Is the GOP Missing a Strong Southern Candidate?
With the recent news that Mike Huckabee has decided not to run and Newt Gingrich apparently imploding, many analysts and opinion makers are wondering whether the GOP needs to look South for a savior. Aside from Gingrich, the other option is Herhman Cain, a native of Georgia, however, it remains to be seen if he can rise from his low position in the polls.
Report from Five Thirty Eight:
Being a Southerner conveys certain advantages upon a Republican presidential candidate.
Since 1980, a Southerner has finished first or second in every Iowa Republican presidential caucus.
More than 40 percent of John McCain’s voters in 2008 were from the South. Thirty-six percent of Republican National Convention delegates will come from the region.
And yet the Republicans, despite the party’s most wide-open field in the modern primary era, may lack a single Southern candidate with a realistic chance at the nomination.
As Nate Silver points out, the notable exceptions include Texas Governor Rick Perry and, apparently, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush:
I might feel differently, though, if the offer also included a couple of Southerners who have disavowed interest in the race: Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. I assume that neither is likely to to run — but if they did, they’d have some significant geographical and tactical advantages.
The White House has been occupied by a Southerner — counting the Massachusetts-born and decidedly patrician George H.W. Bush, who resided in Texas at the time he ran for office — in 30 of the past 46 years. I’m not sure this is entirely a coincidence. One reason behind the success of Southern candidates may be that, in competitive primary elections, the region offers a larger home-field advantage than the other parts of the country.
Unfortunately, in respect to this analysis, neither Rick Perry or Jeb Bush is likely to run. Thus, one has to wonder whether Herman Cain’s prospects are looking up.
Since Mike Huckabee dropped out, many assumed former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney would be the recipient of Huckabee’s supporters, however, that hasn’t seemed to pan out, at least in the short term. As the field dwindles and no prominent candidate seems to emerge, it remains wide open for a new name to enter the race and immediately shake things up.
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