Romney is out. McCain is the front runner and now presumptive nominee. Huckabee is still in, but for how long is hard to tell. I would personally like to see Huck and McCain in a two way race, at least through the next couple of primaries, including Virginia on February 12th. I would like to know if Huckabee can capture the core Conservative vote that has eluded McCain. If so, I think he could win a few more states. Not enough to capture the nomination, but enough to absolutely prove his viability as a running mate.
But I am not certain that Huck will have the money to stick around. There will also be intense pressure from McCain and party leaders to drop out and coalesce behind the nominee. As cordial as these two men have been over the last few weeks, I have to think there is a back channel conversation happening right now for Huck to drop out. McCain would then declare himself the nominee and offer the VP spot to his formal rival.
As a Huckabee supporter in Virginia, I have not heard the first thing about the campaign’s activities in our State. I would have expected to at least hear something. But it hasn’t started yet. That makes me think a deal is being made.
I think Huckabee has a lot of bargaining power right now. He has a handful of Delegates. And more importantly, he’s proved his strength in the South, something McCain will need in the General election if he wants to win. He can also end the Republican nomination fight and allow the GOP ticket to begin it’s nationwide campaign. That in the backdrop of the continued Clinton-Obama political bloodbath.
On a side note, McCain securing the nomination in a matter of days instead of weeks may have a dramatic impact on the Democrat process. With no real contest on the Republican side, Independent voters will move to the Democratic primaries and likely support Obama. A McCain win now may lead to an Obama win down the road.