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South Carolina: The Stakes

Regarding Saturday's crucial GOP primary in South Carolina:


If McCain wins then it stands to reason he'll win Florida too. South Carolina's and Florida's GOP primary bases have much in common, e.g., retired military, military wives, retired business owners.

If McCain wins S.C. and Florida then not only would he be the obvious leader going into Super Tuesday but the "inevitability factor" might start kicking into high gear.


If Huckabee wins South Carolina then he's got a legitimate chance to win Florida. In that event he'll obviously be a major player on Super Tuesday and perhaps beyond.


Romney never needed to win South Carolina. But a 3rd-place showing would bode ill for his chances in Florida and thus for Super Tuesday.


Thompson's campaign was for all practical purposes over the very instant Iowa announced its results. Anything less than a strong 2nd in South Carolina and presumably he'll make it official by withdrawing from the race.


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Comments (11)

Not so sure that SC = FL. ... (Below threshold)
molon labe:

Not so sure that SC = FL. There are some significant demographic differences between those states.

I don't get it - why should... (Below threshold)
Richie Rich:

I don't get it - why should Iowa and NH , and now SC - carry more weight than Michigan, Wyoming and Nevada?

Romney will win Nevada on Sat, which carries MORE delegates than SC. Yes, I understand that the media focuses on what they want to focus on. They want McCain and/or Huckabee.

I just can't understand why conservative websites buy into what the media is selling. (i.e. I think Wizbang has erroneously reported several times that there have only been 3 primaries/caucuses so far).

Please get your facts straight - you should be held to a higher standard than the MSM.

I agree with your assessmen... (Below threshold)
Alan Orfi:

I agree with your assessment with one exception. I think a McCain victory on Saturday would immensely improve Giuliani's chances of taking Florida a week later. This party simply CANNOT nominate McCain and he will be destroyed in the conservative media should he win SC. Rudy stands as the darling-of-the-moment if he is the final obstacle to a McCain nomination.

I do think SC will serve as elimination rounds for several candidates:

A loss by Huckabee will end his chance of the nomination. If he cannot win with this near-perfect electorate, he will not win many states on Super Tuesday despite his national lead.

A loss by McCain really kills his waning momentum and there are very few Super Tuesday states in his favor.

Like Huckabee, South Carolina is an ideal state for Fred Thompson and he will not gain any traction on the national scale with a third-place finish. I agree his days are very limited.

Romney can afford to lose on Saturday and it really does not matter where he finishes because his victory in Nevada will leave him as the leader in delegates by a significant margin. Romney will be around for a long time.

McCain WON'T win SC. ... (Below threshold)
Dave W:

McCain WON'T win SC.

He couldn't pull off Michigan. A state he won handily in 2000. Lets not forget about the immigration debacle. His buddy Lindsey Grahamnesty is from SC, and the people there were supposedly livid over what was going on with the illegal immigration situation. Unless memories are extremely short in SC, McCain WILL NOT win in SC.

The Huckster? The Huckaboom is over. The man has officially just changed his stance on Illegal immigration again and he raises hope, not taxes. Oh wait. He raises those too and calls it hope. Last i checked there wasn't a column for hope on my paystub.

Romney... I'm sick of this standard being applied to only Romney. "He needs to win x state or he's done!" Romney is in a better position than any other candidate right now.

Thompson. It's possible he gets his campaign a jump start with a win or a good 2nd in SC. It's a long shot, but I think thats what Fred and his supporters are banking on.

"Thompsons campaign was ... (Below threshold)

"Thompsons campaign was for all intents and purposes over the very instant Iowa announced its results. anything less then a strong 2nd in South Carolina and presumably he'll make it official by withdrawing from the race."

Presumption is the Mother of all f... ups!

The way these primaries are... (Below threshold)
Dave W:

The way these primaries are set up, it would be stupid to pull out before super tuesday unless you are Ron Paul. But if you were Ron Paul, you still have to watch out for the robots from the future coming to kill you, and your name is John Connor. The robot trying to protect you looks strangely like Arnold Swarzenegger....

Do you guys still call them... (Below threshold)
NoeValleyJim Author Profile Page:

Do you guys still call them Freedom Fries? Cause I'm not voting for anyone who still calls them Freedom Fries...

I'll get into this more tom... (Below threshold)

I'll get into this more tomorrow when I make my pick for the primary. Until then, I can say that

***We interrupt this comment to bring you a special seance moment - when spooks break out, we break in***

I'm channeling the Ghost of Jay Tea Past now . . . "Hey! Why ask the guy who actually LIVES in the state?" . . .

***We now return you to the regular comment, already in progress***

McCain most certainly does have a chance of winning here. If it were a two-man field with him and almost any other of the top five, he probably couldn't win - his 43% in 2000 was buttressed by strong support from independents and Democrats (who had no serious contest that cycle). But if 25% is enough to win, McCain could do it. He's a poor fit for the state other than his military record and strong defense positions, but he could score a quarter. After losing Michigan, he needs a win badly.

I think Alan Orfi's analysis in #3 above hits close to the mark, except I don't think Fred or anyone else gets out after South Carolina. Florida is only a couple days later, so why not just wait and see? While Thompson and Huckabee in particular wouldn't have much chance Super Tuesday without a win in either SC or FL, no one has the money to advertise in all those expensive markets (well, Romney could spend his own money, but he probably won't). So even the 3-4-5 guys will likely still have some delegates . . .

One last word on SC: in the recent polls (within the last 5 days), 31% - 48% of likely GOP voters say they could still change their minds.

No surprise that the confed... (Below threshold)
nogo war:

No surprise that the confederate flag issue is being used against McCain.

Bringing up the flag issue ... (Below threshold)

Bringing up the flag issue is a loser here. We reached a compromise in 2000 - among South Carolinians. Since then it hasn't been the source of discord it once was, and we don't intend to allow anyone's political interests to stir things up.

McCain isn't going to be hurt by reminding anyone of his statements back then. Those who care about it wouldn't vote for him anyway, and those who did and will vote for him already took it all into consideration.

Hey Jason Javitz,W... (Below threshold)

Hey Jason Javitz,

What about Nevada? The last I checked Nevada was a state and had a few delegates.

Romney should win Nevada. If McCain holds on in SC he will be torn apart by the time they hit Florida. It is a three-way race (Guiliani, McCain and Romney) in Florida.

Romney is still the front-runner. Fred Thompson is finished.






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