Dueling GOP Strategies

The argument goes like this: Iowa, while important for momentum, will not award its 40 delegates until later in the cycle, tentatively in mid-June. In New Hampshire, where the Giuliani campaign says they feel good about their current 2nd place position, the Granite State’s 12 delegates (half of the normal 24 thanks to the 50% penalty levied by the RNC last week for holding its contest earlier than February 5) will be allocated on a proportional basis.

In Michigan, where Giuliani also runs second in the polls, the date and method of selection for its 30 delegates (also a 50% reduction due to RNC penalty) remain up in the air until at least this Wednesday.

And in South Carolina, where Rudy is battling at the top of the polls with Romney and Thompson, the state’s 24 delegates (post-RNC penalty) will be awarded on the basis of who wins at the Congressional district level with a bonus for winning the vote statewide. If the race remains tight in South Carolina, the delegates could be split among two, or perhaps more candidates.

Florida is often referred to as Rudy’s “firewall,” and the Giuliani campaign clearly sees this as the first state where their man can begin to break away. Even stripped of 50% of its delegates by the RNC along with the other states, Florida still has 57 delegates at stake which, like South Carolina, will be awarded on the basis of winning Congressional districts plus and for winning the statewide vote. But, their thinking goes, with more than a two-to-one advantage in the polls, Giuliani will be able to scoop up the lion’s share of the delegates in the Sunshine State.

And then comes the Big Kuhuna on February 5th. The Giuliani campaign points out 1,038 delegates are at stake on Feb. 5h, nearly half of what is needed to secure the nomination, by far the single biggest day in the primary process.

Real Clear Politics Blog