Wednesday, 30 January 2008

The Florida Primary - it's Michigan (the remix)

This state has plenty of election history attached to it. In 2000, there was the famous Florida recount, which turned into one of the most important factors in deciding the presidency. You will probably remember that Al Gore won the popular vote (which, in my opinion is the most important thing because you will be represeting those people), but George W. Bush got into the Whitehouse because of the Electoral College system.

These are the results for the 2008 Democrat and GOP primaries in Florida:
CandidateVote %ageDelegates
John McCain3657
Mitt Romney310
Rudy Giuliani150
Mike Huckabee140
Ron Paul30
Fred Thompson10
Duncan Hunter00
CandidateVote %ageDelegates
Hillary Clinton500
Barack Obama330
John Edwards140
Dennis Kucinich10
This was a terrific victory for John McCain. In terms of voting percentages it looks quite close between him and Mitt Romney, but because it's the delegates that matter, the difference was actually massive. The gains in Florida mean that McCain is now ahead of Romney overall. He will be hoping that the momentum can continue into Super Tuesday. If he does well in that, it would almost certainly mean that he'll become the GOP nominee for President. This is what McCain had to say after the victory:
"Thank you, Florida Republicans, for bringing a former Florida resident across the finish line first in - as I have been repeatedly reminded lately - an all Republican primary.

My friends, in one week we will have as close to a national primary as we have ever had in this country. I intend to win it, and be the nominee of our party."
Even though he got no delegates, it was one of Rudy Giuliani's best performances so far. The bad news is that he put a lot of work into winning this primary and ignored some of the states that have already voted. He felt that winning that state would show the rest of the US public that he can win the tough contests. As he finished third, there will be even more doubts about his credibility. He didn't say that he'd withdraw from the race, but he referred to his campaign in the past tense:
"I ran a campaign that was uplifting."
Apart from ignoring the early states, it didn't help that he was one-dimensional (frequently mentioning 9/11).

Mike Huckabee seems to be slipping down the results tables, which doesn't look too good. However, there is still Super-Tuesday where everything could change and he has shown the US population that he's capable of winning a primary. Even before the results were released in Florida, he knew that he wasn't going to win in the state, but he won't stop campaigning:
"Thank you folks for being here. God bless every one of you. Pray hard, work hard, get the votes out. Remember this -- if they're going to vote for me, make sure they come. If they're not, don't let them out of their driveway."
At the bottom of the results table for the GOP you'll notice that there's Duncan Hunter and Fred Thompson. I mentioned in a previous post that Hunter withdrew from the race and I assume that his name was left on the ballot papers because there wasn't enough time to produce a new batch. Apparently Fred Thompson has also quit the race and this actually happened a few days ago. It was such a quiet withdrawal and I don't think many people noticed (despite this, he still managed to get a small percentage of the vote - how strange). He said the following in a prepared statement:
"Today, I have withdrawn my candidacy for president of the United States. I hope that my country and my party have benefited from our having made this effort"
The South Carolina result had sealed his fate.

It was a very different story for the Democrats. As you can see from the table near the top of this post, there were no delegates on offer (like Michigan). This was because they had brought their primary forward, but had not followed the rules. None of the leading candidates bothered to campaign in the state as a result of this, so you have to wonder why they bothered to have a vote. All it did was give Hillary Clinton - the 'winner' - a bit of extra press coverage (like Michigan).

You'll notice that Mike Gravel wasn't in the results table (that you can also see on the CNN website). This intrigues me, because he is still running (apparently) and this was confirmed when I looked at this. Do CNN not like him for some reason? Did they decide that he was no longer credible enough? I don't think it's for them to say. He was the only Democrat who campaigned in Florida. I didn't expect him to still be in the race at this stage because he's behind Dennis Kucinich overall and he doesn't have much chance of winning either. I suppose it's theoretically possible that he could do well in Super Tuesday, but it's highly unlikely that will happen.

So, what do you think?

Technorati tags: Election, USA, Politics, Florida, Rudy Giuliani, Republicans


Anonymous said...

Gravel is gearing up for an Indy run where he appeals to single-issue voters. It's crazy enough to work.

Alfred Thompson said...

Gravel may not have been on the ballot. Depending on the rules it is sometimes difficult to get on the ballot without a good organization. But I don't know for sure.
Also in Florida a lot of people voted in advance using absentee ballots. So a lot of votes were in before candidates dropped out.
I think Giuliani had some huge errors in how he ran his campaign. It is surprising for such an otherwise knowledgable guy.
The races are clearly between Obama/Clinton and McCain/Romney now. It remains to be seen if any of the next level candidates will be able to stay in long enough to be factors at the convention. It could happen if the top remains close. We'll know more after Feb 5th.