Former Governor Mitt Romney (R-Mass.) was the big winner last night in Florida. The Sunshine State is a winner-take-all state, which means that Romney took all fifty of Florida’s GOP delegates and is now leading in the delegate count. But as The Christian Science Monitor points out, Congressman Ron Paul (R-Tex.) could emerge as another big winner by week’s end:
This week, Ron Paul is likely to win more delegates to the 2012 GOP convention than either Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum. In fact, he’s likely to win more delegates than Gingrich and Santorum combined.
“Hold it”, you’re saying, “How can that be? Rep. Paul’s polling in single digits in Florida. He’s going to finish behind Gingrich and Santorum, as well as Mitt Romney, in Tuesday’s Florida primary. How can that translate into beating any of his rivals at all?”
We’ll tell you how – because he’s not winning those delegates in Florida. He’s winning, or will probably win, at least a few delegates in Maine.
Indeed, while the other three remaining Republican candidates have been busy in Florida, Paul has been focusing his time and energy on a strong finish if not a win in the Pine Tree State and in Nevada. Solid performances this weekend could give Paul momentum and energize his supporters headed into the Colorado and Minnesota caucuses next Tuesday.
I’ve often warned about the Nevada Senate race that Harry Reid had the money to make that seat competitive again despite polling that showed him behind by double-digits. Sure enough, a new Mason-Dixon poll shows that Reid is either statistically tied or leading his GOP opponents:
Forty-two percent of Nevada voters said they would vote for state GOP Chairwoman Sue Lowden in a potential match-up against Reid, while 39 percent would support the majority leader, according to a Mason-Dixon poll released Friday.
By contrast, Lowden led Reid 47-37 in a mid-April Mason-Dixon poll, both surveys having been sponsored by the Las Vegas Journal-Review.
The new poll shows Reid making up ground against — if not overtaking — other potential Republican opponents.
Reid leads former state Assemblywoman Sharron Angle (R), a favorite of Tea Party activists, 42-39 percent. The top Senate Democrat is also in a statistical dead heat with businessman and former UNLV hoops star Danny Tarkanian: Forty-two percent of Nevadans would vote for Tarkanian and 41 percent would vote for Reid in such a match-up.
Complacency is the GOP’s worst enemy at this point, and Nevada is evidence of that.
Now that a couple of states have made it clear that pot is legal within their own borders, it looks like the momentum has shifted on drugs. I can’t help but believe that presidents in the future will be elected based on how little they want to pursue the “war on drugs,” meaning we will see the end of it in the future…if I’m right.
Perhaps now is a good time to start directing some attention to another prohibition, and that is prostitution.
I’m going to ask folks to turn off their morality arguments. Those are great for telling someone why they shouldn’t use a prostitute, but it doesn’t have any place in a discussion about why it should be legal or illegal.
Prostitution is nothing more than the act of selling sex for money. One has to be rather specific about the money part though, because without that a lot of people can be considered “prostitutes.” For example, the person who sleeps with their boss for a promotion could be considered a prostitute, despite the act itself not being specifically illegal in most jurisdictions.
They say that prostitution is the “worlds oldest profession”, and it may well be. It is probably one of the earliest examples of entrepreneurship in history as well. After all, it requires minimal startup costs, minimal overhead, and large potential return on investment compared to other potential industries. However, it’s currently illegal.
Let me ask the opponents of prostitution this: who is hurt by a mutally satisfactory exchange of cash for a service?
The answer is no one. If it were, then plumbers or electricians - who take money in exchange for a service - would be classified as committing a crime. They’re not, and for a good reason. We need properly functioning pipes and wiring, and see nothing wrong with exchanging money for the necessary services to keep them in working order.
With Nevada largely dependent on tourism spending, the residents of Las Vegas and surrounding areas have felt the recession in serious ways.
And now that President Obama will be in office for another 4 years, the increased uncertainty is too much for some employers to handle.:
A Las Vegas business owner with 114 employees fired 22 workers today, apparently as a direct result of President Obama’s re-election.
“David” (he asked to remain anonymous for obvious reasons) told Host Kevin Wall on 100.5 KXNT that “elections have consequences” and that “at the end of the day, I need to survive.”
Here’s an excerpt from the interview. Click the audio tab below to hear even more from this compelling conversation:
“I’ve done my share of educating my employees. I never tell them which way to vote. I believe in the free system we have, I believe in the right to choose who they want to be president, but I did explain as a business owner that I have always put my employees first. I always made sure that when I went without a paycheck that [I] made sure they were paid. And I explained that I always put them first and unfortunately I’m at a point where I’m being forced to have to worry about me and my family now and a business that I built from just me to 114 employees.
Wayne Allyn Root, 2008 Libertarian Party’s Vice Presidential nominee and political commentator, resigned this morning from the Libertarian National Committee (LNC) to, according to his resignation letter, “elect good people and change the direction of this country outside of a third party.”
In the letter to the LNC, which is available at Independent Political Report, Root explains that his decision much is not unlike those of previous Libertarian Party presidential candidates, including Ron Paul and David Koch; both of whom left the LP to become prominent Republicans.
When I asked if he was now backing Mitt Romney, Root responded, “I am,” adding, “I don’t deny that Romney and Ryan aren’t libertarians, but Romney is a pro-business capitalist and Obama is a Marxist-socialist.”
“The economy has been trashed. This is about my kids’ future, it’s about my businesses,” said Root. “There is no hope for America if Obama is re-elected.”
