Dixville Notch Opens the New Hampshire Primary With a Win for Romney and Huntsman

Bookmark and Share   With all the pomp and circumstance and meaning of Groundhog Day in Pennsylvania, New Hampshire has seen their first in the nation primary begin with the first voting in the state out of Dixville Notch.

Out of the 9 voters in the small town, 4 are Independent, 3 are Republican, and 2 are Democrats.  As is expected, most of the the Independent voters chose to vote in the Republican Primary and so out of the 6 votes cast in that contest, Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman tied with 2 votes each.  Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul each received 1 vote.

On the Democratic side, President Obama won in a landslide, receiving all 2 of the registered Democrat voters and 1 Independent voter Dixville Notch.

Historically, Dixville Notch is about as good an indicator of voter sentiments in New Hampshire as Ron Paul is an example of responsible national security…………not at all.  But it is a good example of civic responsibility and participation in the democratic process and that is what’s it all about.  I would still have prefered that Independents were not allowed to influence the selection of who represents my Party but I am nonetheless glad to see that an end to the News Hampshire primary is in sight.  And short of a very unlikely surprise result in the Granite State, I am looking forward to the days leading up to the South Carolina Primary, a state primary contes twhich promises to provide a true proving ground for Mitt Romney and a real opportunity for any of his rivals who are still in the race after New Hampshire.

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Martinez, Gregg, and Grimm Endorsements Giving Romney an Edge

  Bookmark and Share  Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney received two high profile endorsements today.  One each in the two key early primary states of New Hampshire and Florida.  He also received a third endorsement from a less visible but equally as important freshman Congressman.

In New Hampshire, Judd Gregg, a popular former Governor and three term Senator from the Granite State announced his support
of Romney, and in Florida, former Senator and RNC Chairman Mel Martinez did the same.

Also today, Romney picked up the endorsement of freshman Congressman Michael Grimm.

His endorsement may not attract as much news as Gregg’s and Martinez’s public support but as a former Republican operative in Grimm’s congressional districts which spans Staten Island and Brooklyn, I can tell you, that Grimm’s support is just as important.

Grimm took back the seat formerly held by disgraced Republican Congressman Vito Fossella.   In 2008, the seat went to a Democrat, but in 2010, Michael Grimm won it back for the G.O.P.   The district encompasses the most heavily Republican section of New York City ……all of Staten Island, and the Southwest portion of Brooklyn, which send one of the City’s only Republicans to the New York State Senate.   Beyond that, the political machine that Grimm represents and is controlled by former Congressman Guy Molinari, is an extremely heavy handed, Republican regime with a great deal of influence in the New York G.O.P.  This means that freshman Congressman Mike Grimm’s endorsement of Romney is an early signal of widespread organizational support.  In other words, Romney is locking New York up for himself.

This will help to dissuade others from forcing Romney to spend money on the New York presidential primary, a contest that because of its placement amid very expensive media markets, could be quite expensive.

New York could be important in the nomination process.  It offers 95 delegates, one of the largest in the nation. That’s only four less than Florida,
and because the Sunshine State has violated RNC rules by setting an earlier than allowed date for their primary, they could see their delegate count cut in half.

Unfortunately for Romney though, the New York presidential primary is not held until April 24th.  However; if the early primary contests do not
produce a clear frontrunner thereby allowing us to have a presumptive nominee, New York could be decisive.  In fact mark April 24th on your calendars.  On that day, New York will not be alone in holding its presidential primary.  For the first time, we the 2012 nomination contest will be experiencing a sort of Northeast version of the South’s Super Tuesday.  Call it a Northeast Mega Primary.  On that day 231 delegates will be up for grabs form among  5 Northeastern states:

  • Connecticut – 28 – Primary/Winner-Take-All– Closed
  • Delaware – 17 – Primary/Winner-Take-All– Closed
  • New York – 95 – Primary/Winner-Take-All– Closed
  • Pennsylvania– 72 – PrimaryLoophole Primary – Closed
  • Rhode Island – 19 – Primary/Proportional – Modified

If one of the candidates has not practically wrapped up the nomination by then, Romney could be the one to do it on that day. All 5 of those
states are largely fertile for a Romney.

