Nevada moves up caucus date to January 14th

The primary calendar keeps getting pushed more into January. As you know, both South Carolina and Florida announced last week that their respective primaries would be moved earlier in the year to January 21st and January 31st. Not to be outdone, the Nevada GOP yesterday moved its caucus to January 14th:

The Nevada Republican Party announced Wednesday that it will hold its presidential caucus on Jan. 14, likely pushing the first votes of the 2012 election cycle into 2011.

“I’m extremely pleased to finally have a firm date for a caucus that will greatly improve Nevada’s standing and relevance in terms of national politics,” Nevada Republican Party Chairwoman Amy Tarkanian said. “By establishing this date, we maintain Nevada’s standing as one of the first four ‘carve-out’ states and as the very first in the west.”

This move is very likely to bring us a scenario where we’ll see the first votes cast for the Republican nomination in December:

With Nevada’s decision to hold its caucuses on Jan. 14, it’s possible that the presidential primary season could begin immediately after Christmas — with New Hampshire settling on Jan. 7, and Iowa going either Dec. 28 or 29. If that happens, it could be the straw that finally breaks the camel’s back on Iowa’s and New Hampshire’s dominance of the primary calendar.

Ron Paul hauls in $8 million in Q3

While it’s not as much as what Rick Perry or Mitt Romney brought in to their campaign coffers in the last quarter, Ron Paul’s $8 million haul is still very impressive:

Rep. Ron Paul, the Texas Republican who’s running for his party’s presidential nomination, said Wednesday his campaign had raised more than $8 million from more than 100,000 donors in the third quarter.

Speaking at the National Press Club, the 12-term congressman said the total will provide his campaign with the financial fuel necessary to keep his operation running smoothly, with just about three months out from the Iowa caucuses, which kick off the nomination process.

The announcement follows news reports that Texas Gov. Rick Perry amassed $17 million and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney raised upward of $13 million in the same quarter, though Mr. Perry only announced his candidacy seven weeks ago.

Paul has been concentrating his efforts in Iowa and New Hampshire, both early primary/caucus states, where his fiscally conservative message and positions on socials manage to appeal to social conservatives and libertarians will be beneficial in those states. However, he’ll have a tough road ahead both states as four other candidates are vying for the prominence of a victory in the Iowa caucuses and in New Hampshire where Mitt Romney has dominated early polls.

Ron Paul: “He Served”

Ron Paul is headed back to the airwaves with a million dollar ad buy in four states — Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina. The ad, which hits back at the notion that Paul is anti-military, notes his own military service and respect for veterans, providing testimony from brave men that fought in Vietnam.

Here’s the very well done ad:

USA Today published at an excellent editorial from Paul, who took Mitt Romney to task for his health reform plan — the blueprint of ObamaCare:

The idea that more government involvement in health care is the solution, especially at a time when the nation is dealing with record deficits and debt, is preposterous. And the promised effectiveness of forced mandate health care is easily disproven by looking at how such a system has worked in Massachusetts.

Why isn’t Paul a serious candidate?

Over and over again, I get told that Ron Paul isn’t a serious candidate.  After all, he’s Ron Paul.  However, Jason posted yesterday showing a recent Rasmussen poll of Iowa of voters likely to take part in the Iowa Caucus that clearly shows Paul is among the so-called top tier of candidates:

A Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of those likely to participate in the Iowa GOP Caucus shows that Perry is the first choice for 29%. Essentially tied for second are Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann at 18% and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney at 17%. Texas Congressman Ron Paul picks up 14% of the vote, and nobody else currently reaches the five percent (5%) mark. (To see survey question wording, click here.) 

With the margin of error at on +/- 3%, Paul is clearly holding his own against everyone but Rick Perry.  However, historically, front runner status this early isn’t always an indication of later victory.  He wouldn’t be the first candidate to crash and burn later in the race.  A lot of Perry’s polling comes from being the “shiny and new” candidate, though a fair amount also comes from being a very charismatic governor.  While those drawn to his charisma aren’t likely to back down in the near future, the “shiny and new” crowd are likely to jump ship later.

