February 02, 2012

Donald Trump might endorse Newt Gingrich. Does it matter?

Reports that Donald Trump will run for president with his hair as running mate are untrue. But he (Trump, not his hair) might endorse Newt Gingrich. If it's anything like the Herman Cain endorsement, which preceded Gingrich's 14-point drubbing in Florida (a state where Cain was a frontrunner until sex-scandals rendered his campaign impotent), Gingrich probably won't receive much benefit. After all, it's tough to bash "elites" and get the endorsement of a man who trademarks elitism.

The Hill:

Reality show host Donald Trump is set to endorse Newt Gingrich Thursday in Las Vegas, according to a report by the Associated Press....

Gingrich was coy when asked about the possibility Wednesday, saying he had  “no idea what the Donald is going to do.”

He is always interesting,” Gingrich said of Trump. “And I don’t know of anybody who does a better job of getting attention by announcing that he will presently announce something.”


February 01, 2012

Newt Gingrich might challenge Florida's delegates after all

When we first reported last week that Republicans tied to losing Florida campaigns might challenge the state's presidential primary delegate system, Newt Gingrich's campaign looked like it wouldn't bother because the candidate was doing so well.

Then Tuesday happened. Gingrich was crushed by 14 percentage points. Viola, FOX reports:

The Newt Gingrich campaign is gearing up to challenge the results of the Florida Republican presidential primary based on the Republican National Committee's own rules which state that no contest can be winner-take-all prior to April 1, 2012. (See RNC memo.)

It was assumed that Mitt Romney, who won Tuesday's contest, would gain all 50 of the state's delegates. But the Gingrich campaign plans to challenge Florida's allocation and demand the delegates be divvied up proportionally. (See Gingrich memo.)

Fox News has learned exclusively that on Thursday, a Florida Gingrich campaign official will begin the process of trying to have the RNC rules enforced so that the Sunshine State delegates are distributed based on the percentage of the vote each candidate got.

Politico has an RNC memo the suggests Florida has received its maximum penalty:

"With regard to proportionality, the RNC does not have the authority to intervene in a state’s primary plans beyond the imposition of the Rule 16 penalties.  A contest procedure exists for challenges to a state’s delegation or delegates.  The RNC cannot consider any issue regarding Florida’s delegation unless and until a proper contest is brought.  If a contest is properly and timely filed, the Committee on Contests and the RNC will have the opportunity to hear the contest and determine if there are any further steps to be taken beyond the penalties that have already been imposed."

 **Update: RNC Chair Reince Priebus suggested on Greta Van Susteren's show that Gingrich's challenge won't pass muster.


To say Mitt Romney had a big win Tuesday night was an understatement. Exit polls show he carried every major demographic category: women, Hispanics and seniors. Among evangelicals, conservatives and tea party voters he essentially tied Gingrich, who won among those who considered themselves most conservative.

The dark spot for Romney: Deep South voters of North Florida (plus the cracker counties of Hendry, Glades and Okeechobee counties) sided with Gingrich, albeit narrowly

A few bullet points, which exclude Ron Paul and Rick Santorum, who didn’t win any counties:

Percentage split: 46% Romney, 32% Gingrich

Total Romney votes: 774,942 (73,181 more than McCain in ’08)**

Total Gingrich votes: 533,038

Romney’s lead: 241,904

Total Romney counties: 33

Total Gingrich counties: 34

Biggest Gingrich county: Santa Rosa.

Santa Rosa’s stats: Gingrich by 1,780 votes, 41%-33% over Romney

Biggest Romney county: Miami-Dade

Miami-Dade’s stats: Romney by 39,259 votes, 61%-27% over Gingrich.

Significance of Miami-Dade: More than double Gingrich’s entire victory margin in 34 counties.
Counties where Romney carried a majority: Palm Beach, Collier, Sumter, Indian River, Sarasota, and Martin.

Continue reading "Newt-ered" »

January 31, 2012

Case closed: Mitt Romney routs Newt Gingrich, shows he can run nationwide

Case closed.

Mitt Romney’s lopsided Florida victory over Newt Gingrich proved the Republican front-runner can win conservatives, triumph in debates and fight a bruising campaign that can lay an opponent to waste.

Romney’s Florida win also showed Republicans he can run the kind of national campaign that can defeat President Obama in November.

"Doing well in Florida,” Romney said Tuesday, “is a pretty good indication of your prospects nationally."

That’s because Florida is more like the nation than any of the other three early states.

North Florida is the Deep South. Southwest Florida is like the Midwest. Latin America meets New York in Southeast Florida. And it all mixes together along the I-4 corridor from Tampa Bay through Central Florida.

