A couple of weeks ago, there was a theory floating around, perhaps started by Jonathan Martin at NRO and a couple of others, that Rudy Giuliani might not contest Iowa or New Hampshire. Now, since then, we have heard that Rudy is, indeed, staffing up in Iowa and New Hampshire. But does that make him a real candidate who could compete nationwide?

Here’s another theory. I’m not going to stand by it, but it is an option. Perhaps Rudy can’t break out of the Northeast plus West Coast. If Rudy is on the ballot in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, he almost certainly wins those primaries. New York and Connecticut are varieties of winner-take-all. That is, if you get the most votes, you get all the delegates (NY had 102 and CT 30 in 2004). Throw in Pennsylvania (75 delegates) and Maryland (39), whose soon-to-be-former Governor seems to like Rudy. The upshot is that Rudy, even in the worst case, could probably come into the convention with 200 or more delegates.

Now that’s not enough to win. But those votes come out of someone’s hide. Could he deny someone (say McCain?) enough votes to win the nomination outright? Then he could cut a deal (say, with Romney) to be Vice President. And as a candidate for Vice President, his suspected baggage can’t really damage him, or the ticket, much. And it sets him up to be President, if he has just a little bit more patience.

For this strategy to work, Giuliani would be a third candidate who would deprive the first-tier candidate of a majority, while the second-tier candidate fights on and comes a relatively close second. Sounds plausible in this environment.

Categories: Strategy

6 Comments

governmentissue · December 26, 2006 at 9:52 PM

Giuliani is an all or nothing candidate. He is not going to be anyones VP because of his support of Abortion and Gay Rights. As a VP to a more pro life, anti gay Republican candidate, he would hurt more than help. The “Base” does not want a VP that could help tip the scales towards the pro choice, tolerant wing of the party. It has been 23 years since Roe V Wade and as each year passes, more Americans get used to the idea of abortion being legal. Gay people across the nation are coming out in greater numbers, at a young age and are living much more open and normal lives. Giuliani as a Republican VP would further normalize these positions.

Giuliani will only make it to the White House as President. Many independents and Democrats could vote for him. But the primaries choose the party candidates and with his liberal social views, he probably won’t get far in the South, the ideological home of the GOP.

Grant · December 30, 2006 at 1:50 PM

McCain has stabbed Bush and the Republicans in the back for 6 years. Conservatives would rather have Giuliani than McCain. Look at the polls for verification.

The Right’s Field » Blog Archive » Republican Electoral Math · December 27, 2006 at 8:20 PM

[…] This post by Soren Dayton is really a nice primer on the Republican road to the nomination. Every candidate running for president war games out the primary process, building their case out of their home region. Giuliani certainly has regional  strength in the North East and could easily win New Hampshire as a way to build the buzz for later states. I’m still not sure how a Republican candidate not named McCain can make it past the early February wall of states. […]

eyeon08.com » More buzz on Huckabee · January 3, 2007 at 8:34 AM

[…] First, the conventional wisdom is that there are three tickets out of Iowa. If Huckabee takes one, and McCain takes the other (being the front-runner with a good organization — Krusty points out that McCain is the only candidate with a strong social conservative organizer on staff — and acceptable credentials on most of the important issues) then that leaves only one remaining between Romney and Giuliani. Romney has the staff edge, but there are difficulties for him on the horizon, especially if he continues to get bashed from the right, although the vote in the legislature was a win for Romney. And I still don’t really know how to think of a Giuliani candidacy outside of the Northeast. As a hero, he changes the dynamic, but it really is too early to figure out how. […]

eyeon08.com » Does Rudy® have cold feet? · January 7, 2007 at 7:04 PM

[…] I still think that there’s room for an alternative strategy for Rudy, even without the organization, and it would explain Rudy’s hiring practices. […]

eyeon08.com » More on the Rudy strategy · February 7, 2007 at 3:03 PM

[…] I have, for a long time, wondered what the Rudy strategy was. At one point I speculated that he was just a regional candidate. I think I was wrong. […]

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