Last month it was announced that only two candidates for president in the Republican Party had qualified for the Virginia Presidential Primary on March 6 – Ron Paul and Mitt Romney. At the time there was a lot of grumbling by the other candidates and they eventually filed a lawsuit against Virginia’s ballot access laws. Regardless of how that suit turns out, the incident foretold the eventual contest for the Republican nomination for president. After roughly 6 months of campaigning and the Iowa Caucuses, the race is clearly a battle between two men – the Establishment candidate Mitt Romney and Constitutional Populist Ron Paul.
Of course, this opinion won’t be heard anywhere on the Establishment-run media. Instead the talking heads and so-called journalists which grace our TV screens continue to babble on about how Ron Paul is a kook, crank, nut job, etc… incapable of winning the nomination. Their portrayals of the Good Doctor are more a result of their fears about him actually winning and ending their cushy establishment lifestyles than it is about reality. But, I digress. To back up the claim that the race has come down to Paul and Romney here are the facts: both lead the field in money and organization. Additionally, Paul has picked up steam in recent polls since Iowa and has demographics on his side.
Money – The Ron Paul Campaign is reporting that they raised $13 million in the fourth quarter of 2011. The only other Republican candidate to raise more was Mitt Romney. The sum Paul has collected in donations has allowed him to not only purchase air time in New Hampshire and South Carolina, but to jump ahead and spent money on direct mail in Louisiana, Nevada, Maine, Colorado, Washington, and North Dakota. The Congressman’s base of financial support is unshakeable and as he rises in the polls it will become much broader.
Organization – As the Establishment candidate and someone who has been running for president for the last six years, Mitt Romney has a solid campaign organization. But what the media and pundits alike have ignored is the ability of the Paul campaign to organize a first rate political operation as well. The fact that only Romney and Paul were able to abide by Virginia’s strict ballot access laws and get on the primary ballot in that state is a testament to the quality of their organizations and the mediocrity of the other campaigns’.
The Paul campaign has gone to great lengths in building a strong presence on the Republican State Central Committees across the country. In Iowa alone his supporters comprise one-third of the members of that state’s Republican State Central Committee. It is from this committee that actual delegate selection for the National Convention will be done. Besides Iowa Paul has supporters in the next ten caucus states that are virtually unopposed for delegate seats.
But besides ample war chests and strong campaign organizations, recent polling and demographics indicate that the Republican field has been winnowed down to two contenders. The next contest on the docket is the New Hampshire Primary. Two polls last week indicated that the race in the Granite State is between Romney and Paul. The New Suffolk University Poll had Paul gaining 6 points on Romney in one day. While Paul stood at 18 percent support, no other candidate garnered more than 8 percent. At about the same time, a new Washington Times/John Zogby Analytics Poll had Romney at 38 percent, Paul at 24 percent, and no other candidate had more than 11 percent. It is true that national polls do indicate that Romney leads the race while Paul lags behind other candidates, but two points need to be made. The Republican nominee will be chosen from more than 50 contests not one national ballot. And most voters in states with contests in the future have not paid enough attention to the race to make an informed choice. Thus, given the results in Iowa and current polling in New Hampshire Romney and Paul are the two front-runners going into New Hampshire voting this week.
Lastly, demographics will play a huge role in winning the Republican nomination. In light of his past poll numbers Romney’s support in relation to other Republican candidates has been steady. As one after the other anti-Romney candidates rose and fell from front-runner status only one other candidate has seen steady upward poll numbers – Ron Paul. Santorum in Iowa was just the final shooting star of the lot. Fortunately for him his star rose at exactly the right moment. Had there been more time to dissect his record he too would have fallen back to the pack of also-rans.
But Paul’s support has been a slow steady trajectory upward because it is solid, unwavering support. Besides Evangelical and conservative Republicans the Congressman garners the most support from disaffected Democrats and Independents of any of the other Republicans running. Since as many as 13 states hold open primaries and caucuses his support outside of his own party will be a distinct advantage in those states.
At the end of the day, the Establishment media and talking heads will babble on about the comeback of Newt Gingrich or the surging Rick Santorum. They will resort to any distraction to cover the truth. The truth is that we have a two man race for the Republican nomination. Because of money, organization, demographics, and recent polling numbers that race is between Mitt Romney and Ron Paul.
Kenn Jacobine teaches internationally and maintains a summer residence in North Carolina