Not Larry Sabato has a detailed post up on the presidential primaries. He predicts John McCain will win Virginia and become the Republican nominee, with Hillary as the Democrat. I’ve been vocal about my support of Mike Huckabee, but it’s not in that vain that I disagree with NLS on his analysis. McCain had his chance 8 years ago and it didn’t happen. Mike Huckabee might not be the eventual nominee, but I don’t see any support for McCain in Virginia. Nor do I see a dynamic where he builds support by February 12th.
I think there is a chance that the Republicans won’t have a clear front runner after primary season. We could have 5 candidates--Huckabee, Romney, McCain, Thompson and Giuliani--all with roughly 20% of the Delegates and no clear winner. Even Ron Paul could be at 10%. With no front runner, don’t expect any of these guys to fold up their tents and go home. Most candidates drop out when the money dries up, but many of these candidates can tap personal resources and stay in the race. Huckabee may not have the financial resources, but he’s got hard core Christian Conservative support that can sustain him.
We could go into the September Convention not knowing who the nominee will be. And think about this scenario--in Virginia, and likely the case in other states, the delegates are only bound to vote for the State’s primary winner in the first ballot. If it goes to second ballot the delegates can vote for who ever they want. Just imagine Mitt Romney showing up at a delegate’s house for dinner and a little talk about that second ballot. This makes for great political theater and will no doubt be fun to watch, but it won’t be good for our party.