A Message to You Rudy

From the New York Times, it may not be over for the Rudolf Giuliani campaign. The former New York Mayor has banked on going for Florida and the 20 or so states that vote on February 5. However, the polls show him in big trouble, having been ahead for months.
It seems that:
There has also been a flood of early ballots from Republican voters, which has, again, already exceeded the turnout in the contests in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada. As of Friday night, nearly 400,000 party Republicans had cast early votes, either in person or by mail, party officials reported. By contrast, just under 200,000 Republicans had voted in person or by mail at this point in 2006, when there was a heavily contested Republican primary for governor. There were 3.8 million Republicans qualified to vote on Tuesday.

The point is that neither Mitt Romney nor John McCain were campaigning to get early votes out in Florida: Romney concentrated on winning Wyoming, Nevada and Michigan, trying to win New Hampshire and Iowa unsuccessfully and not really doing much in South Carolina. Meanwhile Senator McCain didn't have any campaign money until his win in New Hampshire, which has now been assisted by his performance in South Carolina and Michigan.
If the Giuliani camp has in fact been quietly pulling in a 150,000 early votes, the polls will be wrong.
Unlike the other contests so far, this is a winner-takes-all job with 57 delegates up for grabs. The Green Papers has a different calculation method than RealClearPolitics, but seems less inclined to leave out Ron Paul. According to the former, the Republican delegate "soft" count, including the sanctions against some states for holding their primaries early, is as follows:
MittRomney: 59 delegates
John McCain: 41
Mike Huckabee: 26
Fred Thompson (withdrawn): 11
Ron Paul: 8
Duncan Hunter (withdrawn): 1
Rudolf Giuliani: 0

So even assuming the Republican party doesn't relent and award Florida the 114 delegates it would normally qualify for, a win for Giuliani by a single vote in a split result puts him second place on the Convention board ahead of McCain and right up with Romney.

Truth is, if Giuliani comes close to the winner, either a virtual three-way tie or a close second, assuming he has the money to contest February 5th, he still has a hope. Not much of one though. A win would turn this contest right round.

For the record, 1,191 (out of 2,380) are needed to get the nomination at the party Convention on September 1st.

"Super Tuesday", February 5th for the Republicans, involves the following contests:
Alabama Primary
Alaska District Conventions
Arizona Primary
Arkansas Primary
California Primary
Colorado Precinct Caucuses
Connecticut Primary
Delaware Party-run Primary
Georgia Primary
Illinois Primary
Massachusetts Primary
Minnesota Precinct Caucuses / non-binding straw poll
Missouri Primary
Montana Caucus
North Dakota Caucus
New Jersey Primary
New York Primary
Oklahoma Primary
Tennessee Primary
Utah Primary
West Virginia State Presidential Convention
This lot will bring 1,081 delegates, with California the biggest chunk with 173 and Delaware the smallest with 18. Some are open to non-party supporters, some are winner-takes-all. Some are both.

Before then, on February 1-3 Maine will be holding its Municipal Caucuses (the state has 21 delegates in total). So by the end of Super Tuesday, a majority of the Republican delegates will have been allocated. Anyone who comes out of that with a couple of hundred delegates or more, in a split field, may well want to stick around if they can afford to. It's more likely though, that the losers will drop out. Normally, we'd say with confidence that the winner in Florida will now win. But this hasn't been a normal campaign so far.

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