Romney walloped Gingrich in South Florida and among Hispanics statewide, exit polls showed. He won the state’s crucial senior vote, and carried women voters by a big margin. Romney also fought Gingrich to a statistical tie with conservative, evangelical and tea party voters.

Early results indicated he tied Gingrich in North Florida, but was handily winning everywhere else.

“Florida is the nation’s reflecting pool,” said Alex Castellanos, a Republican consultant who worked for Romney in 2008 and George W. Bush in 2004. “It is what New York and Ellis Island used to be, the gateway to the country’s future.”

Before the first ballot was even cast on Election Day, Romney had a cushion of early votes that could have exceeded 60,000. While the other campaigns were silent in early January, Romney advertised on radio and television and aggressively called and mailed early voters, who cast more than 632,000 ballots.

With the big results in from Florida, Castellanos said, the Republican race is almost history, though Gingrich has vowed to fight all the way to the national convention in Tampa this summer.

“This race won’t end tonight, but it will be over,” Castellanos said. “Romney will have done something no other non-incumbent Republican candidate has ever done: He really only lost 1 of the first 4 contests. That’s remarkable.”

Full story here

Yahoo News!: Newt Gingrich goon squad assaults Ron Paul supporter

Ron Paul's campaign is demanding an apology for a what looks like an assault, according to a  report filed by Yahoo! News concerning a physical attack on Ron Paul supporter Eddie Dillard in Windermere:

Dillard, a 29-year-old Ron Paul supporter from this suburb near Orlando, arrived to vote at his precinct at Winderemere Baptist Church early Tuesday morning. Pulling into the parking lot, Dillard noticed a man outside the polling place with a Gingrich sign. He decided to run home, slip into his "Ron Paul Rocks America" T-shirt, grab a "Ron Paul 2012" sign from his garage, and return to give his candidate some representation outside the precinct after he cast his vote....

One of Gingrich's security agents stepped in front of him. When Dillard didn't budge, the agent lifted his heeled shoe over Dillard's bare foot and dug the back of it into his skin, twisting it side-to-side like he was stomping out a cigarette. Shocked, Dillard kept his ground and took a picture of the agent with his phone, which was quickly knocked out of his hand. Dillard slipped off his flip-flop to pick up the phone with his foot, and a Gingrich supporter kicked the sandal away.

"Don't kick me!" Dillard said to the man who knocked away his sandal. More members of Gingrich's security retinue approached, shoving their shoulders and chests in front of him.

"Just block him!" a Gingrich campaign aide said. "Everyone step on his toes!"

Jews unite! Newt Gingrich kicks Mitt Romney right in the kishkes over kosher food veto

Kosher food articleThe campaign of Newt Gingrich is robo-calling to bashing Mitt Romney for his veto of kosher nursing-home money in 2003.

This can only help Democrats, to the degree it's effective at all. No one's really sure how many Jewish voters there are, and it's a given that there are 1) few of them and 2) even fewer Republican Jews. And of those who will vote, it's a good bet to think this won't sway them too much.

Anyway, here's the alleged robo-call, according to the Huffington Post:**

As governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney vetoed a bill paying for kosher food for our seniors in nursing homes. Holocaust survivors, who for the first time, were forced to eat non-kosher, because Romney thought $5 was too much to pay for our grandparents to eat kosher. Where is Mitt Romney's compassion for our seniors? Tuesday you can end Mitt Romney's hypocrisy on religious freedom, with a vote for Newt Gingrich. Paid for by Newt 2012.

Asked in Celebration today if he approved this, Gingrich wouldn't answer a reporter.

This was his last scheduled stop before awaiting returns in Orlando. He visited with a small crowd of residents on the manicured lawn outside the picture-perfect Heritage Hall. Ron Paul signs seemed to outnumber Gingrich signs, though a few were sporting Gingrich stickers.

He told one woman, "I need your help."

Spokesman RC Hammond told reporters that Gingrich intends to keep competing, across the board.

"The medias' picked front runner hasn't broken 50 percent yet," he said. "That leaves a lot of math out there for the conservative side of the party to pick up, which is how we'll stay competitive in the nomination. Which is why it will last late into the spring. because we will continue to bring in delegates, we will continue to bring in large amounts of support. As long as the tea party supporters keep coming our way, we're going to be able to do very well."

He also said of the campaign's FEC report -- says $5 million was raised from $250 contributors -- "We are a campaign of small donor donations," he said.

**incidentally, "kishkes" is yiddish and translates as guts.

Florida election update: voters thinking economy as they cast ballots. Romney likely ahead

Election Day has arrived in South Florida, and Republican voters are headed to the polls with two issues weighing heavily on their minds: the economy, and who has the greatest chance to defeat Barack Obama in the November presidential elections.

Candidates Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum are on the Republican primary ballot, though the election in Florida is expected to be a two-man race between Romney and Gingrich, with Romney ahead due to a weeks-long push for absentee and early votes.

