Mitt Romney easily won the New Hampshire Republican Primary with almost 40% of the votes. Ron Paul with nearly 23% of the vote came in second, while Jon Huntsman came in third with 17%. Newt Gingrich came in 4th, Rick Santorum came fifth, both candidates getting about 9% of the vote. Rick Perry garnered just under 1%. Newt Gingrich’s attack ads and Rick Perry’s allegations of vulture capitalism did little to derail Mitt Romney’s front runner status.
The race moves moves to South Carolina next and what is likely to be the outcome there? For now Mitt Romney, who has moved to presumptive nominee status, still holds a lead in the South Carolina primary polls. Polls on Friday showed Romney leading with 27%, followed by Santorum at 24% and Gingrich at 18% (Rasmussesn Polls), while an American Research Group Poll showed Romney leading with 31% and Gingrich and Santorum each at 24%.
There is no question that South Carolina will be a do or die primary. Should Romney prevail, he will all but wrap up the nomination. Romney has both the organization and money to move on. While the Gingrich attack ads had some effect on the Romney campaign, there are also those that believe attacking capitalism is the game of the left and is counterproductive. It feeds Obama’s playbook of class warfare. Others think the attacks on Romney are a good thing and a test of what’s to come in the general election.
There is a principal of war, which is probably the most important one, “Selection and Maintenance of the Aim.” The aim for the GOP in the 2012 election is to ensure that the present occupant of the oval office is a
one term president. Revenge within the GOP presidential candidate field takes the eye of the ball and as such the aim.
Perhaps the time has come to discuss the issues and each candidates approach to governing. What will differentiate them from the present Administration? All candidates have made clear that they will repeal Obama Care, get rid of crippling regulations and cut federal spending. The question for South Carolina should be who is the best candidate to implement those policies and who is in the best position to defeat Obama. Most polls show Mitt Romney the presumptive nominee in the best position to do so. It will be up to the other candidates to convince the electorate that they can do a better, hopefully without a scorched earth policy.
One thing that is clear is that the field will be a lot smaller after South Carolina. Romney and Ron Paul will most certainly move on to Florida. Who will join them?