Mitt Romney has spend millions of dollars and hundreds of hours campaigning in order to build a lead in Iowa, and we have heard time and time again that his strategy to win the nomination requires building momentum from early wins. Rudy Giuliani is relying on a national strategy, and hasn’t put too much energy into winning in IA – at least not like Mitt has. Recently, Mike Huckabee has also entered the fray in a big way – suddenly soaring to the top of state, and, in some cases, national, polls. With all that said, it only makes sense that, if, by some chance, Huckabee does manages to win in Iowa, it would hurt Romney much more than Giuliani, right? Well, if you ask a lot of people, they will say yes, and even if you ask me, I’ll admit that Romney does seem like the one more likely to take a hit, at least according to common sense.
The problem, however, is that, particularly in politics, theories that rely on common sense often turn out to be false, and I think this may be one of those situation. Ever since Huckabee grabbed the lead, I’ve been thinking about the consequences for the other candidates, and I’ve come to believe that there is a good possibility that IF (and I cannot stress that word enough) Huck wins Iowa, it could very well do far more damage to Giuliani than Romney. Here is why:
If Huckabee wins Iowa, Romney is basically guaranteed to come in a second, and, at least according to some recent polls, Giuliani will be lucky to pull 12% of the vote. The next step is New Hampshire, and unless Romney takes a big dive within the next couple of weeks, he will win there, and by a comfortable margin, and I have a feeling that, if Huck wins IA, Romney could gain even more support in NH. Why? Because, Huckabee scares the life out of many Republicans, particularly those who are not all about social issues. These voters could very well unite to stop a candidate they believe would be weak on important issues like taxes, immigration, and national security – and Romney would be best positioned to pick up those votes – likely putting a drain on Giuliani and McCain. If, thanks to Huckabee, Rudy can’t place higher than fourth in the first two states, his aura of “electability” could be destroyed, and his campaign could be over. That would mean a two man race: except that it would be between Mitt and Huck, rather than Mitt and Rudy, and in that match-up, Romney would have a good shot of taking the West, Midwest, and Northeast- giving him the nomination.
It might sound far-fetched, but just far-fetched enough to happen. And you have to admit, the political stars have lined up many times before now.
Let me know what you think, am I right, or am I just dreaming?