Another question about the 2006 election results is: Who survived and lost and what effect does it have on 2008?
Note that The Fix is back up with Presidential rankings… We think that he is too high on Huckabee.
A big one that people have talked about a lot is Tim Pawlenty from Minnesota. There is public and, even stronger, private evidence that he is strongly in bed with McCain. RCP mentioned this. As one of our few remaining Midwestern governors (IN’s Mitch Daniels — also for McCain, SD’s Rounds, MO’s Blunt — note that there has been speculation about his links with Romney, and NE’s Heinneman — probably not for McCain, given his last minute endorsement of Osbourne in the primary…), in an important swing state, and soon-to-be President of the RGA, Pawlenty will have a national network and influence to wage battle for McCain. (other governors who are openly or probably for McCain: UT’s Huntsman, AL’s Riley, and SC’s Sanford)
McCain has also been everywhere and talked to everyone. A lot of people don’t like him, but he’s gathered chits. Will it matter? Some. Enough? To be determined.
Giuliani also did well. He followed the McCain strategy of fighting hard to keep people in office. I still believe that without more organizational support, though, he will struggle for a strong candidacy. Look for celebrity hires here.
Romney, as head of the RGA, had a bad night. He cannot be blamed for that in most cases. But evidence supports the theory that he was allied with Nussle in IA and a DeVos victory in MI would have given Saul Anuzi an important defense in the fight to overthrow him. Romney’s presence in IA is still very impressive (I was there for a week and all I can say is “wow”). However, I think that he was damaged in NH. The people in NH, especially more populous southern NH, are conscious of the thumping that Healey got. One pro-Romney activist in NH told me about Romney, “I don’t know whether Kerry Healey’s devastating loss is going to put a nail in his coffin”. Eyeopener makes a similar argument.
Another winner is, of course, Newt. Newt is a compelling speaker. Newt has high name ID. He does not do well in the polls right now, but do people think he is running? His book tours, touting by Human Events, podcasts, etc. all give him an unorthodox campaign that could get some real wheels. A lot of people are talking about this possibility. I admit, I like Newt the thinker, but Newt the President? Or, perhaps even worse, Newt the Candidate?