Skip to comments.Giuliani tries for Hail Mary in Florida
Posted on 01/17/2008 7:39:33 AM PST by NormsRevenge
NEW YORK - Republican Rudy Giuliani challenged political convention in shrugging off early primaries while staking his presidential candidacy on delegate-rich, later-voting states, a strategy that could be a colossal failure or a masterful calculation.
The former New York mayor is suffering from money woes and hasn't won a single primary. Other Republicans have been gobbling up delegates and national media attention, but Giuliani has won one key bet he placed long ago: Even after the first few contests, there would no clear front-runner in the GOP field.
As his opponents spent time, money and energy battling in Iowa, New Hampshire, Michigan and beyond, Giuliani shifted his resources to Florida, where he hopes its winner-take-all Jan. 29 primary will hand him 57 delegates and catapult him overnight to the top of the race for the nomination. He has no delegates so far.
Mitt Romney, who won the Michigan primary Tuesday, leads the delegate race with 42, followed by Mike Huckabee with 32 and John McCain with 13. It takes 1,191 to win the nomination.
Giuliani did not always pin his hopes on Florida. Initially, his campaign plan was multi-pronged, until he decided to abandon efforts in early voting Iowa and New Hampshire. His strategists originally thought he had a good shot at winning an early state or two, and at one point he gained ground in New Hampshire spending a chunk of cash there and was also a leader in South Carolina polls.
But the strategy changed along the way and now rests entirely on Florida. As Giuliani put it to reporters this week in Pompano Beach, Fla., there's no time to second-guess whether it was the right way to go.
"You can't go back into the past," he said. "This is the strategy we chose; this is the one we're going to use. We believe in it; we believe it's going to work."
The next day, a new poll showed his Florida lead had evaporated, and nationwide surveys show he has slipped from the front-runner place he once held. Top campaign staffers are going without paychecks this month to use every dollar they can in the state.
Giuliani will be campaigning nearly every day in Florida until Jan. 29, while his opponents still have to get through contests in South Carolina and Nevada.
What could prove to be the demise of Giuliani's Florida strategy is momentum. The South Carolina winner and second-place finisher will come storming into Florida, forcing Giuliani to share a spotlight he has enjoyed all to himself.
And the 10 days between South Carolina and Nevada on Saturday and the Florida primary on Jan. 29 is the longest gap between votes since the nomination process began.
"It's like watching waves in a wave tank," said GOP pollster Tony Fabrizio. "Today we stand with three different guys winning in three different states heading into a blood bath in South Carolina, and one of them is going to pick up momentum out of it heading into Florida."
Florida's media market is so expensive that the candidates having blown much of their money on the first several primaries will be relying heavily on news coverage to get out their messages.
By camping out in Florida while they've been elsewhere, Giuliani has had the advantage of dominating headlines there. When early voting began on Monday, he was on a three-day bus tour through the state to rally supporters and remind crowds that they could vote for him before the other guys even arrived.
He revved up his audiences with red-state rhetoric about tax-and-spend Democrats, Sept. 11 references and jokes about Hillary Rodham Clinton. He took questions from voters at many stops but was rarely challenged by any questioners who seemed undecided. Many already appeared to be supporting him.
Nancy Baxter, a supporter who attended a packed rally at a seafood restaurant in Naples, Fla., said she was not concerned about Giuliani's losing his lead in polls.
"It's a wide-open race. I've never seen anything like it," she said. "He has just as much of a chance to turn it all around."
Some Giuliani supporters in Florida, however, are discouraged by the way the race is going, including Betty Nelson, a retired teacher from Bonita Springs, Fla., who was among the first to vote on Monday for Giuliani.
"I'm worried that he's not going to make it, but I hope he does because I believe in him," she said.
Giuliani's post-Florida plan counts on a victory propelling him to Feb. 5, when more than 20 states hold their contests. Giuliani has had wide leads in delegate-rich states voting that day, such as California, New York, New Jersey and Illinois, and he expected to capture smaller Connecticut and Delaware, too.
But his lead in those states also has disappeared, according to some polls.
The Giuliani Plan B holds that even where he doesn't win on Feb. 5, he could still come in second and win delegates. States in this category might include Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee. Most states award delegates proportionately; only a few including New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware and Missouri award delegates on a winner-take-all basis.
