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Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Romney Takes Florida, But Race Not Over

I don't think anyone was surprised at the result, and honestly, with all the polling, it's hard to get caught off-guard anymore. Some might be tempted to say the race is just a formality now. It's getting closer to this, but I don't think it's over yet, and it's fine that it continues. Here's my key points from Florida and going forward:

1. The "stars" aligned for Romney in Florida and this helped him. By stars, I mean the GOP elite stars - like Marco Rubio, Rick Scott, among others, threw their support behind Romney.

2. Voter turnout was about 15% less than it was in 2008 in Florida, and in 2008 the GOP had one of the most unexciting candidates ever that year. I hope this isn't a harbinger for turnout in 2012. The tea party was a huge force which drove the GOP to win almost 2/3 of the seats in 2010. Where is the tea party today? Will they sit on the sidelines because none of their candidates are in the race (although each individually, probably does have some tea party support)

3. Gingrich lost a big chunk of the women's vote. I continue to believe this will be a problem for Newt, but maybe not as large as it was in Florida as time might heal these scars a bit.

4. Gingrich ran negative in Florida. I think he'll learn from this mistake. He's at his best in attacking Obama. When he attacks Romney for making money at Bain, firing people at Bain, or owning a mutual fund, that's just silly nonsense.

5. Romney benefitted from a couple of more aggressive debates. Hopefully, he has also learned that standing back and having the race handed to him is not a good strategy.

6. Don't count out the other two - Santorum and Paul. This is a long race. Even if they don't have a chance, it's good to keep them in the race to keep Romney on the right.

7. Many democrats are salivating and giggling at the in-fighting between Republicans, thinking it works to their benefit. I disagree. The only reason it might help Obama is that it distracts people from the horrendously poor job the President is doing.

8. No matter which Republican takes it, I see that person as infinitely better than Obama, although as Ron Paul has mentioned, that's a pretty low hurdle.