James Forsyth

The next Republican contest

The next Republican contest
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Washington, DC

The Michigan primary coming up on Tuesday will determine whether Mitt Romney can remain a credible candidate. If he can’t win in a state where his father was a popular governor, it is curtains for him. By contrast, if McCain can repeat his 2000 triumph here he will establish himself as the Republican frontrunner.

The two deciding factors in the Michigan primary are likely to be how many independents and Democrats cross over to vote in the Republican primary and whether the Huckabee-McCain brotherhood holds. The Democratic contest in Michigan is meaningless, only Hillary Clinton is on the ballot, and the more independents and Democrats who play in the Republican primary the better for McCain who has far more cross-over appeal than Mitt Romney.

Huckabee could do surprisingly well in Michigan, this economically depressed state will be fertile territory for his economically populist message. But if Huckabee spends his time in Michigan taking shots at Romney, as he did in New Hampshire, he would do McCain a huge favour. Huckabee’s line about people wanting a president who looks like the guy you work with not the guy who laid you off could be fatal to Romney in Michigan.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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