15 January 2008

Romney wins in Michigan

There have been three major GOP contests in this primary season and - with Mitt Romney's win tonight in his boyhood home - three different winners.

Romney in Michigan, John McCain in New Hampshire and Mike Huckabee in Iowa.

Romney also won in Wyoming's caucus, but there wasn't that much at stake in the state and some Republicans are questioning the process there and the actual winner.

So three winners in three states it is.

As I write this, it appears Romney will likely win by eight or nine points tonight, which is a bit contrary to the polls, which showed the Romney-McCain race much closer.

The general consensus is that lousy weather kept independents at home and turnout down, which was helpful to Romney.

In addition, 40% of those polled said Romney's ties to Michigan did have at least some influence on their decision.

Some had Romney's political obituary written and ready to publish had he not come in first tonight, and they may well have been right in their estimation.

But the bottom line is he won and the GOP race is even more widen open than it had been.

Polls in Nevada have been few and far between and - frankly - not worth much.

Mike Huckabee had a notable lead for a while in South Carolina, but John McCain now seems to be ahead in the state that did him in eight years ago. Mitt Romney doesn' figure to do well there.

After Nevada and South Carolina comes Florida, the place where Rudy Giuliani is placing all his bets. If you look at the most-recent polls in the state - those taken in January - Florida looks like a four-way tossup involving Giuliani, McCain, Romney and Huckabee.

Heading into Feb. 5, it is conceivable there will be four different winners in the five major GOP races to that point - Iowa, New Hampshire, Michigan, South Carolina and Florida.

But it is also possible McCain will have notched three wins.

There's also a chance, but much less so based on the latest polls, that Huckabee could have three wins or Romney could have two under his belt heading into Tsunami Tuesday.

So, in addition to breathing renewed life into his own campaign, Romney with his win in Michigan tonight has assured that the only thing we know about the GOP race is that we have no idea where it's heading.

And that's fun for a change.


One other note.

As I write this I'm listening to the Democrats debate on MSNBC. While it seems the three candidates are having good nights, I'd say the moderators can't make the same claim.

For the first 23 minutes of the debate, Tim Russert and Brian Williams did their damndest to stir up the ill feelings about the injection of race, sex and other controversy into the campaign in recent days.

The two seem to have confused their role tonight. They should not be trying to make news by sparking a controversy. They are supposed to be on the podium to ask the questions we as citizens would like to ask ourselves.

From where I sit, they wasted nearly a quarter of the debate on a bald-faced attempt to get feathers flying.

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