Before the first Election Day ballot was cast, Mitt Romney already had a likely lead, perhaps 60,000 or higher thanks to early voting, as we discussed in this story here.

This morning, Public Policy Polling found Romney well ahead and leading early votes 45-32 over Gingrich. American Research Group found similar results, but a 51-29 Romney edge in early votes.

Still, people are still heading to the polls in Miami.

At the Belen Jesuit campus in West Miami-Dade, a Republican stronghold with about three times more registered Republicans than Democrats, Roger Cardenas, 41, voted for Romney.

“I don’t know if he can do everything he says he’ll do but he’s the only guy who can run against Obama,” said Cardenas, an electrician who came to South Florida from Cuba.

Rene Viera, a 64-year-old Westchester Realtor, said he voted for Gingrich because of the economy.

“The economy will be the hot topic,” he said. “The second issue will be, where is this country headed? The Obama administration wants to take us down the path to socialism and I think people will want off that bus.”

More here

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/01/31/2616747/election-day-is-here-may-head.html#storylink=cpy

In last pitches to Hispanics, Mitt Romney's 'conviction' and Newt Gingrich's 'iron fist'

In a final bid to court Hispanic voters, the Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney campaigns dominated the Spanish-language talk show airwaves Tuesday morning during drive time. Their messages were similar: Vote for the candidate most likely to beat President Barack Obama.

Some of the ads were attacks -- Romney mocking Gingrich for the ties to former President Ronald Reagan that Gingrich plays up, a super PAC backing Gingrich saying Romney is not really pro-life. But some of the ads were positive, too. For a taste, click after the jump.

Continue reading "In last pitches to Hispanics, Mitt Romney's 'conviction' and Newt Gingrich's 'iron fist'" »

January 30, 2012

Early Florida vote could doom Newt Gingrich by... 60,000? 40,000? More? Less?

Whether it’s 5, 7, 11 or 14 percentage points, all the major polls agree: Newt Gingrich should lose Election Day in Florida.

But Florida doesn’t have just one Election Day. It has a month’s worth of them because voters can cast absentee ballots by mail or go to special early-voting precincts for a 10-day stretch that ended Saturday.

At least 632,000 Republicans have already cast ballots.

So Gingrich could be losing by as many as 60,000 votes before the polls even open Tuesday, according to an analysis of early-voter surveys and the averages of all the major statewide polls applied to the pool of already cast ballots.

“I think Gingrich could be losing more to Mitt Romney — like 75,000ish,” said Randy Nielsen, a top Florida political consultant for the Republican Party of Florida who’s not affiliated with any presidential candidate.

“This election isn’t going to be pretty for Newt Gingrich,” Nielsen said. “He didn’t have a program to get early and absentee votes, and Gingrich is losing to Mitt Romney in every region except for North Florida. But he’s not winning there enough to make up the difference.”

The actual number of early ballots won by the candidates won't become known until after Election Day.

And Gingrich could be doing much better if his campaign somehow managed to get voters to flock to early-voting precincts and cast absentee ballots in numbers that well exceed the average estimates of nearly 30 scientific surveys that have a 4 percent error margin. Factor that in, and Gingrich could trail Romney by about 42,000 votes.

When absentee-ballot voting began at the beginning of the year, only Romney aggressively courted early voters. For more than a month, his campaign has called and mailed voters and reached them on Spanish- and English-language television and radio.

Gingrich was late in contacting voters, advertising in Florida and campaigning here, relative to Romney.

Still, the advertising has been so heavy on Miami’s Spanish-language airwaves that a WQBA-AM (1140) host apologized to readers that some shows had been cut short to accommodate all the political spots. Up to 2 million Republicans could vote in this election.

Full story here

Florida GOP consultant poll: Romney over Gingrich by 10

Sure, there have been loads of polls today. This one, a robo-poll of 831 Republicans, carries a little more weight because it's conducted by Randy Nielsen of Public Concepts in West Palm Beach and Pat Bainter of Data Targeting in Gainesville.

Between the two of them, they're probably responsible for helping elect or advise nearly every major Republican in the Legislature. Both are Republican Party of Florida consultants. The results:

Mitt Romney: 40%

Newt Gingrich: 30%

Rick Santorum: 16%

Ron Paul: 8%

Unsure 7%

Nielsen said an intriguing aspect of the poll are the regional breakdowns. Note the North Florida numbers, which help show why Romney spent a little more time there recently.

North/Panhandle: Gingrich (35), Romney (27)

Orlando/Space Coast: Gingrich (30), Romney (44)

South: Gingrich (28), Romney (44)

Tampa Bay: Gingrich (31), Romney (38)


For those who care, South Florida is outside the error margin for the regional subsample.