Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The results the establishment hadn't planned on

Regardless of what the final results are as they come in from New Hampshire tonight, they are sure to throw the Republican nomination process into a state of even greater confusion. With the polls set to open at most locations in the Granite State in a mere matter of hours, Senator John McCain is seen to have the lead in the polls, but former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is on his heels (though Romney has looked increasingly desperate in recent days). If either McCain or Romney wins in New Hampshire, it has the potential to turn the GOP nominating contest into a long, protracted struggle. The reason, of course, is that neither man is likely to win in South Carolina-Huckabee, Romney, or Fred Thompson look to be among the favorites there, with Giuliani making a serious run at victory in Florida. That whole scenario could produce a mixed result on Super Tuesday, which means that it is still possible for February 5th to come and go without knowing with certainty who the Republican nominee will be.

Some are panicking at the very thought of a real contest for the nomination-me, I love it. As much as I think the process started entirely too early (and it absolutely did), thus far I am enjoying this election cycle more than I have any previous leap year election in my lifetime or in my period of personal political involvement. This isn't because my candidate for President has started off doing amazingly well, as few who understand the machinations of electoral politics would make that argument. Rather, it is because Fred Thompson has started poorly and he still has a chance-every one of the truly viable candidates are still in it today, and it wasn't supposed to work that way. The party establishment gave us a 2008 Primary schedule designed to favor the darlings of the establishment-Romney and Giuliani. Personal opinions and preferences aside, Mike Huckabee is not exactly the darling of the party elite-and Iowa voters gave those elites a big fat belt in the chops by giving the majority of that State's delegates to one of the men the establishment most fears. New Hampshire voters appear poised to do the same thing today if John McCain should win. McCain was once an establishment favorite, but the insider crowd long ago wrote McCain off as unelectable. That he may be (and likely is), but if he wins New Hampshire he must be taken as a serious contender.

The moral of all of this is that despite the best efforts of some to use the early nomination process to silence the voice of the grassroots, that has not yet happened. A brokered convention-perhaps the only way to teach the party brass a lesson about scheduling voting too early-may still be a longshot, but is not out of the realm of possibility.

The first voting results are in from the towns of Dixville Notch and Hart's Location, New Hampshire:

Dixville Notch

John McCain 4
Mitt Romney 2
Rudy Giuliani 1
Mike Huckabee 0
Fred Thompson 0
Ron Paul 0


Barack Obama 7
John Edwards 2
Bill Richardson 1
Hillary Clinton 0
Dennis Kucinich 0

Hart's Location

John McCain 6
Mike Huckabee 5
Ron Paul 4
Mitt Romney 1
Rudy Giuliani 0
Fred Thompson 0


Barack Obama 9
Hillary Clinton 3
John Edwards 1
Bill Richardson 0
Dennis Kucinich 0



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