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January 17, 2008
Romney to skip South Carolina - Heads for Nevada
The winner of the Michigan primary took one look at the lay of the land in South Carolina and decided to skip that state's Saturday primary in favor of campaigning in Nevada where Republicans will Caucus on the same day:
Just a day after his big win in Michigan, Mitt Romney ceded South Carolina to his rivals. “This is a state I’d expect that Sen. [John] McCain has pretty well wrapped up,” Romney told reporters at the Sun City Hilton Head Retirement Center in Bluffton. “It would be an enormous surprise if he were unable to win here.” Romney’s South Carolina strategy amounts to being politically half-pregnant. He doesn’t want to raise expectations in a state he likely can’t win, so he’s dashing off to Nevada midday Thursday to compete in the lightly contested caucuses there Saturday. But at the same time, he doesn’t want to offend his supporters in South Carolina. Polls show Romney standing in solid third place in South Carolina, taking anywhere from 13 percent to 17 percent of the vote. But in Bluffton, Romney put himself in fourth place, noting that “even a strong fourth is better than what some of the other guys saw in Michigan last night.” Zogby would seem to agree with Mitt's assessment, calling the race "very stable." McCain currently enjoys a 7 point lead over Mike Huckabee.
But Fred Thompson isn't through yet. The same poll showed a two point rise for the former Tennesse Senator to 14% putting him in third place. But with less than 3 days to go before the polls close, there doesn't appear to be the decisive movement toward Thompson that he would need in order to win the primary outright.
Second place is not out of the question, however. And a strong second may convince the candidate to go on at least to Florida on January 29 and see if he can build some momentum for Super Tuesday on February 5.
Meanwhile, Romney appears to be in good shape in Nevada. He is slightly ahead of John McCain while recently receiving the endorsement of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the largest newspaper in the state. Nevada actually has more delegates at stake than South Carolina so Mitt is making a sound move in trying to add to his delegate count.