With his Florida win, I believe it’s fair to say John McCain has finally claimed the mantle of Republican front-runner. That being said, I don’t think we will see a complete McCain victory on Super Tuesday. There just isn’t enough time and there are two many states for any candidate to effectively compete in every one. McCain will win some, Romney will win some and Huckabee will win a handful, most likely southern States.
The great unknown is can McCain win in State primaries dominated by conservative Republicans. It can be argued that Republicans have not really given McCain his victories up to this point. Are Republicans ready to forgive his immigration policy or campaign finance reform? I think some are. But I am not sure enough of them are. Romney does seem to be gaining traction among the conservative base, especially here in Virginia.
So where does that leave Mike Huckabee? I think Huckabee is now the kingmaker, in one of two ways. Either McCain or Romney could cut a deal with Huckabee now, where he drops out of the race, they announce him as their VP and they start actively campaigning as a ticket. Unconventional, I know, but it just might work. And whoever cuts the deal secures Huck’s evangelical base of supporters. Which in a close race, may be enough to win.
The second scenario has McCain and Romney going all the way to the Convention with neither candidate at 50%. In this case, Huckabee would probably have enough Delegates to put one or the other over the top. And in doing so, secure his place on the ticket.