Remember when Herman Cain, and then Rick Perry, seemed to be gathering momentum for a stunning victory march to the GOP Presidential nomination?
But those brief moments in political time sped past, and then — we were told — the Republicans began their inevitable shift back to their tradition of safe and sensible Presidential politics: Mitt Romney won a squeaker in the Iowa caucuses, added a comfortable win in the New Hampshire primary, and rolled into South Carolina with a big lead in the preliminary polls, ready for a Deep South win that would pretty much lock up the nomination.
Oh wait. Rick Santorum actually got more votes in Iowa. Oops. Then Romney’s seemingly safe lead in South Carolina melted away, became a “neck-and-neck” race on the eve of the election, and turned into a full-scale disaster for Romney by the time the actual votes are counted.
Now the man of the hour is Newt Gingrich, and the new consensus is that his red-meat conservative rhetoric earned him his victory.
Writing in Atlantic Monthly, Molly Ball takes a different view. She reports that Gingrich had a robust campaign organization that got his people to the polls.
Ball also observes that in Florida–the next big primary battleground on Jan. 31 — Romney’s organization and campaign war chest would seem to give him an edge. Florida is bigger and more diverse, and winning there is widely believed to require a lot more spending on television and other advertising.
Bloomberg News, via Business Week, has a good overview. Among other things, the article notes that John McCain and Barack Obama were the primary winners in Florida four years ago.