So far, however, it is Romney who has managed second-place finishes where he didn't win, and Romney's money and organization leave him well-positioned to steal this second-place play from Giuliani's playbook.
He's no Staubach.
Republican presidential hopeful and former New York City
Mayor Rudy Giuliani points to the sky during a speech to
retirees at the Shell Point Retirement Community Monday
afternoon Jan. 14, 2008, in Fort Myers, Fla.
(AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Giuliani’s Hail Mary pass flew out of bounds a long time ago.
Rooty needs to get the “Hail” out of the GOP race.
He can take McCain, the Huckster, and Ron Paul with him.
A Cuban-American supporter of US Republican presidential
candidate and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani
waves during a campaign rally at the Three Kings Day
Parade in Miami's Little Havana January 13, 2008.
If Florida allows rats to crossover vote in GOP primaries he may have a chance, if not he’s toast.
Giuliani’s campaign will be done within 2-3 weeks, easily.
Romney has 50-something delegates. That's it. He needs about 25 times that amount.
I'm not backing Rudy, but I'm not counting him out either. I'm not counting anyone out until after Super Tuesday. Rudy's strategy only has a chance of working if there is no clear frontrunner. Well, so far, there's no clear frontrunner. If Thompson wins SC, for example, we're have four different winners.
I’m not backing Rudy but I think his support is pretty strong. He will not be done no matter what happens in FL. He will pick up a ton of delegates on SuperTuesday. People confuse rooting and predicting.
Meanwhile there is a rumor that the FL Primary is January 29th. That is WRONG. The primary ENDS January 29th. It started in earnest on MONDAY.
I was told by my poll workers when I voted yesterday that by Tuesday (before the MI results) 30% of the voters in my county had voted.
This is driven by the Tax Initiative. What is amazing is the number of RINOs in FL that sit on City Councils and serve as County Commissions. Scary.
Everyone should keep in mind that after McCain, Fred Thompson does the best in head to head match-up polls against both Hillary and Obama.
Fred beats Giuliani, Huckabee, and Romney in the polls against the Democrats.
This should be out there more.
Rudy is a charmer, don;t count him out .. yet.
How many ads are you seeing down there?
Personally, I hope all the current crop of candidates stay in thru Feb 5th, Super Tuesday and then let the dust settle..
Super Bowl is the 3rd.. the bulk of the states primaries kick off on the 5th..
A brokered convention is not where we want to end up.. but..
Then McCain will rush three and drop eight into deep zone coverage.
Meanwhile voting is tailing off. I think we are pretty much done voting. Nobody wants to wait until 29th from the way it looks. I think it is too late to campaign.
Florida has been voting since Monday. When I voted early yesterday the poll workers told me 30% of the voters had voted already. We have a big tax thing down here on the ballot. It is WAR.
Unless Rudy collapses (meaning he looses NY,NJ, and CA) or Romney crushes (wins those) I do not see this getting settled until the convention.
I like Fred but his odds look pretty long to me.
Guiliani and McCain will both be finished soon. Romney’s got the Mojo and I predict he will win South Carolina and Florida.
Uh, I don’t think even Romney himself thinks he will win SC. He is gone to NV already. McCain will take SC. It’s a hugh military state with lots of old Vets. That alone will win it for him.
Never underestimate the power of a Hail Mary no matter where you are.
But furthermore, Giuliani would be a very good and effective President.
If the Democrats nominate Obama for President, defeating him will be difficult. It will be necessary for the Republicans to nominate a Southerner for Vice President, and either Huckabee or Thompson would do. I DEFINITELY prefer Thompson but will support anyone the Republicans nominate.
Either a Giuliani/Thompson ticket, which I strongly prefer, or a Giuliani/Huckabee ticket, which may be a bit more effective politically, would probably defeat the Democrats.
If the Democrats nominate Hillary for President, it will not be necessary to place a Southerner on the Repub. ticket; the South will vote solidly Republican. In that case, Romney would be the best Repub. Vice Pres. nominee.
In fact, if defeating the Democrats were not a problem, Romney would be my first choice for the Presidential nomination.
A Giuliani/Romney ticket would be good for the U.S.
A Romney/Giuliani ticket would be even better but would be less effective in defeating the Democrats.
I can't possibly see Rudy as a Number Two.
(numerous scatological jokes aside)