So while Congressman Grimm’s endorsement may not grab the headlines that Gregg’s and Martinez’s endorsements will, it is as , or even more important.  In the case of Judd Gregg, while he is popular in New Hampshire, his electoral influence is debatable.  In 2000, Judd Gregg, then a sitting U.S. Senator from New Hampshire, endorsed Texas Governor George W. Bush for President and Senator John McCain wound up winning that primary.

Mel Martinez is a different story though.  While how much sway he still has among Florida’s voters is iffy, he does have the potential to influence important parts of the electorate there.  Particularly the higher than average  Cuban-American population. This can only help Romney in a state         where he will need all the help he can to fend off Herman Cain and Rick Perry.

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New Polls in Iowa and New Hampshire Make Nothing Very Clear

Bookmark and Share Two new Strategic National polls offer results from Iowa and New Hampshire that mirror other similar surveys.

Of 410 Iowans who are described as typical caucus voters, former Governor Mike Huckabee is ahead of his closest possible rival, Mitt Romney, by 9.02%.

Complete poll results were as follows:

  1. Mike Huckabee 27.56%
  2. Mitt Romney 18.54%
  3. Undecided 17.56%
  4. Sarah Palin 12.44%
  5. Newt Gingrich 12.20%
  6. Tim Pawlenty 4.39%
  7. Michele Bachmann 3.66%
  8. John Thune 1.95%
  9. Rick Santorum 0.98%
  10. Other/Undecided 0.49%
  11. Haley Barbour 0.24%

In New Hampshire a random sample of 940 Republican primary voters offered a result that was almost as equally lopsided between the first and second place finishers as Iowa’s results were, but here it is Romney who takes the lead. The New Hampshire poll played out like this:

  1. Mitt Romney 33.51%
  2. Mike Huckabee 13.83%
  3. Sarah Palin 12.77%
  4. Newt Gingrich 8.62%
  5. Tim Pawlenty 5.21%
  6. Mitch Daniels 1.60%
  7. Rick Santorum 1.28%
  8. Haley Barbour 0.96%
  9. John Thune 0.21%
  10. Other/Undecided 22.02%

Both polls do little more than confirm what we already knew. What we don’t know though is who Iowa and New Hampshire voters will actually be splitting their votes between when it is time to vote and caucus. While we are more than certain that Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty will be running, and pretty sure people like Fred Karger and Rick Santorum are running, we do not know with any certainty if Mike Huckabee or any of the other often mentioned names are running. Furthermore, given the countless number of variables, including who will or wont be in the race and the great potential that the campaigns of many potential candidates have, it would be naive to assume that anyone who is a frontrunner at this moment, will be the winner a year from now.

However, when it comes to New Hampshire and Iowa and Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee, a combination of name recognition from their 2008 presidential runs and demographics, Romney and Huckabee are where they should be in New Hampshire and Iowa and are naturals to win those state respectively.

If they did win in these tow states, the Republican presidential nomination contest is likely to be wide open well into the primary and caucus season.

Following Iowa and New Hampshire are Nevada and South Carolina. Here too a split decision is as natural as it is in the results of Iowa and New Hampshire. Demographics and established name recognition make Nevada a natural for Romney to win and South Carolina a natural for Huckabee to take. Of course with South Carolina being more of a sign of how the South goes than Nevada is of the way the West goes, Huckabee’s win in South Carolina would put him in a much better position for him than Romney.

South Carolina is where Romney has to draw his wall of fire. It is where he has to establish the “Big Mo” that George H. W. Bush thought he had behind him in the 1980 primaries against Ronald Reagan.

Of course as noted in previous White House 2012 posts, if enough candidates who are attractive to the evangelical vote, jump into the race, Romney could be the beneficiary and have the chance to walk right up the middle.

For now though, it really is too early to base any wagers on any of these polls. None of the potential candidates campaigns can be underestimated and there are so many possible players at the moment that it is too difficult to predict which way any one demographic or state will fall.

If Newt Gingrich were to run, not only will his command of the issues be undeniably impressive, but between the unique and numerous ideas he brings to the table, combined with a personality that will surprise many and the ability to reshape his image, he could quickly become an appealing figure to many, including evangelicals and TEA Party energized people.

