James Forsyth

Will Rudy have the last laugh?

Will Rudy have the last laugh?
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Rudy Giuliani’s presidential campaign has, to date, been a damp squid. Despite dangling his toe in the water in Iowa he still finished an embarrassing sixth behind the fringe candidate Ron Paul. In New Hampshire, Giuliani came in outside the medal positions despite having tried to move his numbers with a series of TV ads. He isn’t really playing in South Carolina having accepted that another state his campaign once thought was promising for him won’t go for him. But amazingly, Giuliani still has a chance of winning the nomination.

If John McCain wins in South Carolina tomorrow, he’ll probably be the nominee. If not, things could break Rudy’s way. John McCain main challenger in South Carolina is Huckabee, who trails him narrowly in the polls and could well win if he succeeds in bringing new evangelical voters to the polls as he did in Iowa. Huckabee, however, is unacceptable to many small-government and hawkish Republicans because he raised taxes in Arkansas and is seemingly naïve when it come to foreign affairs. So if Giuliani could get into an effective one on one contest with him he would have a very good chance of winning.

Rudy is betting everything on winning Florida which is the next state to vote after South Carolina; he’s been camped out down there recently and advertising heavily. The thinking goes that if he can pull out a win in Florida he will be the candidate with momentum going into February 5th, when 21 states vote. The potential flaw in this thinking is that if McCain does triumph in South Carolina, he’ll likely win Florida too. But if Huckabee beats him there, McCain’s challenge will have suffered a major blow.

If Huckabee wins South Carolina and Giuliani Florida they will be the two competing front-runners going into February 5th and that’s a fight Giuliani can win.

Written byJames Forsyth

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

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