By Daniel Kay
Romney’s home court advantage proved to be a valuable “firewall” in his GOP bid for the nomination. Though the media gave him little credit for the win or national hype, the win was decisive, gaining support from every GOP demographic. Surprisingly, he won more votes from evangelicals than even Huckabee. Importantly, Romney won 24 of the 30 delegates in Michigan. This brings his delegate count to 54; that is, 39 delegates more than McCain and 32 more than Huckabee. While McCain, and Huckabee fight it out for 1st and 2nd in South Carolina to win a portion of the 24 delegates up for grabs there, Romney is focusing on Nevada to widen an already wide lead over his opponents in the state which has 34 delegates. While Romney will miss out on the hype in South Carolina, he will win the most delegates over the weekend. I am sure it will be reminiscent of McCain’s only win (New Hampshire) where he won 7 whole delegates and received national acclaim while Romney won Wyoming and gained 8 delegates – both unreported by the media.
The question is which strategy will impact Super Tuesday, McCain’s hype or Romney’s consistently strong showing state-to-state and ability to win delegates? Should Romney have tried to battle it out in South Carolina where he could potentially win some hype but could also lose momentum, or was he right to skip SC and go to Nevada where there are more delegates but less hype? If there is any logic to this race I think he did the right thing, winning delegates should matter more than winning hype. After Saturday, Florida will have a chance to decide. Where South Carolina once was viewed as the gateway to the GOP nomination, Florida may be so this year with 57 winner-take-all delegates before the Super Duper Tuesday. Already Romney is playing down his chances in SC, predicting even fourth is possible, even though he is statistically tied for second with Huckabee in an opinion poll released today. A big win in Nevada for Romney and a big win in SC for McCain will set a very nice stage in Florida for the first winner-take-all delegates contest. There is a four way tie in Florida currently but we will soon see if the hype pays off for McCain or if the consistency of Romney will win the day.