GOP Primary: It’s still going, and going, and going….

For those of you still keeping up with the GOP Primary race there is an election tonight.  The good citizens of Indiana, North Carolina and West Virginia get their chance tonight.

Shouldn’t be much excitement in the main event.  Governor Romney should sweep all three states.  With 132 delegates at stake the Governor can run his total to 989 total delegates.  That leaves him only 155 delegates shy of final victory.  Or does it?  More on that in a second.  But first there are some games with-in the game tonight that should make for interesting news stories tomorrow morning.

First, in Indiana, Republican Senator Richard Lugar, his friends call him Dick although at the moment it appears he has no friends, is about to lose a primary challenge to the state treasurer.  In the ongoing quest by the Republican party to cleanse itself of all those deemed not conservative enough by the Tea Party, Senator Lugar is about to be unseated by little known Richard Murdock, after 35 years in the Senate.  Lugar was the Mayor of Indianapolis from 1968 to 1976 before winning his current Senate seat in 1977.  He was once known as the George Washington of Indiana.

The big issue that felled Lugar and so angered the Tea Party; Lugar had no idea that his residence was listed as Washington DC, and had less than a clue as to where the DMV sends his mail.  He was painted as a DC insider and that was that.  Yes, clearly these are the important issue of the day in Indiana.  You think there was more to it than that, google it and find me the issue that separates Lugar from Murdock other than this silly business of residence.  Even Murdock admits he has been voting for Lugar for years.

On to North Carolina.  A gay marriage ban is up for vote by the people of the Tar Heel State.  Actually the amendment would not ban gay marriage directly but would define marriage and a union between a man and a women and cement it as law in the state’s constitution.  So by implication it bans same-sex marriage.  This is much bigger than Lugar getting busted by his own party in Indiana.  There are a lot of polls out there that say the American public is ok with gay marriage.  Still other polls show that most don’t care one way or the other.  So you have to believe the numbers showing favor over against might be misleading.  Not caring about something is not the same as being for something.  Also, the gay marriage movement has been gaining steam since 2009.  This might be a big setback for those that favor gay marriage.  Count me among those who care not, one way or the other.

While all this is going on, Governor Romney might have a little problem on his hands.  That problem is the Keebler elf, otherwise known as Congressman Ron Paul from Texas.  Way back when I tried to define unbound and bound delegates, county caucuses versus state conventions.  Read some of those here for a refresher: Unbound Delegates   Washington State Caucus

Well it turns out Paul and his campaign are taking advantage of the caucus rules and have been winning the unbound delegates that Romney won during the initial caucus.  How has he been doing that?  His camp has been going to the state conventions and getting their delegates elected to the national convention where they will likely vote for Romney when the roll is called.

For example, Governor Romney won the Nevada Caucus, taking 14 delegates to Newts, Santorum’s 3 and Paul’s 2.  However at the Nevada state convention 22 of the 25 delegates are Paul supporters.  Paul realized that the candidates don’t normally take part in the state conventions so he sent his boys to each one and they got elected to fill the delegate positions.  In the states where the delegates are not bound to vote for the initial caucus winner.  So that means at the national convention when Nevada is called, it is likely the if not guaranteed, most of the delegates will vote for Paul.  This situation is occurring in several of the states that held a caucus instead of a straight up primary election.  Paul can’t win the nomination this way but mathematically he could keep Romney from winning the nomination on the first roll call at the national convention.

This is more than likely a play by Paul for more influence and personal participation at the national convention and possibly in a Romney White House.  Stay tuned, it could get interesting.

Man I love that guy.

Election results late tonight cause, you know, it’s the silly central time zone.

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GOP Primary: The Event Horizon

Can you feel it?  We are getting close.  Event Horizon is a term related to relativity, describing the boundary by which an outside observer can no longer be affected by events through space and time.  In other words, it’s the point of no return.  Tonight we reached the event horizon of the republican primary election.  Governor Romney can’t officially win the nomination of his party until the Texas primary on May 29th at the earliest, but by sweeping the five states that voted tonight, he will no longer be affected by the Newts and Ron Pauls of the political world.  The republican party is at it’s event horizon, their point of no return, with Governor Romney as their nominee.

