Romney, Not Romney
Last week I commented on an article which suggested that the dominance of religious conservatives in Iowa’s Republican caucus could deter some presidential candidates from fully competing in that state in 2012. I noted that since the party’s activist base is now more homogenous and socially conservative than ever, Iowa would still likely be an important first test of the candidates’ grassroots strength with this group of voters. If not there, then these presidential hopefuls would still need to pass that litmus test early on somewhere else, perhaps in South Carolina.
Since we are speculating for the moment, one possible result of a scenario in which the Iowa Caucus is essentially ceded to a religious conservative like former Arkansas Governor (and 2008 caucus winner) Mike Huckabee or former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, would likely be a full-on favorite son effort by Mitt Romney here in New Hampshire. Romney certainly turned in a strong enough performance in the 2008 primary to make that a possibility.
I mention this because Marc Ambinder, blogging at The Atlantic, extends this analysis today by raising the question of whom (if Romney largely skips Iowa to focus on setting up shop here) would serve as the anti-Romney in New Hampshire. Ambinder mentions Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty as the most obvious possibility. While it is way too early to say with certainty, I do think it will be someone fresh like Pawlenty, who is new to right-leaning independents and Republicans in the state. Ambinder’s general assumption is correct – someone would inevitably emerge in New Hampshire as a Republican alternative to Romney, and it could provide a real opportunity for that person, should he or she decide to take a pass on Iowa.


Posted On: 10-21-2009 16:54:57 by Jim Splaine
I can see that several Republicans could skip Iowa in 2012, and thus make New Hampshire's First-In-The-Nation Presidential Primary even more relevant and important, if that's possible. Consider that John McCain passed up Iowa and thus the story immediately after his victory here was all about him. A caucus is just that. A primary where people actually go to the polls is an election.

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