Run Newt Run

As GOP voters go to the polls today to vote in Florida’s primary election, it’s worth taking a look at future primaries. After Florida, 2012 GOP hopefuls Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and Ron Paul will turn their sites to Nevada, Colorado, Minnesota, Maine, Arizona, and Michigan in the month of February where 187 delegates are up for grabs.

Mitt Romney won five of these six February primaries in 2008 and still lost the GOP nomination to John McCain, so even if one of the candidates sweeps the February primaries, the race will likely continue until Super Tuesday, March 6 where Georgia will be the biggest state up for grabs. Well, it’s up for grabs if you haven’t seen the new poll from 20/20 Insight that shows Gingrich with a 50 to 17 lead over Romney among likely GOP primary voters in Georgia.

The prospect that Gingrich stays in the race until March is very likely. He said as much last week and with Georgia’s 76 delegates in play it’s almost certain. Grant it the 20/20 poll was conducted last week, January 23 – January 25, and a week is a lifetime in presidential campaigns, but nonetheless the results are pretty convincing. Among voters who identify themselves as Republicans Gingrich leads 61-16. The only category that Romney comes close to Gingrich is among Independents, a crucial demographic for the general election in November, which helps explain why most Democrats are smiling about the prospects of Gingrich being the nominee.

The former Speaker has his detractors but somehow here invents himself to capture the moment and the headlines whether it’s his plan to promote settlements on the moon or as Robert Reich points out, “It’s also Gingrich’s eagerness to channel the public’s frustrations into resentments against immigrants, blacks, the poor, Muslims, “liberal elites,” the mainstream media, and any other group that’s an easy target of white middle-class and working-class anger. These are all the hallmarks of a demagogue.

As many Democrats sniff blood in the water at the very notion of Gingrich as the GOP nominee because of his eccentric beliefs and controversial tactics, we have to admit he’s imaginative and fearless in hispursuit of the public’s attention. Democrats are chanting, Run Newt Run because they can also see victory in the water.