Now as we have seen over the past few weeks, there could always be a Columbian hooker in the closet, as in the case of the Secret Service, or a pregnant mistress and violation of campaign finance law, as in the case of former 08 candidate John Edwards.  If any of that were to happen that would of course change the game.  In this case I think the republicans are safe.  This is Governor Romney’s second go round.  You would think any issue would have come up by now, but hey you never know.

Just FYI; John Edwards could get 30 years in prison for what he has been accused of.  The trial started today and the first witness, one of Edwards’ closest aides during his failed Presidential run, put Edwards squarely under the bus.  The guy had receipts, e-mails, cashed checks, the works.  Johnny Haircut might be in a pickle on this caper.

Anyway, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, and Delaware voted tonight.  Governor Romney swept all 5 states.  His lowest percentage was in Delaware, where he got 56% of the vote.  There were 231 delegates available tonight and Gov. Romney won them all.  His total now stands at 801 delegates.  He needs only 343 more to win the nomination.  He will do that easily.  There will be no floor fight at the convention.

Of course Newt finished last in every race but Delaware, coming in 2nd, some 3o percentage points behind Gov. Romney.  Naturally he gave a speech in North Carolina tonight.   Why North Carolina, well the Tar Heel state votes in the next primary on Tuesday, May 8th.  So you know what that means, Newt is staying in.  He claims he’ll reevaluate, but he said that about Delaware, and he got shellacked in Delaware.  He may just to drop out tomorrow, when he has the press all to himself.  He may just like having his Secret Service detail, you know the tax payer funded, heavily armed detail.

Paul finished 2nd in every race but Delaware.  He took 3rd behind Newt.  Interesting to note that Paul did not campaign in any of the states that voted tonight and he still beat Newt by sizable margins in 4 of the 5 states.  He appears to be hanging on for a sprint to the convention, again in all likelihood to get some more time for his Libertarian message.

Next primary is May 8th.  North Carolina, West Virginia, and Indiana are up.  Should be another 132 delegates in Governor Romney’s column.

We have another dead period as we wait the two weeks for the May 8th vote.  What will we find out next.  Will it be another dog meat buffet scandal, illegal immigrant hedge trimmers, fancy vacations, or an oldy but a goody, the birth certificate conundrum?

Rest assured, if it’s utterly ridiculous, heinously stupid, and completely manufactured, Frank’s Place will be all over it.

GOP Primary: The point of no return… maybe

This is it. Possibly.  Tonight’s the night.  I think.

This should be the final step for Governor Romney.  He is running basically unopposed now and while he can’t technically win the nomination tonight, that could come in Texas on May 29th at the earliest, he can effectively put the nomination away by sweeping the five northeastern states voting tonight.  If he can’t do that, the doubts that have been finding a voice the past three weeks may get louder.

The governor has already shifted to hammering the President, although he made that move after the Florida primary.  The big difference this time; the White House has shifted to hammering Romney, clearly believing he is the man.  The only person who doesn’t believe it is Newt, and a lot of the electorate.

Chuck Todd, NBC’s political director called it way back in August of 2011.  The Republican base may not fall in love with Mitt Romney but they need to fall in LIKE with him.  Still not sure the electorate is in like with Mitt Romney.  Tonight will go a long way to settling that down.

In Newt’s case his ego just won’t let him quit.  His debt on the other hand…  Currently the Gingrich campaign is over 6 million in debt and that number is rising.  For some reason Newt and Calista have refused to accept they are the fringe campaign.  Both still use a private jet for travel, and Calista still maintains a personal body guard service, even though she has a secret service agent assigned to her.  Speaking of the US Secret Service, guess which candidate who is against frivolous government spending still demands a secret service detail, costing the tax payer some serious gitas (money).  Newt and Calista will have that detail until he drops from the race; something he say’s he’s not willing to do until the convention.

However, because of the mounting debt there has been rumblings that Newt may pull the cord after the Delaware primary.  Delaware?  That’s his last stand according to his campaign.  Not really sure what a portion of 17 delegates will do for a campaign that’s over 500 delegates behind and 6 mil in debt but hey what do I know, he’s the PhD.

Don’t Look Now…..

