Posts Tagged ‘Rudy Giuliani’

Romney Flying On Wings of GreenFormer Governor Mitt Romney is preparing to infuse his personal fortune into his run for the White House. In so doing, he has become the strategic front runner in the Republican race.

Much to the dismay of independent vote-getters like Sen. John McCain and former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, the Florida primary is fast becoming an exercise in who can attract the most members of the conservative population. Running on his dyed in the wool Republican credentials (despite the difficulty he has encountered shaking off his flip-flopper image) has given the former Massachusetts Governor a fair shot at his first competitive primary and he is climbing fast in recent polls of Sunshine State Republicans.

quote01.jpg“Four days before Florida’s high-stakes primary, polls show the race tight between McCain and Romney as Giuliani trails widely. The outcome of Tuesday’s contest will give one candidate a leg up for the GOP nomination and set the stage for a virtual national primary Feb. 5 [Superquote02.jpg Tuesday]” Liz Sidoti writes in today’s Boston Globe.

It is not simply his appeal and perfect salt-and-pepper hair that is bringing Romney this sudden recognition as the man to beat on January 29th. He has a personal fortune to spend and in American politics, spending money means your message gets broadcast to voters. With McCain, Huckabee and Giuliani rapidly becoming resource-poor as a result of their early focus on Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, it is only Mr. Romney who can inject much needed funds into his campaign coffers and keep his hopes alive.

Sen. John McCain has had a stunning comeback in just 6 months, with his campaign teetering on the edge of extinction just last summer. Replacing money with a streamlined campaign staff and a tireless candidate, the Senior Senator from Arizona has carved out a new calculus for winning (though we should never underestimate the torch of fame he has carried for 8 years as the ‘other’ candidate who ran – and beat – George W. Bush in 2000).

If McCain eeks out a victory in Florida, it will be on the fumes of cash rushing out of his campaign’s account. If he comes in second, he may only survive this race if early polls in Super Tuesday states put him ahead. If he’s leading, he can expect more campaign cash to continue the fight. If not, second place in Florida could sink him entirely.

Giuliani, once the national front-runner, was prescient enough to know that it was the later states that were going to be important. But Florida’s primary at the end of January was evidently too far off for his campaign to carry the necessary support he needs to stay competitive, and sinking more money into it will not carry him over to Super Tuesday. Like many others, I believe this is Giuliani’s make or break state. Lose here and the campaign is over.

In all, it is Romney’s fortune that is now at issue for his Republican competitors. His personal stack of money has made every state win-or-go-home for McCain, Giuliani and Huckabee. Only top finishes allow these candidates to continue to fund raise. For the founder of Bain Capital, he can settle for second in Florida and still throw his wealth into Super Tuesday media buys.

This makes Romney the strategic front runner because now everyone’s strategy revolves around him. He has made every delegate in every state a must-have.


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thinkmatter’s Delegate Tracker - Democrats It is hard to tell what we should be paying attention to during the 2008 election and what is the most relevant indicator of a candidate’s strength.

Surmounting the inaccuracies and obfuscations that dog the coverage of every presidential campaign is challenging enough. I’ve endeavored to provide readers with a resource that clearly explains the terms we’re hearing all the time and one that keeps the most up to date information. But first, a little housekeeping…

You’ll notice that for this post I have added some unfamiliar graphics. For our purposes, these are Delegate Trackers for Democrats and Republicans from four major news sources – CNN, ABC, NBC & The Associated Press. You can click on the images above and below, or on the page navigator at the top of this blog to see the graphics. These images will be updated after every primary, so once you are done reading and getting acquainted with these concepts, you can check back for the most up-to-date information.

With that said…

What are Delegates? What are Superdelegates? Why are they important?

The most accurate information that a voter can rely on when determining which candidate is the definitive front-runner this year is a set of numbers the average person has long since forgotten the meaning of.

We’re all very familiar with the national conventions the Democrats and Republicans have every summer. Four or five days of parading the nominee around, having legends from the past give speeches about the future, one poor city in America halting to standstill and a good handful of protesters being brutalized by the police. It’s all there.

What we are unfamiliar with is that these public relations bonanzas have some practical elements to them. Namely, the nomination of a party member to run for president in the General Election. It wasn’t always Iowa and New Hampshire. Instead, these conventions were the first and last chance many candidates had before ultimately winning or losing the presidency. The first step on the path to the White House was winning a majority share of delegates during the convention to be the nominee.