Root, who lives near Las Vegas, noted in his resignation letter that he “plan[s] to join Tea Party U.S. Senators like Rand Paul, Jim DeMint, Marco Rubio and Mike Lee in the near future, representing the great state of Nevada.” It’s obviously too late for him to run this year. It would 2016 before Root could make a run, presumably against Sen. Harry Reid; though Root told me that he believes the Democratic leader will retire.
Bob Barr, a former Republican Congressman from Georgia and the 2008 Libertarian Party’s presidential nominee, backed Newt Gingrich during the GOP primary. Barr has indicated that he will support Romney in 2012.
Disclosure: I served as campaign blogger for Barr/Root in 2008.
While we have gotten off on another distraction thanks to Todd Akin’s comments about abortion and rape, swing state voters may wish the national focus of the election was back on the economy. According to recent jobs numbers, the unemployment rate went up in 44 states, including many that will play a factor in determining the presidential race:
The jobless rate climbed in July in nine of 10 battleground states that could play a pivotal role in the presidential election, even though employers added workers in most of them.
The unemployment rates rose in Iowa, Florida, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, according to Labor Department data released Friday. The rate also increased very slightly, in Colorado and North Carolina, and held steady in Ohio, ending 11 months of declines there, the data show.
Nevada’s 12% unemployment was highest among all 50 states. Michigan’s rate hit 9% for the first time since January, and Florida’s rate, now at 8.8%, increased for the first time in more than a year.
The state figures largely tracked the national jobless rate, which ticked up to 8.3% in July from 8.2% in June.
Separately, Gallup notes that 56% of voters in swing states say they are not better off than they were four years ago. Only 40% say they are better off. The number of voters who say they aren’t better off is up slightly from when the same question was asked back in January. Who do they blame? Twenty percent point their finger at President Barack Obama, while only 7% blame his predecessor, George W. Bush.
We haven’t been paying attention to many general elections polls around here lately. Why? Because none of it really matters until around 60 days before voters casts their ballots. But there has been a narrative that Mitt Romney is performing poorly in swing states and President Barack Obama is well on his way to re-election. But a poll released by CNN earlier this week shows that Romney is up in the states that will decide the presidential election:
Mitt Romney has a sizeable lead in 15 battleground states, according to a CNN/ORC poll released late Monday.
The Republican candidate leads President Obama 51 percent to 43 in 15 states that will be critical in determining the outcome of the 2012 election.
Obama won 12 of these battleground states in 2008 — Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin — and will need to keep about half of those in 2012 if he’s to secure reelection. The poll also included Missouri, Indiana and Arizona as battleground states.
That’s good news for Romney, showing he has a base of support in those states, though the blanket poll of 534 registered voters doesn’t give an indication of which candidate leads in an individual state, or by how much.
Obama holds a slim lead over Romney nationally in the CNN/ORC poll, 49 percent to 46, which is within the poll’s margin of error and unchanged from the same poll in May.
After finishing a distant second to Mitt Romney in Nevada on Saturday, Newt Gingrich became unhinged during an evening press conference, promising a prolonged battle for the Republican nomination:
Newt Gingrich vowed again to stay in the Republican presidential contest until the convention in August and said he will spend the next several months engaged in a bitter battle with Mitt Romney.
Speaking to the press after the Nevada caucuses Saturday, Mr. Gingrich repeatedly hammered Mr. Romney as a pro-abortion, pro-gun control, pro-taxes candidate who has the backing of the Republican establishment.
“I am a candidate for president of the United States,” he said. “I will be a candidate for president of the United States. I will go to Tampa.”
Mr. Romney ignored Mr. Gingrich in his victory speech tonight. But Mr. Gingrich seemed insistent on making sure that his rival cannot simply look the other way.
He accused Mr. Romney of purposely leaking false information about Mr. Gingrich’s plans to drop out of the presidential race, calling that Mr. Romney’s “greatest fantasy” in the race.
And Mr. Gingrich said that recent meetings he held with donors were meant to map out a plan to continue getting his message out despite Mr. Romney’s superior fund-raising.
“The entire establishment will be against us,” he predicted. But he said that by appearing on national television and doing interviews in newspapers, he will spread his agenda.
“The American people want somebody who is genuinely conservative, who is prepared to change Washington,” Mr. Gingrich said.
With a win in Florida under his belt, Mitt Romney is looking west to the caucus in Nevada tomorrow where the latest poll shows him leading his rivals for the Republican nomination by a large margin.
The poll, sponsored by the Las Vegas Review-Journal (LVRJ) and the local CBS affiliate, shows Romney taking 45% of the vote among likely caucus-goers, with a substantial amount of support coming from Mormons. Romney also performs well with “strong supporters” of the Tea Party movement, taking 27% of the important faction in the Republican base. Gingrich takes 37% of Tea Party voters.
Here is how the rest of the poll shakes out:
- Mitt Romney: 45%
- Newt Gingrich: 25%
- Rick Santorum: 11%
- Ron Paul: 9%
Gingrich’s numbers have fallen off since the last LVRJ poll, which was conducted just before Christmas. At that time Gingrich was down four points to Romney — inside the margin of error, so they were essentially tied — in a state where many observers didn’t expect much of contest. Fast-forward to today, Romney is enjoying his highest level of support in Nevada.
The poll is disappointing (and surprising) for Ron Paul, who largely skipped out on the primary in Florida to focus on caucus states. As you can see, Paul is set to finish last, despite being “deeply organized” in the state, according to the LVRJ. He finished second there in 2008, though the process was controversial.
It’s been a couple of weeks since our last round of the GOP Presidential Power Rankings. Rick Perry has dropped off dramatically, though his fundraising is very solid, and Herman Cain has risen substantiall in the polls. Mitt Romney’s support has remained steady, but that’s not exactly a promising sign. But we’ll get to that in a minute…