Remember all those dumb little non-binding delegates from all those dumb little caucuses in the mid-west?  Well, they have been conducting their respective state conventions and guess who’s been winning a lot of those un-bound delegates?  If you guessed Congressman Ron Paul, take 10 dollars out of petty cash.  The Paul campaign has 2+ million in surplus cash, no debt, no on coming debt.  He’s not traveling much, speaking at local events in his districts or at colleges where the school puts up the fee.    In other words it turns out Ron Paul practices what he preaches.  It has put him in good position for …

Guess what, Ron Paul may survive to the convention.  He can’t win it but he’ll finish second in overall delegates which would be a huge feat.  He’ll probably be offered a speech in close to prime time network coverage at the convention; in the dinner hour most likely, and that’s the victory Paul is looking for.  He knows he can’t win, but if he can keep getting his message out there through the remainder of this election, that will be victory enough.

All five states are in the correct time zone, so polls close anywhere from 7 to 8pm eastern.  Check back for results after 8.

Oh and any polls you see in April have absolutely no bearing in November.  Romney has drawn even with the President, the President trails Romney, it will be all over the map.  The only poll that matters now is the one you’re standing in on Tuesday, November 6th.

GOP Primary: Santorum – Exit stage right!

Well folks it’s just about over.  Rick Santorum is preparing to speak in Gettysburg Pennsylvania as I type.  The former Senator from PA is suspending his campaign.  To all of us in the unwashed masses that means he’s quitting the race.  Technically however, that means he will no longer actively campaign, but his name will appear on the ballot in any state he is registered, and more importantly he can legally take and use campaign contributions all the way to the Republican National Convention in August.  There is also an outside chance that Romney may implode.  If that were to occur due to some scandal, Santorum could jump back in to the race with little effort.   He couldn’t do that if he ended his campaign instead of suspending it.

This is not much of a surprise really.  For all his bluster, Santorum knew there was no slide rule, no algorithm, no math that would get him to the nomination.  The final kicker may have been one of two issues, or maybe a mix of both.  Santorum was touting Pennsylvania as his chance to make up ground.  Today’s poll numbers show Santorum losing his home state to Romney.  That’s a beat down he was probably anxious to avoid.  Santorum is young and can still run for office.  The fewer beat-downs on your resume the better. This is especially true if he tries to run for Senator again, or even governor in Pennsylvania.

Romney stopped negative ads in PA out of respect to Santorum’s family as they dealt with the medical problems of their young daughter Bella.  So the other issue could be Santorum’s family.  His daughter has had medical problems since birth and she was recently taken to the hospital again.   Running for President is hard on the candidates and can be harder still on the family.  Santorum appears to be sincere when it comes to his family.  So it would not be difficult to believe that he’s ready to spend more time with them and specifically Bella.

As a lot of pundits are currently opining right now, you have to give Santorum credit.  By comparison to the other candidates, he is dirt poor.  He campaigned the old fashioned way, door to door, city to city, county to county, state to state.  In the end though, effort, grass root, and old school style can’t overcome a ridiculous message that was out of touch from the beginning.  Teleprompters of the world! I say to you: breath easy, thine enemy is delivered to your footstool, defeated.

The Uni Bomber (Newt Gingrich) is still in.  His campaign says their plan includes a big opportunity involving Delaware.   If that strategy doesn’t disqualify Newt to be President, nothing does.  Delaware bro, really?  You think you can handle all 17 delegates?  I mean you’re only 520 delegates behind, pace yourself.  Time to phone a friend Newt, get a buddy, or even a clue.  Better yet, suspend your campaign, I hear it’s Buy One Get One at Tiffany’s this weekend.

Ron Paul is still in.  Yeah, I got nothing.  Neither does Ron Paul.

So the nomination is Romney’s to lose from this point forward.  Each state will still vote in their primary elections.  Romney still has to hit 1144 delegates.  He has 645 currently with some big states coming up.  With Santorum out now, Romney should hit 1144 quickly.  Assuming Romney will win all the delegates from here on out, he will officially clinch the nomination at the Texas primary election on May 29th.

First and foremost, the next primary is April 24th.  Five states vote on that Tuesday, including Pennsylvania.

The voting schedule and delegate count will stay up at Frank’s Place until Romney officially clinches the nomination.

Wisconsin Primary: Mitt Makes Swiss Cheese – out of Santorum

Had a Badger joke for the headline, but it just didn’t feel right.  Swiss Cheese is the best I’ve got at the moment.

After taking most, if not all, of the delegates in Maryland and the District of Columbia (DC), Romney took all of the delegates in Wisconsin.  The Badger state is winner take all, meaning a candidate only needs to win the total vote in the state to get all the delegates.  Wisconsin has 42 delegates and they all slide into Romney’s column.