Rasmussen: Perry leads in Iowa

Rassmussen released a new survey out of Iowa on Friday, their first since the Ames Straw Poll, showing Texas Gov. Rick Perry with a double-digit lead over Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

  • Rick Perry: 29%
  • Michele Bachmann: 18%
  • Mitt Romney: 17%
  • Ron Paul: 14%

According to Rasmussen, nobody else in the race polled above 5% (that info is behind a paywall and I’m reluctant to share it here), so it’s a four person race; including Texas Rep. Ron Paul. Bachmann and Romney were at 22% and 21%, respectively, in the last Rasmussen poll out of Iowa. Paul was at 16%. But there has been a shakeup in the race since then as Perry has jumped in (he polled at 12% in the last Rasmussen poll) and Tim Pawlenty has dropped out (he was at 11%).

Perry leads in South Carolina

Someone pointed out not too long ago that history shows that whoever won the Iowa caucus and South Carolina primary has traditionally gone on to win the Republican presidential nomination. According to polling in the Hawkeye State, Rick Perry is holding a small lead there over Mitt Romney. But a new poll from Public Policy Policy out of South Carolina shows Perry running away with the state:

  • Rick Perry: 36%
  • Mitt Romney: 13%
  • Sarah Palin: 10%
  • Herman Cain: 9%
  • Michele Bachmann: 7%
  • Newt Gingrich: 7%
  • Ron Paul: 5%
  • Rick Santorum: 4%
  • Jon Huntsman: 2%
  • Other/Not sure: 7%

And without Palin in the race:

  • Rick Perry: 36%
  • Mitt Romney: 16%
  • Michele Bachmann: 13%
  • Herman Cain: 9%
  • Newt Gingrich: 8%
  • Ron Paul: 5%
  • Rick Santorum: 4%
  • Jon Huntsman: 2%
  • Other/Not sure: 7%

While Romney would best Bachmann, 45% to 40%, in a head-to-head match up, Perry would beat him decisively, 59% to 28%. That’s certainly an ominous sign for Romney in a crucial early primary state.

And So It Begins: Romney’s new strategy in action

Mitt Romney, who has seen his lead vanish in national polls, has put his new strategy of going after Rick Perry in action. Yesterday, while visiting Texas, Romney knocked “career politicians” for the nation’s current problems:

Though Mr. Romney has assiduously avoided taking on one rival for the Republican presidential nomination, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, Mr. Romney took a veiled swipe at Mr. Perry in a speech Tuesday before the Veterans of Foreign Wars national convention in San Antonio.

“I have spent most of my life outside of politics, dealing with real problems in the real economy,” Mr. Romney said. “Career politicians got us into this mess, and they simply don’t know how to get us out.”

The attack line, which lit up the Twittersphere Tuesday morning when the campaign released some early excerpts, was met with some applause, but it is a point that Mr. Romney makes frequently on the campaign trail. Mr. Romney often argues that he is not a career politician and is one of the few candidates, having spent 25 years in the private sector, with the executive know-how to create jobs.

In his speech before the V.F.W., Mr. Romney tried to walk the line between offering an optimistic vision for the nation’s future — he even name-checked former President Ronald Reagan and mentioned “the shining city on a hill” — and painting a grim picture of the country under President Obama’s leadership.

“I believe in America,” Mr. Romney said, wearing a blue tie and speaking in a measured, even voice. “We believe in freedom and opportunity. We believe in the inherent dignity of every human being. We have deep and abiding faith in the goodness and the greatness of America.”

George Pataki not running for president

You may have heard that former New York Gov. George Pataki was going to announce his bid for the Republican presidential nomination tomorrow in Iowa (his campaign website leaked yesterday). It turns out, he’s not:

Pataki, who had been flirting with a White House bid for months, was scheduled to appear this weekend in the key early voting state of Iowa.

