Well, this is it, the last day of pre-season politics. All the talk of early starts and long races are now pointless, because this is the normal time for the real race to begin. Ames is tomorrow, and it will begin the process of separating the potential Presidents from the pretenders. Many of the lesser-known candidates have staked their candidacy to tomorrow’s straw poll. Some of them are pouring every known resource into finishing second or third, others are promising to drop out if they don’t come in in the desired place.
Mitt Romney is expected to come in first, though the overall effects of a Romney win are unknown. He will probably be treated to some positive press, but not as much as if he were actually beating out other top tier candidates. Already leading in Iowa, the local effects of a win at Ames are probably not going to be major. Although, Romney’s dedication to winning could help him gain the respect of Iowans, which could pay off big come caucus time.
It is almost certain that we will see a smaller field after Ames. Duncan Hunter, Tommy Thompson, Tom Tancredo, and Sam Brownback could all go. That also means that endorsements are likely to start flying. While I am not going to speculate on exactly who will endorse who, but I will say that I think all of the top tier (which no longer contains McCain) stand to pick up endorsements.
I’ll be following the progress at Ames tomorrow, I’ll keep you updated – including highlights of Romney’s speech and the final results.