As you all know today Republicans and Democrats in Iowa will caucus and throw their support behind the candidate of their choice. The nomination season is finally upon us.
I’ve been thinking and talking with people about who might win the two Party’s nomination. The Democratic race has always been a three person race and I think in the end my friends on the other side will nominate Barack Obama.
The Republican race however is very much up in the air. Rudy Giuliani appeared to be the front runner for some time, then Fred Thompson joined the race and threatened for a while, McCain was popular, unpopular now appears to be popular again. Huckabee climbed out of the second tier and became a factor and Romney’s warchest and relatively error free campaign make him a factor as well. In short, there is no front runner and I think the GOP might be headed into the National Convention later this year without a nominee.
Based on what I’ve found, a GOP candidate needs to secure 1,259 out of 2,516 delegate votes to secure the nomination. Some States’ primaries are winner take all, others are proportional and still others hold caucus and elect delegates by either county or state conventions.
Distributing delegates based on the most recent Real Clear Politics averages we see that through Super Tuesday the candidates claim the following delegates:
There remain 516 delegates voting on Super Tuesday for which I couldn’t readily find polling data. There are a few things we can safely assume such as McCain takes Arizona (winner take all), Huckabee wins Arkansas (winner take all by Cong. district), and we’ll give Romney half of Mass. (proportional primary). Distributing those 108.5 delegates we end up with this:
I don’t see Giuliani doing well in many of the other Super Tuesday states which means other candidates gain on him. Thompson and Huckabee will fight over the other southern states while McCain and Romney need to keep pace to stay in the race.
As you can see, no clear front runner emerges after February 5, when the bulk of the delegates will be alloted. A good ‘ole fashion brokered convention is very likely, which would make interesting television but could cause a bloodbath within the GOP if we’re not careful.