If Sarah Palin were to run, her ability to campaign in a way that can broaden her base should not be underestimated and given the enthusiastic support that she already has from a loyal base of voters, such an expansion of her base could effect the primaries and caucuses profoundly.

But many other names also have the potential to establish powerfully effective campaigns that can attract the attention and support of any combination of influential wings of the G.O.P.. Texas Governor Rick Perry is building a solid foundation for a possible campaign that highlights states rights which appeals to TEA Party priorities. He has also built a record around anti-abortion measures and other social issues that are attractive to evangelicals and social conservatives. And on economic issues, his tax cuts, spending cuts and jobs record in the Lone Star State, appeal to all wings of the Republican Party.

Indiana’s Mitch Daniel’s is another figure whom could take the Party by storm. His American Heartland appeal and economic prowess will shine brighter than most. The entry of Mississippi’s Haley Barbour could quickly round up a large portion of the G.O.P. inner circle, raise oodles of money, count on many favors owed to him, significantly coalesce Southern support and dilute Huckabee’s Southern strength, while also surprising people with his own strategic abilities and appeal to conservatives in all four corners of the country.

Senator John Thune of South Dakota will be force to a contend with if he runs. While the addition of his name in to the field may not initially turn the race on its ear, he will quickly gain steam. Then there are other names like Rick Santorum and Mike Pence. All of these names will sharply divide the conservative vote, thereby give people like Tim Pawlenty, as well as Mitt Romney and maybe even Rudy Giuliani a better shot at racking high delegate counts.

And through it all may also be the likes of libertarians Ron Paul and former new Mexico Governor Gary Johnson as well as those dark horse candidates, such as Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, and maybe even Donald Trump.

Right now, all that we can be sure of is that while some names like Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and outsider Fred Karger have all but made their campaigns official, everyone else is watching what each of the other names are doing. And until people like Haley Barbour, Mitch Daniels, John Thune and Sarah Palin, make up their minds, people like Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee, Rudy Giuliani, Jon Huntsman and more, will be waiting to make up their own minds.

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Current Standing of Potential GOP Presidential Contenders in New Hampshire

Bookmark and Share Writing for WMUR’s Political Scoop in New Hampshire, James Pindell assembles what he calls “The List“. It ranks the standing of potential Republican candidates if the New Hampshire Primary were to be held today. Factors that Pindell used to rank the potential field included name recognition, number of visits to the state, local polling, and quality of local supporters.

As is the case with White House 2012’s list of potential Republican contenders, Pindell’s list a long one containing 30 names. White House 2012 looks at 35, most of which are not likely to run but do have a fan base that wish would. Pindell’s list includes a few names WH2012 doesn’t. That includes John McCain (please don’t let him even think about it), Joe Lieberman, Mike Bloomberg, former Senator Judd Gregg, freshman New Hampshire Kelly Ayotte, Glenn Beck, Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown, and Texas Senator John Cornyn.

Pindell acknowledges the unlikelihood of some of these names actually running but is carefully trying to reflect the current preference of New Hampshire primary voters, not national sentiments.

The list is an interesting one and his concise descriptions as to why each one holds their position on his list, are insightful.

Topping his inventory of the field is none other than Mitt Romney. Pindell explains that “everything is in place for him to begin N.H. as a front-runner”. But he does suggest that he is not a very strong frontrunner by pointing out that Romney has everything in place “except a working excuse to his own health care law.”

Coming in at number two is Rudy Giuliani followed by John McCain, Judd Gregg, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, Scott Brown , Tim Pawlenty and former Utah Governor and current ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman.

In the back of the pack is Glenn Beck-27, Former Sec. of St. Condoleeza Rice-28, NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg-29, and at 30 is Speaker of the House John Boehner.

James Pindell runs WMUR Political Scoop.com, a site that cobers the New Hampshire political scene in and on which Pindell provides an analysis of important stories for political insiders. He was hired by Hearst Television’s WMUR in Manchester, NH, to launch the subscriber-based WMURPoliticalScoop.com in September 2010.

Pindell was previously the publisher of NHPoliticalReport.com a website he launched in June 2009 dedicated to covering local politics. He has also worked for The Boston Globe.

The Washington Post called him the “Insider’s Insider” for his coverage of New Hampshire politics.

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