This morning, Nate Cohn of the New York Times Upshot tries to answer the question asked by many Tea Party leaning Republicans in southern states: Why does it seem that the GOP presidential candidate always ends up being a moderate, rather than a ‘true conservative?’ And, he finds some interesting data about the power of the GOP in the states won by President Obama:
But the blue-state Republicans still possess the delegates, voters and resources to decide the nomination. In 2012, there were more Romney voters in California than in Texas, and in Chicago’s Cook County than in West Virginia. Mr. Romney won three times as many voters in overwhelmingly Democratic New York City than in Republican-leaning Alaska.
Overall, 59 percent of Romney voters in the Republican primaries lived in the states carried by President Obama. Those states hold 50 percent of the delegates to the Republican National Convention, even though they contain just 19 percent of Republican senators. Just 11 percent of House Republicans hail from districts that voted for President Obama.
The article, which is well worth reading in its entirety, talks about the difficulties a conservative such as Ted Cruz or Mike Huckabee would have trying to win the presidential nomination, especially because Republican voters in states represented by and large by Democrats tend to be more moderate than those from the south.
It concludes by bringing up Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s effort to organize an SEC Primary, which would let the states with SEC schools, along with some others, vote on March 1st, 2016–the first date states other than the traditional four early primary states can have a primary election. The goal is to give the redder GOP states a bigger voice in selecting the party’s nominee.
In a Sunday AJC story by Greg Bluestein and Kristina Torres, Kemp says he’s aiming to have Georgia influence the choice of nominee.
“We’re on the national map, and that’s really what we wanted,” said Kemp, who next week will update his colleagues and brainstorm on how to move ahead with the plan while attending a national conference in Washington. “We wanted the candidates to know this was going to happen: The SEC primary is going to be a happening event. And our voters here will be able to participate in that process.”
Already, supporters say they are seeing ripple effects. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a potential GOP candidate who won Georgia’s 2008 primary, visited Georgia last week to meet with voters. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, another potential contender, met with Republican-leaning business leaders and donors last week in Atlanta. And state Republican officials expect a slew of presidential candidates at the party’s May convention in Athens.
Would an SEC primary succeed in nominating a more conservative candidate for president? Perhaps, but as the AJC story points out, that will depend on whether voters in the SEC Primary unify around a single candidate, or whether they split their votes among several candidates.