New Hamphshire 2012–What does it Mean?

So what did we learn about the Republican race after the New Hampshire voting? Does New Hampshire even really matter to Republicans?

Regarding the importance of New Hampshire–one could argue it either way. Even with victories there and in Iowa, Mitt Romney has still earned less that 5% of the Republican delegates available–there is still a lot of time left for somebody to make a move. Also, Republican candidates for President haven’t won New Hampshire in the general election since 1988. It is safe to say their candidate probably won’t win in 2012, so any guy who wins over those voters now doesn’t necessarily reflect the choice of Republican voters across the country.

On the other hand, there is an inertia that comes with winning. Romney is 2-0. Ron Paul is the only other candidate to even finish in the top 3 in both states. Victories bring credibility, media attention, endorsements, and financial support.

So where do the candidates stand?

Mitt Romney: Again, he’s 2-0.  Winning breeds a sense of inevitability.

Ron Paul: He finished 2nd in New Hampshire after finishing 3rd in Iowa. People talk about finding the Anyone-But-Romney candidate, and it is easy to make the case that Paul is that guy.

Jon Huntsman: Would someone explain Huntsman’s strategy to me? Better yet, explain to me why he is running at all. He had invested most of his time and money in New Hampshire, a liberal state, because he is a liberal candidate, and he figured he could make the most noise here. Okay, I get that. But a liberal isn’t going to win the Republican nomination in 2012. And a victory in liberal and secular New Hampshire wouldn’t have translated into much in the conservative and religious South anyway. Huntsman gave New Hampshire his best shot and finished 3rd. Maybe he is trying to raise his profile, so he can  get a Cabinet job.

Newt Gingrich: He won 4th place in a squeaker over Rick Santorum, which means Gingrich still has a sliver of hope as the conservative candidate. There’s an old saying that goes, “In the Kingdom of Hope, there is no winter.” Nevertheless, someone needs to tell Mr. Gingrich it’s cold outside.

Rick Santorum: It was unrealistic, perhaps, to assume that he might win New Hampshire, but surely he was hoping for better than a 5th place finish there after just barely losing in Iowa. He still has some buzz, but he needs to get a win soon to remain viable.

Rick Perry: The good news is he beat Michele Bachmann; the bad news is…everything else. Bachmann finished 7th in the voting because she already quit, but about 300 people couldn’t take “no” for an answer. Perry finished 6th with 1% of the vote. Why is he still campaigning? He’s lost the support of the Anti-Romney crowd, social conservatives, the TEA party, and just about everybody else; so what’s the point of staying in the race? I guess it ‘s a good way to see the country.

Onward to the next round!