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Friday, January 04, 2008

John McCain Big Winner in Iowa

We now have an exciting free for all!

Huckabee's big win over Romney in Iowa weakened Romney in New Hampshire and did more than anything else, other than a clear McCain victory in the Iowa Caucus, to boost an already surging McCain campaign in New Hampshire where he has traditionally been well organized.

In November, when John McCain's campaign appeared doomed, he announced that he would win New Hampshire. At the time his campaign appeared to be on life support and I recall wishing him "good luck" at a houseparty here thinking he had little chance to pull it off.

McCain is now in the lead in New Hampshire according to the Real Clear Politics Averages and has some good momentum coming out of Iowa, even with a 4th place finish.

Some of the folks who might have gravitated towards Romney as McCain's campaign floundered earlier this year may now return and bring needed cash and fresh enthusiasm in the mad dash towards the first primary on Tuesday, January 8th.

But don't count Romney out. He can pull out his personal checkbook and donate a huge amount to his campaign for ads and get out the vote efforts. That didn't work so well in Iowa, but New Hampshire isn't a caucus where only the really motivated turn out to participate.

Enthusiasm for Obama, the first African-American to win a major political contest, may also attract New Hampshire independents that McCain was counting on to put him over the top.

Iowa Result Makes Horse Race More Interesting

As much as I wanted to see the Huckster defeated in Iowa, his victory does make the race more interesting for those who love a good horse race. If Romney had won Iowa, he would win New Hampshire then probably come down here and take South Carolina and the race would be over and DULL.

Now, Huckabee wins Iowa, perhaps McCain wins New Hampshire, and all the pundits will hop on plane and head to Michigan where Romney has long been favored to win, but Huckabee has some strong support (old polls are all that are currently available).

If Romney wins Michigan, where his father was a respected governor, we could have a three way race in South Carolina (polling average here) between Huckabee, Romney and McCain. Fred Thompson may also be making his last stand in the Palmetto State. That would spread the field evenly for the big contest in Florida where Rudy Giuliani is standing guard (FL polling averages).

If Huckabee upsets Romney in Michigan, he'll steamroller the competition in South Carolina and Rudy will be the only thing standing in his way to the nomination. So, if there is to be a stop Huckabee movement, it's first firewall must be in Michigan. The last line of defense, which may be too weak to hold, is in Florida.

From here on out it could be a wild ride. Enjoy!

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