Tag Archives: iowa caucuses

2012 New Hampshire Primary

The Importance Of The 2012 New Hampshire Primary

Although the New Hampshire Primary is scheduled to be held on the second Tuesday in March, it hasn’t been held in March since back in the ’70s. New Hampshire is proud to hold the first Presidential Primary Election every four years. By state law, the New Hampshire Secretary of State has the authority to schedule the primary as early as is needed to ensure it will be the “first in the nation.”

Occurring one week after the Iowa Caucuses, the New Hampshire primary is considered to be another important litmus test that can make or break a candidate. Like Iowa, winning isn’t everything, and outperforming expectations are a better gauge of success. In the modern era, it is almost as common for the New Hampshire second place finisher to go on to be their party’s nominee as it is for the winner.

At times, this process can seem silly. In New Hampshire this year, Mitt Romney won the Primary and declared victory. Ron Paul took second place, and then declared victory. Jon Huntsman got third and also declared victory. The only people not declaring victory were claiming either, “I didn’t campaign in New Hampshire so it doesn’t matter,” or “This result won’t make me drop out of the race.”

So the Republican Primary after New Hampshire has the same plotline; Governor Mitt Romney is the front-runner, and the rest of the candidates are competing to see if anyone of them can rise up out of the pack to be the sole contender against him. Their problem is that they are already running out of time.

Rick Santorum barely missed winning in Iowa by eight votes and seemed poised to be that main contender. One week later in New Hampshire, he finished in fifth place. The talk-show pundits barely mentioned him in the post-primary analysis. It is a good example of how these early primaries can build you up and then break your heart.

Romney’s win is impressive because he is the first non-incumbent Republican to win both Iowa and New Hampshire.

Next up in the process is the South Carolina Primary on January 21 and then the Florida Primary on January 31. If Romney wins South Carolina, he will pretty much be unstoppable. The race for second place is meaningless, and then there is even more good news for Romney. If he does well in South Carolina and Florida, the series of primaries that follow in February are Maine, Nevada, Colorado, Minnesota, Arizona and Michigan. Of those six, Romney won five of them in 2008, only losing to John McCain in Arizona, McCain’s home state.

The real story to keep watching is the “nasty” factor. Newt Gingrich has been very vocal about the attacks that have come at him from Romney and his supporters. There are some very hard feelings between these two, and Gingrich is vowing to fight. He is reported to have 3.5 million dollars to invest in the South Carolina Primary and is expected to spend a good chunk of it going after Romney. The Republican attacks on each other could be extremely harmful for the eventual nominee. The mud they sling at each other doesn’t go away and is being seen by the president and his campaign team. It has happened before. In 1988, republican nominee George Bush Sr. defeated democrat nominee Michael Dukakis. A work furlough program that Dukakis supported as Governor was the most incriminating attack against him and inspired the infamous Willie Horton television ads. This issue was originally raised by then candidate Al Gore in the Democratic Primaries. The Republicans remembered the issue and used it to their advantage.

The Republican contest hasn’t changed much in the last twelve months, but the hopes are fading for an anti-Romney candidate to rise up and unify the far-right.

2012 New Hampshire Primary Results:

Mitt Romney 97,043 39.3%
Ron Paul 56,403 22.8%
Jon Huntsman 41,669 16.9%
Newt Gingrich 23,271 9.4%
Rick Santorum 23,118 9.4%
Rick Perry 1,752 0.7%
Michele Bachmann 349 0.1%
Other 3,238 1.3%

For more information about the New Hampshire Primary, visit 2012newhampshireprimary.com.

Mitt Romney, Iowa Caucus

Mitt Romney Wins Iowa Caucus, Rick Santorum Close Behind

Last year was a busy year for the Republican candidates for president; it seemed as if they had a thousand debates. There was all the talk about who was running and who wasn’t. Polls began showing Governor Mitt Romney as the front runner, and then a series of other candidates rose up to Romney’s level only to eventually fall back ― with the last of those surging candidates has been Senator Rick Santorum. Despite all of this, the start of the presidential race didn’t officially occur until the January 3rd Iowa Causus.

The Iowa caucas started in 1972 when the Iowa Democratic Party moved its caucus to be the first in the nation. That year, George McGovern performed better than expected. Although he finished second in those caucases behind Edmund Muskie, the momentum slung him forward, and he went on to gain his party’s nomination. Four years later, in 1976, the Republican Party moved its caucus to the same date as the Democrats to join in the prominence that Iowa had gained. Candidates and media alike now view Iowa as the first real test of the presidential campaign.

This year’s caucus was extremely close with Romney barely winning. He finished eight votes ahead of Santorum with 122,255 voters having turned out. Unlike most elections where the winner is the person with the most votes, Iowa is more about expectations. Finishing first is less important than what people will read into it. Both Romney and Santorum finished strong and met or exceeded expectations.

Santorum worked hard and earned it. He personally visited all 99 counties in Iowa, and it paid off. This close second place finish has the media talking as much about him as the winner.  Romney put less effort into Iowa this year, but still carried a lot support from four years ago when he ran for president and finished second in Iowa. Both candidates will receive massive media attention going into New Hampshire where Romney is expected to win easy. Having been the governor of Massachusetts and owning a home in New Hampshire, Romney has “home court advantage.”

Newt Gingrich finished fourth but faced heavy negative attacks along the way. After New Hampshire’s primary, the next primaries shift into the South where Gingrich is expected to be his strongest. He didn’t show well but can explain it away. Fourth place is where John McCain finished in these caucases four years ago before he went on to win the nomination. Expect Gingrich to stay in this race for awhile and also expect the negative campaigning to continue to attack him. He will throw a few elbows of his own.

Congressman Ron Paul showed very well finishing in third place but is still being questioned as a candidate that a majority of Republicans nationwide will support. Governor Rick Perry is rethinking his campaign after finishing in fifth place, and it is hard to see anything but disappointment with his showing. Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, who is a native of Iowa, finished in last place of the candidates who campaigned in Iowa. Governor John Huntsman did not put any effort into Iowa opting to go straight to New Hampshire.

So the final outcome of this year’s Iowa caucus is that we are back to where we were before they happened. Mitt Romney is at the front of the pack running neck and neck with Rick Santorum, who is the conservative alternative to Romney. If anything became clear, Iowa has probably knocked a candidate or two off of the bottom of the list, but it is still wide open for the top three or four candidates.

January 10th is the New Hampshire primary. Expect it to be an eventful week.

Iowa Caucus Results:

Mitt Romney 30,015 24.6%
Rick Santorum 30,007 24.5%
Ron Paul 26,219 21.4%
Newt Gingrich 16,251 13.3%
Rick Perry 12,604 10.3%
Michele Bachmann 6,073 5%
Jon Huntsman 745 0.6%
Herman Cain 58 0%
Buddy Roemer 31 0%
No Preference 135 0.1%
Other 117 117 0.1%