Breaking:  I must at this moment, 10:01pm in the east, confess that I’m liking Piers Morgan of CNN more and more as a political analyst.  He only fills that roll on election nights, the rest of the time he does a Larry King-esque type show.  But heaven help me, the little limey (he’s british) has a good handle on our political system.  He also asks great questions to folks from both sides of the political divide.

OK, back to the action.  Santorum gave his speech earlier in the night, from Pittsburgh.  Good strategy when you’re about to get your rear end punted across two states and one District.  As usual he whined about fighting against the money and the machine.  Not sure if Romney is the money or the machine, maybe he’s both.  Who knows.  What we do know: Romney is the winner in all three primaries tonight and has taken a huge delegate haul.

Santorum went on to say it’s only half-time in the race and he’s ready to start the second half at the Pennsylvania primary on April 24th with it’s 72 delegates.  Santorum’s problem: New York, Connecticut, Delaware, and Rhode Island vote that night as well.  Rick went on to make up history and re-write the facts about Washington crossing the Delaware River into Trenton to surprise the Hessians.  Then he somehow mangled that into some meaningless points about the other candidates and how they campaign.

He then went on a riff using the phrase “You Know Me” time and time again.  Hey Rick, these people that know you are the same people that handed you the worst defeat of an incumbent senator in the history of our political system.  Just a god awful speech, in content and delivery.  When he loses, his speeches are delivered with a breathy, whiny, pleading tone.  He then says “this ain’t halftime, no marching bands. We’re getting on the field. Let’s go.”  Not making this up.  Rick, you crazy bastard, you just said it was half time and Pennsyl….. oh never mind.  Enough of this dolt.  Here are the stats from tonight’s butt kicking.

Maryland

Romney – 50% wins majority of awarded delegates

Santorum – 29%

Gingrich – 11%

Paul – 9%

District of Columbia

Romney – 69% wins all 16 delegates

Santorum – failed to get on ballot (dope)

Paul – 13%

Gingrich – 11%  (good lord, the dude lives there, works there, and lost to Paul)

Wisconsin – numbers will change slightly when all counting is complete, result will not

Romney – 44%  Wins all 42 delegates

Santorum – 38%

Paul – 11%

Gingrich – 6% (hahahah)

At the current time it looks like Santorum will get around 12 delegates and Romney will take the other 81 that were available tonight.  That number may move up or down by a delegate or two as the states finish all the counting.  Either way it’s a huge win for Romney.  He won all three states, won the first winner take all state, took all but a handful of delegates and will reap some serious fund raising from all of this.

I’m not sure what Santorum and Gingrich hope to achieve by staying in the race.  They are now holding up the republican nominee from totally focusing on the general election and they are making him spend money he could use for the campaign against the President.  So to break it down, they are being a couple of big poopy pants.

Check back in the morning hours if you want to see the final delegate count.  The delegate counter is to the right, on Frank’s Place home page.

Next up, the 5 northeastern states mentioned above.  Those primaries occur on Tuesday, 24 April, so that’s three weeks to relax and watch the awesomeness unfold.

 

 

GOP Primary: DC and Maryland to Mitt

In no surprise Mitt Romney has coasted to victory in both DC and Maryland. It appears he may take all the delegates from both primaries. But the big prize tonight is Wisconsin, a winner take all state with 42 delegates up for grabs.

Polls in Wisconsin close at 9pm eastern. You know cause they are not on real time like eastern standard but instead follow the more snooty central time. I kid, I’m a kidder.

This count should be quicker unless it gets close, if so you can expect a long evening.

Can’t wait to hear Newt’s speech when he comes in 3rd or even last most of the night.

Check back for Wisconsin results in a bit.

