For the past several months, GOP Presidential Primary polls have been inescapable as, it seems, every news outlet in the country tries to predict the outcome of the GOP race. Now, in the aftermath of the Iowa caucus, Americans have a clearer vision of how the rest of the contest may play out.
After running a visit-every-county campaign that some pundits said looked more like a run for Iowa Governor than for President, Rick Santorum trailed leader Mitt Romney by just eight votes in the caucus (24.6 percent to 24.5 percent of the vote). While Santorum’s surge to catch up with establishment-favored Romney surprised many people, it is likely that the former Senator from Pennsylvania will lack the resources or ability to re-create the victory on a national level.
Ron Paul finished a close third in the caucus with 21.4 percent of the vote. The candidate called his third-place finish a victory. He said that Santorum may have finished second, but that leaving Iowa, it is a Paul/Romney contest.
“There were three tickets out of Iowa, and Ron Paul earned one of them,” said a statement from the Paul campaign. “One of the three tickets, the one belonging to Rick Santorum, is a dead-end due to Santorum’s weak fundraising and lack of national campaign organization.”
Fourth in the caucus was Newt Gingrich, who vowed to carry on with his campaign. Rick Perry received 10 percent of the votes, Michele Bachman 5 percent and John Huntsman received about 1 percent. (Huntsman didn’t compete in Iowa, focusing his attention instead on New Hampshire where, he says, they pick Presidents instead of corn). Poor performance in Iowa sent Perry back to Texas to “reassess,” and after initially saying he wouldn’t be headed to South Carolina, which holds its primary Jan. 21, he announced via Twitter Wednesday that he would campaign in the State.
Bachmann, speaking from Iowa on Wednesday, announced that she was suspending her bid for President. She said that her primary reason for running was to repeal unConstitutional legislation like Obamacare and Dodd-Frank, and to get the United States off of a path to socialism, goals that she says can be accomplished only if voters rally around one strong GOP candidate.
“Last night, the people of Iowa spoke, with a very clear voice, and I decided to stand aside,” Bachmann said.
Looking to New Hampshire, where the first primary will take place Jan. 10, recent polls show Romney and Paul both having a good shot at winning favor in the “Live Free or Die” State.
Following his Iowa victory, Romney scored an endorsement from Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.). McCain helped author the recent bill that allows for the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens by the Federal government. McCain twice won the New Hampshire primary but, as the GOP pick, lost to President Barack Obama in the 2008 Presidential election.
Though it is not an endorsement, Paul and his supporters got a pat on the back from former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin who said that dismissing the candidate and his broad support would be a big mistake for the Republican machine.
“The GOP would be so remiss to marginalize Ron Paul and his supporters as we come out of Iowa tonight and move down the road to New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida, et cetera.” Palin told Fox Business Network’s Neil Cavuto. “If we marginalize these supporters who have been touched by Ron Paul and what he believed in over these years, well, then, through a third party run of Ron Paul’s or the Democrats capturing those independents and these libertarians who supported what Ron Paul’s been talking about, well, then the GOP is going to lose. And then there will be no light at the end of the tunnel.”
While the Republican-centric events played out, Obama reminded Democrats that the 2012 Presidential election will give him a chance to face off against the GOP pick.
“I think the main message that we’re going to have in 2012 is that we’ve done a lot, but we’ve got a lot more to do, and that’s why we need another four years to get it all done,” he said in a telecast.