Republican Primary starts getting interesting

By Frank Mahoney |

The Republican primary is heating up. The first major test will be the Iowa Caucus which will take place Feb. 6.  Here all the candidates will get their first test of the election year. This includes Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Ron Paul, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, John Huntsman, and Rick Santorum. The question that is on everyone’s mind is who is looking like they can win?

“Primary voters tend to be more extreme,” said Dr. Rachel Cremona, associate professor of political science at Flagler College. “For that reason Rick Perry has a significant advantage.”

As of now the race seems to be a contest between new poll leader and former Godfather Pizza owner Cain, former Governor of Massachusetts Romney, and Governor of Texas Perry. Perry jumped in the race later than the other candidates giving his announcement to run on Aug. 13. Cain on the other hand has taken the limelight away and seems to be connecting with conservative voters. Still Romney will be a tough competitor to beat.

“Perry and Romney have the advantage of money in the bank and a stamp of credibility,” said Dr. Arthur Vanden Houten, associate professor of political science, about why these two candidates seem to have a lead.

When it comes to money, Perry and Romney are in the lead by far.

“Romney is most likely to win because candidates need to move to the middle,” Cremona said of Romney. “He has the best chance to win the presidential election.”

“I think Romney has poised himself for the long haul,” Assistant Professor of Political Science Dr. Brenda Kauffman said of Romney.

Romney has done this all before. Romney was in contention in the past during the 2008 Republican primary, ultimately losing to John McCain. This year is very different though. The media has been reporting almost daily that other candidates may jump in the election. It all started with Perry, as well as calls for Sarah Palin and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Both have since stated that they will not run. (Update)

“I don’t think they have attached to a candidate yet,” Kauffman said about conservative voters.

“This reflects the division in the Republican party with the Tea Party wining seats in Congress,” Cremona said.

It seems that the Tea Party voters want a much more conservative candidate and are calling for more candidates because they are not pleased with what they have.

In the end, voters will have to choose which candidate will be most competitive against Obama.

“The only thing that can defeat Obama is the economy,” said Cremona. “His support isn’t huge right now, but it’s not awful.”

This displeasure in candidate frontrunners has seemed to help out Cain. Cain has recently won the Florida straw poll beating Perry by double digits. Now Cain is in the lead of the polls. Some people still do not believe he is going to have much impact.

“It’s the chicken or the egg idea,” Vanden Houten said about Cain. “Is he not viable because the press isn’t reporting on him, or is the media not reporting on him because he is not viable?”

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