Paring (Pairing) Down Your Republican Options
In the past two weeks, I have put up a couple of posts assessing key Republican pairings in the three significant post-New Hampshire contests leading up to the large slate of primaries and caucuses on February 5th. With Mitt Romney besting John McCain in Michigan, and McCain subsequently topping Mike Huckabee in South Carolina, only the Florida Primary on January 29th remains of these initial pairings. In Florida, the possibility of a crucial match-up between Rudy Giuliani, who has largely staked his candidacy on winning there, and Mike Huckabee, who, with a strong finish in South Carolina, could be positioned to capitalize on his appeal to social conservatives, has been of particular interest to me.
But that scenario is now a bit more complicated than it once was. Giuliani and Huckabee are indeed locked in a struggle, but if you believe recent polling, theirs is a battle for third place, behind McCain and Romney. Having not received any real boost from his close loss to McCain in South Carolina, Huckabee is now scaling back his campaign operation in Florida. In the meantime, Giuliani continues to pay a hefty political price for his absence from virtually all of the earlier Republican contests, both in terms of his standing in national polls and his fundraising ability. So, Giuliani and Huckabee continue to be a pairing of interest in Florida, if only to better understand who may be the next Republican to drop out of the race.

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