Its is almost guaranteed that Romney will win Nevada tomorrow morning (and I do mean morning – the caucus starts at 9 AM PST). South Carolina will also vote tomorrow, though the results are much less certain. In reality, however, both states are only pre-game for Florida. NV and SC will unquestionably have a role to play – and not a small one, either, but the real race to watch is Florida. It is Florida that could really shake up the race, and it is Florida that could set the direction of the race for Super Tuesday. There is a very good chance that the results in Florida could decide who wins the most delegates on Super Tuesday, and whether or not we have a nominee before the convention in September.
So, about Florida, who will win? Well, I don’t know – and neither does anybody else. Period. But, the way I have it figured out, Florida will probably be, at least at the beginning, a close race between three candidates: Mitt Romney (winner of NV), Rudy Giuliani (who has bet the house on FL), and the currently-unknown winner of the South Carolina primary. The way I see it, Romney needs to place in second in Florida, or a close third if it is within 5% of the top spot to have a good shot at being the Super Tuesday winner.
Its that last part that brings me to the main point of this post – why I want McCain to win in South Carolina. Of course, a Romney win would be the best option, but that is extremely unlikely. Romney needs to shoot for third, and, with a little luck, we might even get second (don’t bet money on that, though). So why do I want McCain to win? Simple. He’s a moderate, and will split the moderate vote with Giuliani. This, combined with hard campaigning and new-found support from Thompson and Huckabee fans, could very well put Romney on top in FL, which could catapult him to huge victories on Super Tuesday. I’ve spent much of the day defending my position, as many other Romney supporters want Huck to win SC, arguing that Huckabee is easier to beat than McCain, and, in a two-man race, they are right, Huckabee is less of a threat, but not in a three-man race with Giuliani. As a [candidate perceived to be] Conservative, a Huckabee with momentum poses a much greater danger to Romney, both because he could take votes from Mitt, and because his SC win would make it harder to take votes from him.
If things unfold the right way tomorrow, Romney will take first in Nevada and third or better in SC – with McCain taking the top spot. Will it happen? I don’t know for sure, but there is a good chance it will.