When Last We Spoke…

So a lot of things have happened in the past 11 days.  In the political world all of it was good, if not funny as all get out.  Some of the high, or low lights, depending on your level of cynicism:

  • President Obama
  1. In a stunning open mic incident the President leans in to tell Russian Preisdent Medvedev to pass a message to Vladimir Putin, the Prime Minister of Russia and its defacto dictator
  2. The message – give me some slack until I’m re-elected, then I’ll have more flexibility
  3. Wow, hard to know what he meant by flexibility but easy to know that he thinks he’s going to whoop Mitt or Rick in November
  • Rick Santorum 
  1. verbally dog cussed* a New York Times reporter, telling him to quit the “bull shit” because:
  2. the reporter asked the candidate to clarify the remarks made when Santorum said he would vote for Obama before he would support Romney
  3. Santorum also called Romney the worst republican ever –  he drew swift condemnation from party leaders for that little gem
  4. after Santorum finished crying about the media lying about his own words he went on FOX to brag saying “You’re not a republican if you haven’t cursed out a NYT reporter”  So now we know Rick, you’re a republican, a crybaby, a liar, oh and a chooch.
*dog cussed – souther term for really laying into someone.  Dog cussing involves those four letter words like the F word, the already mentioned BS, and of course Yankee.
  •  Newt Gingrich
  1. called the President uppity because Newt claims the Pres. thinks everybody should go to Harvard
  2. Not sure President believes we should all go to Harvard and ironically this comes from the only PhD in the field
  3. hard to know what’s in Newt’s mind but I gotta believe in close circles he finishes off that “uppity” sentence with what he really thinks
  4. Somehow Mitt Romney is not uppity even though he also went to Harvard
  5. Newt fired 1/3rd of his staff this week – no money to pay them
  6. the last two print journalists covering Newt’s campaign left to cover Mitt and Rick
  • Mitt Romney 
  1. is building a ridiculously enormous beach house complete with an elevator for the car
  2. One blogger/reporter floated the idea that Ann Romney ‘s Multiple Sclerosis is getting worse and the elevator makes it easier for her to get in and out of the car and house

See a small but unsubstantiated correlation there.  It’s not clear that Mitt will be a better candidate, but it’s obvious he makes fewer mistakes and therefore is not required to say outlandish things to get votes.  The biggest issue on Mitt the past month is a car elevator.  The other two guys have athletes tongue from constantly sticking their feet in their mouths.

Mitt also picked up some huge endorsements.  Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, a Tea Party poster boy, endorsed Mitt.  President George Bush 41 endorsed Mitt.  Now Senator Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, another Tea Party guy, has endorsed Mitt.

Of course Wisconsin is a big deal because their primary election is this Tuesday, April 3rd.  Washington DC and Maryland will vote Tuesday as well.  Mitt has decent leads in all three places.  Should Romney win Wisconsin, the matter is all but settled.  The primaries in April are winner take all, so now winning the state means you get all the delegates and Wisconsin has a ton of delegates, 42 to be exact.

Short of a Romney scandal, there is no way Santorum can get to 1144 delegates and it’s almost impossible for him to stop Romney from getting there.

Newt and Ron Paul are in a dead heat for the “Crazy Old Man” conciliation prize, awarded to the candidate who comes in dead last, or dead broke, or both.

Newt’s campaign now has the feel of someone angling for a cabinet job.  He’s not slammed Romney in a week and only has ire for the President.  Secretary of State Gingrich perhaps?

On a personal note, we have had the greatest and worst 11 days of our lives here.  Some of you know that our twin girls were born 3 1/2 months early.  Anne Marie and Linda Claire were born at 1:53 and 1:54pm respectfully.  They both weighed in around 1lb 12oz, give or take an ounce.  Unfortunately Linda Claire’s lungs were not developed enough and she passed away around 5:45pm that same day.  We buried her in a wonderful ceremony this past week.  Her obituary is the post previous to this one if you would like to read it.

I felt like I needed to stop the blog for a while but after almost two weeks it’s more therapy for me than it is political info and funny Frank stories for you.  So for better or worse, I’m hitting the keyboard again.

On the bright side, Anne Marie is progressing nicely and we are thankful for every breath she takes.  She is in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at University of Tennessee Medical Center.  Those people are, in a word, awesome.   In the graceful way the dealt with Linda Claire during the 5 hours of her short life, the aftermath of her death, and the treatment of Anne Marie, they have been an oasis in a desert of turmoil and grief.  We look and pray for her homecoming sometime in late June.

I appreciate all the comments on Linda Claire’s obituary, the e-mails, and text messages.  I’ll answer them all at some point.  Trust me when I tell you they are a big help.  I can’t explain why, but it’s a bit comforting to read well wishes, offers of prayer and assistance at a time when you feel completely helpless and out of control.   Thank you all for that.