Speculation was that the former three-term governor would announce his candidacy Saturday at the Polk County Republican fundraiser.

But the source said that Pataki, who seriously considered running, has decided instead to forgo a run for the GOP nomination.

In a statement released Friday Pataki said, “I remain committed to the advancement of real, politically viable reforms to entitlements and rolling back the size and cost of the federal government. At this time, I will continue to do this as the leader of No American Debt and not as a candidate for president. Throughout the coming months I will remain active in this important discussion and support the candidate who offers the vision, the ideas and the leadership to bring an end to America’s debt crisis.”

Why he would have run is beyond me, unless he wanted to raise his profile.

New national numbers released in GOP presidential race

Polls have been flying out like crazy since Rick Perry got into the race for the Republican nomination for president. Gallup and Public Policy Polling have released numbers pairing several different Republicans against President Barack Obama. We also got our first look at post-Ames numbers out of Iowa.

Rasmussen was the first to post numbers showing that Perry had jumped ahead of Romney, but one poll isn’t definitive. But Gallup and Public Policy Polling released new national numbers yesterday in the Republican field showing that Rick Perry is, for all intents and purposes, the new frontrunner.

Here’s the poll from Gallup:

  • Rick Perry: 29%
  • Mitt Romney: 17%
  • Ron Paul: 13%
  • Michele Bachmann: 10%
  • Herman Cain: 4%
  • Newt Gingrich: 4%
  • Rick Santorum: 3%
  • Jon Huntsman: 1%
  • Other: 2%
  • No preference: 17%

Public Policy Polling has somewhat different results. Unlike Gallup, they show Bachmann in the top three and Paul in the middle of the pack.

  • Rick Perry: 33%
  • Mitt Romney: 20%
  • Michele Bachmann: 16%
  • Newt Gingrich: 8%
  • Herman Cain: 6%
  • Ron Paul: 6%
  • Rick Santorum: 4%
  • Jon Huntsman: 3%
  • Other/Not sure: 5%

And if Palin runs:

Rick Perry leads in first post-Ames poll out of Iowa

The first post-Ames numbers were released yesterday via Public Policy Polling. Consequently, this also the first poll out of Iowa since Rick Perry formally got in the race for the GOP nomination.

As you could have probably guessed, Perry has overtaken Michele Bachmann as the favorite in the state while Mitt Romney comes in a close second (all three of them are within the poll’s margin of error).

  • Rick Perry: 22%
  • Mitt Romney: 19%
  • Michele Bachmann: 18%
  • Ron Paul: 16%
  • Herman Cain: 7%
  • Newt Gingrich: 5%
  • Rick Santorum: 5%
  • Jon Huntsman: 3%
  • Other/Not sure: 5%

And with Palin in the race:

  • Rick Perry: 21%
  • Mitt Romney: 18%
  • Michele Bachmann: 15%
  • Ron Paul: 12%
  • Sarah Palin: 10%
  • Newt Gingrich: 7%
  • Herman Cain: 6%
  • Rick Santorum: 5%
  • Jon Huntsman: 3%
  • Other/Not sure: 4%

The poll should serve as a shot of reality for Bachmann. Yeah, she won the Ames Straw Poll, but her support was soft. And while I heard Erick Erickson say yesterday that Romney was diverting resources to Iowa, this poll really makes me doubt that (or at leas the wisdom in doing so).

Perry and Bachmann have essentially the same base - conservatives and tea partyers - and they, according to this poll, make up 40% of the GOP’s base in Iowa. These are voters that were already skeptical of Romney and are unlikely to suddenly support him if their candidate were to drop out. Add in Cain and at least some of Paul’s supporters (I presume that a significant number of them would back Johnson or another conservative candidate or just not vote), and the conservative/tea party vote is well over 50%.


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