Each party has a certain number of delegates throughout the United States. These are typically people like you and me, but with a little more motivation and loyalty to one party or the other. Any member of the Democratic or Republican Party can get elected as a convention delegate. These elections are held after the state has held it’s presidential primary (it’s a safe bet to say most states will hold them in March this year) and are usually divided up according to Congressional District.

The reason they are held after the primary is because many states award delegates proportionally to each candidate. Let’s use Massachusetts as an example. We have 121 delegates to be awarded proportionally to each candidate who can get at least 15% of the vote.

Let’s say we’ve held our primary on Super Tuesday and we get these results:

  1. Barack Obama wins with 51%,
  2. Hillary Clinton comes in second with 32%,
  3. John Edwards gets 15%

So, even though Barack Obama has won in this fictitious Massachusetts Primary, Hillary Clinton and John Edwards are awarded delegates because they met the 15% threshold.

Each of these delegates are referred to as pledged delegates. This means that they are going to the Democratic National Convention as delegates on behalf of a candidate. So, 51% are going to Denver, Colorado to vote for Obama at the convention this summer, 32% of them are going to vote for Clinton and 15% for Edwards.

If on the other hand, we were to award all of our delegates in a winner-take-all-fashion, Massachusetts would be a boon for any political candidate to win. NOTE: Many Republican primaries award their delegates on this basis. That is why Florida is so important to Rudy Giuliani – he stands to win 57 delegates, making him the clear front-runner.

UPDATE (1/29): Some references to delegates refer to two different classes of delegates – those awarded statewide and those awarded ‘by district’. You won’t see this too frequently, but I noticed it on the New York Times website recently. The majority of pledged delegates are appointed by Congressional District (as stated above), and usually a handful are statewide or ‘at large’ delegates that are pledged to candidates in the same proportional manner. The difference has no bearing on the end result nor does it detract from the total delegates awarded by a state.

Superdelegatesthinkmatter’s Delegate Tracker - Republicans

This a term that may be the most unnecessarily confusing of the entire campaign. Superdelgates are just like you and me, except even more successful. These are the elected officials (Governors, Congressmen, Senators) and party officials (party chairs, National Committee members) in any one state.

They are what is referred to as unpledged delegates. This simply means that they have not sworn allegiance to one candidate or the other. They are free to choose their candidate despite the results in the presidential primary.

You have probably seen many news outlets talk about superdelegates as if they are the Holy Grail of politics. This remains to be seen. There are 796 total Democratic superdelegates being courted this year.

NOTE: The Republican Party does not have ‘superdelegates’ per se, or at the very least, the don’t call them that. They maintain a total 463 unpledged delegates to the Republican National Convention out of 2,380 total delegates. Of those, 123 are members of the Republican National Committee. The rest are selected in primaries and caucuses but don’t have to pledge to a candidate.

Why are Delegates and Superdelegates Important?

This could be the first year that a candidate’s delegate count means more than how many primaries he or she wins. This could also be the first year in nearly a half century that a party might not have a nominee until after the convention.

In order for a Democratic candidate to win the nomination, they must secure any combination of 2,025 delegates or superdelegates. A Republican candidate must secure any combination of 1,191.

Therefore delegates are extremely important in 2008 since the amount of delegates and superdelegates a candidate picks up dictates the winner. All the hype about superdelegates (since they can be persuaded to pick one candidate over another despite who their state primary picks) may not be hype after all. If Hillary wins more superdelegates and it puts her over the 2,025 edge, that’s an amazing victory. If McCain can keep up his current pace, his delegate count may soar out of the reach of his competitors.

Now what?

Pay attention to see if the delegate counts continue to be close. Without a clear winner, the Democratic National Convention and the Republican National Convention could be the final battleground where the candidates will fight for a majority of delegates. If neither Clinton or Obama reach the 2025 threshold, the convention is where they are going to fight for unpledged delegates or strike some sort of deal. Like I said before, a political match-up like that hasn’t happened in over 50 years.

Although, this doesn’t mean that the primaries aren’t important. Far from it. Each primary is going to give their delegates to a winner either in one lump sum or in proportion. This is why I have made up the Republican and Democratic Delegate Trackers. Given what is going on in the presidential race today, these could prove to be valuable tools in determining the winners.

Keep in mind these are just the pledged delegate numbers (i.e. the total number of delegates awarded to each candidate after Iowa, New Hampshire, Michigan, Nevada and South Carolina). I will make sure to get superdelegate numbers out as quickly as I can so you can see who is ahead in each category.

For now, enjoy the race.

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