Without much surprise, Rick Santorum has spoken to the news media and announce what has been speculated for some time – his exit from the race for the Republican nomination for the 2012 election. This departure follows comments from Newt Gingrich on Sunday that clearly leave Mitt Romney uncontested, other than the negligible impact of Rep. Ron Paul.
We spoke about the potential outcome of the Republican Primary races up to April previously. As we stated on Feb 14, 2012,
“For all the money gained, neither Santorum nor Gingrich have the funding to have competitive campaigns in every State. Neither do they have the time to build a national organization. Which means, realistically, that much of the advertising seen, and the voice heard, will be that of Mitt Romney.
The best that any of the candidates can hope for is to cut into the lead of Mitt Romney, denying him a run-away win…”
Again on March 7, 2012 we followed up our thoughts and projected
“While Santorum might reduce the gap of delegates, it seems unlikely to be less that at least 1/2 fewer delegates than Romney will be able to maintain going forward until April.
The outcome then may be: Gingrich continues to lose funding. Without substantial wins … it is likely that he will be out of the race by March 17th at the earliest or probably April 3rd.
Depending on when Gingrich leaves the race, Santorum will maintain his 2nd place total of delegates. He may slightly decrease his delegate gap with Romney, but not by enough to be secure. We would expect that if Santorum does not win Pennsylvania by wide margin and New York in general, he should be out of the race shortly thereafter.”
We were wrong about Gingrich by 5 days, if you accept his comments on April 8th as a concession of his defeat, which we do. Rick Santorum was clearly not going to win Pennsylvania by wide-margin, if at all. New York was considered out of the reach for Santorum to win, which in our expectations was the death knell for his campaign. Both men did well, but much like Agent Smith in the movies it was inevitable.
Thus the consolidation of the Republican Party will begin in earnest. Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum will begin to lead their supporters down the path of unified support for Mitt Romney in the battle against President Obama.
The good news for Republicans is that this will allow a pooling of funds which will be desperately needed to combat the warchest that President Obama has yet to truly tap into. Coffers that are so deep Mitt Romney will be in the unfamiliar role of the candidate outspent in advertising in every State in the nation. Thus future debates with President Obama will be critical – and likely very few.
In terms of debates, Mitt Romney has the slight edge. President Obama is a great orator, but only when he is going by a prepared speech. His performances in debates were good, but in 2008 relied heavily on the fact that opponents in the Primaries and Sen. McCain had no voting record or history to tap into. For 2012 there is a defined record for the Obama Administration, and several massive laws that have been opposed since day 1 and an economy that might be called anemic if gratuitous praise were laid upon it.
Already the Obama campaign has detailed that their re-election campaign will focus on negatives like socioeconomic divisions in America, race and minority classifications. Gone is the image of an uplifting new style of governance, replaced by bitter partisanship and a reality of a deep chasm between the President’s politics and those of the mainstream.
Also expect this to be ugly. While neither President Obama, nor Mitt Romney, will touch on race or religion surrogates and interested parties have already begun to spin despicable imagery and words for their preferred candidate. In this at least both men are on equal footing. They both have issues that are fundamentally intrinsic that large pockets of America either fear, despise, misunderstand, or hold some prejudice on.
Perhaps most critical will be the choice of Vice President for Mitt Romney. Unlikely to be known before July, the person chosen will be critical. We generally think that after the manner in which the news media has continuously savaged Sarah Palin, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is a longshot. The same is true for Meg Whitman, especially considering how N.O.W. directly violated its mission statement and the news media didn’t even blink. Gov. Chris Christie has potential, but is too abrasive especially in contrast to Romney.
We expect the main focus of the vetting, and the real favorites for the Republican Vice Presidential nominee are between Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, and Florida’s Sen. Marco Rubio.
Ultimately, after a slight pause that may last until May, the real race and the real political dogfight has only just begun.
On a side note, we are even more interested to see if Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum will appear at the NY GOP annual dinner on April 19th that we will be attending.
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