, Mormon, Mormonism, Nevada, Politics, Republicans, Ron Paul, Rudy Giuliani, South Carolina

5 responses to “Nevada v. South Carolina, a Gutsy Strategy

  1. John Galt

    mccain will win south carolina. this will put a huge target on his back. meanwhile, idealy romney will beat thompson for the third spot.

    that knocks thompsons out which i think a lot of his support goes to mitt despite his probably endorsement of mccain.

    there is a lot of time between sc and florida and a debate. if mccain wins sc, fists between him and giuliani will be thrown allowing mitt, who will still be in this thing as delagate leader a real chance to win florida. if he wins florida giuliani is out and it probably becomes a mitt mccain fight.

    all this is very interesting. hard to say what will happen.

    Great thoughts though.

  2. One more bit to add to the negatives, one that should also have the Huckabee supporters more than a bit nervous – those delegates to the state convention, held after Feb. 5, that are being selected in the caucuses are not necessarily bound to any particular candidate. That bit is why both Nevada and Iowa (as well as Maine) aren’t being penalized like the remainder of the pre-Super-Duper Tuesday states.

    Disclosure time – I’m a FredHead who would go to Romney long before I went to Rudy McCabee. However, Romney got screwed by the media after Wyoming, and I’m expecting nothing else from the media after Saturday, especially if McCain does what he didn’t do in 2000.

  3. I think it’s interesting that you say that Mitt supporters would go to Fred if something happened to Mitt. I have long felt that was the case, but I thought it was just because I was biased (because that’s exactly what I would do if Mitt dropped out – Fred is my second-choice candidate.)

    Fred and Mitt are the most conservative Republicans in the first tier, and in many aspects, their stance on issues are the same. I think that this race would have turned out very, very differently if Fred had had the enthusiasm and drive to run that Mitt has. The Republican party had all but handed him the presidency on a platter, demanding he join the race, and he has sloughed it off. I think if Fred had run for president with the focus and determination that Mitt has, there wouldn’t be any debate on the Republican side about who should win – Fred would have won every primary easily.

    But, Fred hasn’t got the oomph in him to win the presidency, so we’re at where we are today, where there seems to be a viable road to the nomination for four very different candidates. My man is Mitt, of course, so I’m happy to be cheering him on, but sometimes this whole thing makes me sit back and reflect. It really has been a race for the ages. I wonder what this race will do to change the face of presidential elections. I think it’s going to be huge.

    Sorry, I’m in a rambling mood tonight. 😛

    As for South Carolina vs Nevada, I think Mitt definitely took the right stance by basically abandoning his fight for SC. He can’t be everywhere at once, and the bias against him in SC would be too strong for him to win, so it’s much better for him to fight for a state he can win and be able to point to that win, instead of wasting his time fighting for a state he cannot win and losing in Nevada too. Losing both would be bad. Losing just one, one he’s already conceded, won’t hurt him too much.

    My two cents,


  4. I also think Romney made a good move. I also like what I see, Romney is campaigning in every state rather than these other candidates that don’t even stop by to visit Republicans.

    Romney is making his case to every American. He’s got my respect for going the extra mile.

  5. DryFly,
    you really hit the negatives on the head in Nevada, everything happened as you said, good job.

    Yes the media overlooked Romneys Landslide victory and I thought the same when I said that McCain finished so bad in the state next to Arizona. Romney made a good move and if this were a business, he would have made a good profit and I think that Americans are seeing that.

    I’ve been predicting that he’d win Florida and the recent news from there is that he’s getting alot of good feedback, Rudy’s been slipping everywhere, even in Florida, people are ready for a leader not afraid to get his hands dirty, not a turtle like Rudy.

    Huck will still be biting McCains ankles in Florida so he won’t do as good with the South Carolina victory as some might think. Since Huck is still throwing punches at McCain about his age, I think I’m right on that.

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