It starts with scaling back, progresses to suspending and ends up lying dormant in some distant corner. And that’s apparently where the Newt Gingrich campaign is headed according to a report from Politico.
Seems Newt, who wants to run the U.S. economy, cannot even efficiently run his own campaign economy and that’s without an opposing party blocking his every initiative. He’s in debt to the tune of $1.5 million according to FEC filings. Those are somewhat dated figures ending in February and the super-PAC ‘Winning our Future’ headed by gambling kingpin, Sheldon Adelson, just dropped $5.5 million on the campaign a week ago, so maybe things aren’t as dire as they seem. Or maybe they are, given the fact that the FEC report also doesn’t reflect recent expenses incurred after the February date.
This much we know, bodies of staff are flying out the door as Gingrich announces a new strategy of using social media and talking man to man or man to woman with prospective delegates; whatever massages the dwindling bank account. One thing is certain; he’s planning to spend little time in the remaining primary states. Not exactly a recipe for winning many additional delegates. Not that he’s won much to this point anyway with Georgia and South Carolina being the only two states in the ‘w’ column. Third seems to be the most popular Newt number.
Looking at the latest delegate count, unofficial because the Theory of Relatively is easier to decipher than how republican delegates are chosen; Mitt Romney seems to have about 595 delegates, Belligerent Christian, Rick Santorum, 264, Newt 157 and ‘when the hell’s he going home?’ Paul, 79 just about one for every year Paul has been on the planet. If he was 700 years old, those numbers would be much more impressive. Another delegate estimate is slightly kinder to Santorum, giving him a total of 273 compared to Romney’s 568. In a more definitive category, Romney dominates with 39% or the popular vote compared to Santorum’s 27%, Newt’s 21% and Paul’s 10%.
However, having said all the above, Newt’s move could add a new dynamic that would be potentially troublesome for front-runner Romney. Even though their man is nominally in the race, Gingrich supporters might consider a vote for Newt to be a wasted vote and transfer their extremist love to Rick Santorum, a man so far out there that Bellevue would surley refuse him admittance for fear he would be a bad influence on their other residents.
Let’s say 15% of the 21% Newt vote goes for Santorum. Add that number to the flaming heterosexual’s average tally of 27% and you’ve got 42%, enough to knock off Romney if he holds to his average of 39%. On the other hand, the overarching belief that Santorum couldn’t beat a trained seal in the general election may persuade even Santorum fanatics to switch to Romney, who, for all his faults, polls better against Barack Obama. And as long as Newt doesn’t ‘suspend’ his campaign, all bets are off because he’ll still get enough votes to deny Santorum any surprise wins that aren’t in highly conservative states.
The Adelson factor could come into play as well. His latest $5.5 million notwithstanding, you don’t get to the $25 billion net worth plateau through your heart. Pretty soon his brain is going to tell him what the rest of the civilized world already knows…Newt is kaput! When that finally registers, Adelson will direct whatever percentage of the $100 million he says he’ll spend on the primaries to Romney.
We’ll see what happens, Tuesday in DC, Maryland and Wisconsin. It may still be too early in the scaling back process to impact Gingrich’s vote, though I really don’t anticipate he’ll do much in any of those states no matter his status. Romney is the favorite to pick up a good percentage of the 98 total delegates up for grabs. True to his record, Santorum’s name doesn’t even appear on the official DC Tuesday ballot due to yet another organizational snafu. Talk about somebody who ought to be cutting staff. DC republicans, by the way, had a non-binding straw poll Monday, March 26th and Romney captured 72% of the vote; Gingrich won 2nd with a kissing your sister percentage of 8.7%, while Rick and Ron shared the bottom rungs with 8.1%. Given the fact that republicans are as rare as big foot sightings in DC, a 200-vote straw poll means nothing – nor, frankly, does the actual primary.
So, until Gingrich grabs his helmet-haired mistress/wife and they return to their McLean, Virginia digs, the race belongs to the guy who can best afford to purchase it – and that would be Mitt Romney.
If Romney goes on to the anticipated presidential nomination, the next occupant of the White House, be it the incumbent or challenger, will truly be a billion dollar baby.