John McCain Wins South Carolina

While Sonoran Alliance is not enamored with Senator John McCain we do have to congratulate him on his win in South Carolina.

While this win does provide him with additional momentum moving into the other states, he is still down in the delegate count by four behind Huckabee and 23 behind Romney.

The other factor that led to Senator McCain’s success is the number of Independents who voted for McCain. This probably gave him the edge against Mike Huckabee in a traditionally conservative evangelical state like South Carolina. As McCain moves forward, he will continue to bank on states with open primaries and the independent vote.

Perhaps this is why those home state Republicans closest to the senator have such a problem with him – his shunning of the party platform which has remained the North Star for the party faithful.

This is the debate that will take place from here on forward within the GOP if McCain continues to win. Republicans will have to decide if they want to get in bed with independents, water down the platform and possibly break up the longstanding coalition of cultural, fiscal and international conservatives.

Today’s episode of Meet The Press summarized this discussion perfectly.


  1. kralmajales says

    Without independents, you can’t win the White House or most Senate seats. I think you really know that.

  2. Given the alternative of Hillary or Obama, McCain is a preference. If he makes it that far, being able to get Independents and moderates will be a good thing.

    How solid of a Republican is McCain? Let’s give him a B- or C+. In this field, that’s not actually that bad compared to the rest of them.

    In the meantime, here’s some food for thought:

  3. what is up with that ? says

    Why is Romney not getting any press about how well he is doing ? I am not decided yet but truly if he is leading in delegates and has the money why is it all “McCain McCain”

  4. kralmajales says

    Good question: What is up with that?

    I always think, first, that the press wishes ratings and selling papers…thus…and X v. Y…a real race…equals money.

    BUT there is more with Romney. He has won his home state (where he grew up), Nevada (large Mormon population and few running there), Wyoming (also where no one else ran). He failed to win the two big prizes of Iowa and NH (even though NH is in the media market of where he serves as gov) and also the big one of SC. Each of the three are places that political scientists tell us you must do very well.

    So, I think they are waiting for a win that signals something big…and he hasn’t done that yet…even though he is winning in delegates, none of the victories, so far, point to big success on Feb. 5th…

    But there is still a place like Florida…which I think he really needs to win. He needs a win in the south…badly (even though Fla doesn’t meet my Southern test, its a start).


  5. what is up with that,

    I assume that you have not been reading this blog for very long. Here are some of our recent stories on Romney.

  6. nightcrawler says

    Romney is quietly banking delegates.

    I believe the Thompson and Huckabee are stealing votes from Mitt. If the pair of them were to drop out, as I believe they should, this race would look much different.

    Giuliani will take votes from McCain in Florida.

    The million dollar(s) question is will the rural evangelical Christians be able to support a Mormon ? The answer to that question is no, as long as Thompson and Huckabee hang around.

    They are the Democratic equivilent of John Edwards who is punishing Obama.

    My gut feel is that Huckabee will ending up supporting McCain and the evangelicals will follow suit. Not saying it is right, just the way it is.

    Notwithstanding conservatives, McCain is still in many voter’s comfort zone.
    That will come in handy in the general.

    Pragmatism is what will prevail.

  7. A former GOP congressman was on FOX News this morning explaining why the conservatives in the GOP will never accept McCain. He spoke about the “antipathy” these folks have for McCain and how deeply ingrained those opinions are. You saw evidence of that in the SC exit polls.

    McCain won yesterday because Thompson took votes from Huckabee and because non-Republicans could vote in the primary. Florida is closed to independents and Democrats, Giuliani WILL cut into McCain’s support and Romney has 10 days to spend big bucks on ads throughout the state in a manner McCain can’t match.

    If McCain wins Florida, I’ll start to believe that “pragmatism is what will prevail.” However, I’m betting on the power of the Right’s enduring hatred of McCain and the fact that they will soon coalesce around Romney as their only shot at stopping McCain. That will be sweet justice after McCain spent four years kissing the asses of the same people who trashed his war record, his wife and his adopted child in a wasted effort to win their favor.

  8. It will be interesting to see if Sen. Thompson stays in the race. Some people believe, as Rex said, that Sen. McCain won only because Sen. Thompson siphoned off social conservatives from Gov. Huckabee, particularly in Spartanburg-Greenville. Others speculate that he is helping his old friend from the Senate by remaining in the race.

    If Mayor Giuliani loses Florida badly and drops out, Sen. McCain may win large Northeastern states like New York and New Jersey. I think he is the only other GOP candidate who has filed full slates in all New York congressional districts.

  9. kralmajales says

    Yep, Richard. I agree with you about McCain and many northeastern states, although Romney could appeal there too. He was a fairly well accepted Massachussetts governor…although he is now talking very differently than he did as a governor in a northeastern state. The NH result makes me agree with you and it depends on how “closed” those other NE primaries are.

    The big problem with Romney is southern states.

    Remember that South Carolina is/was the gateway to the south. No modern GOP nominee has ever won the nomination without winning SC. SC signals the other southern states too.

    The hope for Romney is that Huckabee wins some of those southern states over McCain and that he can jumble together enough delegates to win at the convention…maybe.

  10. I was in error about the New York primary. Although I still keep a pied a terre (hovel) in New York City, I haven’t voted there in 30 years and the only Republican primary I worked in was a mayoral one in 1969. They’ve changed the primary so that it is now winner-take-all. It is for only Republicans.

    Two shocking New York primary polls came out today. Marist College has it
    McCain 34%
    Romney 19%
    Giuliani 19%
    Huckabee 15%
    Thompson 6%
    Paul 2%

    And Siena College has it
    McCain 36%
    Giuliani 24%
    Romney 10%
    Huckabee 7%
    Thompson 6%

    If Giuliani continues to collapse, many of his supporters will go to Romney, who is well-liked on Wall Street from his days at Bain Capital.

    This may discourage some Romney supporters, but I’ve discovered that he was instrumental in Bain Capital employees getting benefits for domestic partners.

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