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Follow-up to Already Said It!

This article first appeared on Oct 18, 2011.

Watching tonight’s Republican Debate from Las Vegas only served to further cement my predictions about this primary race.

Governors Gary Johnson and Jon Huntsman – Much like you weren’t on the stage tonight, a speech that you might give to the Republican convention will NOT be to accept the nomination. [Update Jan 2012: Johnson has been out of this race. New Hampshire for Huntsman is the high-water mark. Enjoy it for reality looms.]

Senator Rick Santorum – The question (even if you did not like it) is grounded in reality. If if name recognition for all candidates is in the 50% range nationally; your number was 1% expectation by REPUBLICAN votes for your chances. Continue to speak and advocate your values platform, but this race will not be yours. [Update Jan 2012: Like New Hampshire for Huntsman & Iowa 2008 for Huckabee - Discussions of peaks are past-tense.]

Representative Michelle Bachman – Unlike the Senator, you got the front. Like the Senator, the “sound of inevitability” is getting louder. Your position as the best among the least will result in your departure. [Update Jan 2012: Already gone!]

Representative Ron Paul – Yours is a stable candidacy marked by its stability. Unfortunately, you have reached the zenith of your potential and (like the Senator) will serve to direct the debate & platform, but will not be its standard bearer. [Update Jan 2012: Stiff head-winds loom directing your campaign ship to waters not open to "Independents" and cross-over Democrats!]

Governor Perry – Unfortunately, you will serve as yet another political reminder that marketing and a powerful war chest / fundraising engine can raise a candidate to the top, but it is the candidate that must make the step OVER it! You had the momentum and got waylaid by things both unfair (references to words painted on rocks) and fair (calling those opposed to your political decisions “heartless”). In the end, you served as the mechanism for your own defeat. If you want to blame someone, look no further than your mirror! [Update Jan 2012: Last in Iowa; Last in New Hampshire. You'd do well to ignore your "campaign advisers" suggesting you "soldier on to South Carolina" - they're getting paid and there as long as there is money. A "good Conservative" would quit spending good money after bad!]

That would be the current “bottom” tier among the candidates. Some of these wild-cards could step into the “top tier”, but the likelihood is that the Republican nominee will come from the one of these three……

Governor Mitt Romney – The “Hillary Clinton”-like “presumptive” nominee throughout this campaign performed well (as he usually does). He continues to struggle to connect with Conservative voters among Republicans, but he has been the leader in the race and continues in a top position.

Problem: He continues to be stalled in the 25% range seemingly unable to advance his advantage and take control. At some point, he will have to go beyond what he is before those who will not vote for him coalesce behind another candidate. If that happens, it is bridesmaid yet again for Romney! [Update Jan 2012: Iowa & New Hampshire represent a two-fer. Conventional Wisdom favors the former Governor, but there are still more votes being cast for "Not-Mitt" than for him!]

Herman Cain – If momentum (right now) were the deciding factor, this would probably be the nominee. Much to the chagrin of his liberal detractors and opposition, it is not “racism” or attempts to “hide racist intent” that is the keystone to his campaign. No candidate in the race has shown his ability to connect with the American people and speak to their dreams, fears, and aspirations. There is simply a value to the ability to instill trust and be likeable.

Problem: Many times, WHEN you peak or at least “catch your headwind” is as important as WHAT or HOW you do it. The laser-focused glare of the front-runner’s position in this race has been a tough challenge for all of the candidates. Cain may have hit his momentum just a bit too early, setting himself up as a target from all directions, and appearing weak at the worst possible time (when the first primaries and caucuses start). [Update Jan 2012: Honestly, I didn't predict his fall so quickly or how it happened. I expected him to dwindle in December; not implode in November.]

Leading us to my original prediction……

Speaker Newt Gingrich – The Speaker appears to be peaking (both in tone, content, and visibility) at the almost perfect time. He is on the rise a month or so before the first votes when Herman Cain is getting attacked from all sides. He will be poised as the “Anti-Mitt” affording him the opportunity to seize momentum and coalesce at the point when it will have to occur.

Problem: He has to get to the primaries and caucuses in a campaign that needs to get fund-raising in gear! In the Speaker’s case, he has to BE there when the head-wind appears. His will simply (to quote “Facing The Giants”) have “to prepare for rain”!
As I said in the earlier post, whether it is providence, planning, or blind luck, Speaker Gingrich is poised (now in 3rd place behind Cain & Romney) to get his shot at the beginnings of the voting phase for a one-on-one challenge with Romney, which he will win!

Net result – Gingrich on stage at the Republican Convention accepting the nomination and on stage Election night addressing the nation for the first time as President Elect!

[Update Jan 2012: Due to Cain's implosion, his rise occurred a bit too early to peak at the "perfect" moment. This set him for attack from all sides that hindered his campaign. I would still identify him as the candidate most likely to be the "Not-Mitt" and, therefore, Romney's main competition for the nomination. I'll still pick Gingrich to be standing on the podium in Tampa accepting the Republican Nomination in August 2012.]