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Christie Endorsement Paves the Way for a Romney Landslide

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As Republican Presidential candidates clamor for support in the all important early primary states, the previously foggy end result is beginning to be illuminated. The open contest that many expected to remain vibrant deep into the primary calendar, now is gaining more certainty as we enter fourth quarter 2011. Throughout the process thus far, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has been seen as a “weak frontrunner,” with most analysts and onlookers waiting for another candidate to pass him by.

First, Tim Pawlenty positioned himself to be the pragmatic conservative alternate to Romney. But Pawlenty never caught fire and dropped out of the contest after a disappointing finish at the Ames Straw Poll, endorsing Romney and becoming a national co-chair of the campaign. Then Michele Bachmann stormed onto the scene with a loyal base and uncompromising message of conservatism that conventional wisdom indicated would resonate well with Republican primary voters. Once Bachmann's star began to lack luster, all eyes turned to Texas Governor Rick Perry, the latest entrant into the race. Yet like those before him, once the Republican base did their thorough examination, Perry did not fair as well as advertised. Seen as a cowboy and a bully, the Texan worried the establishment Republicans who continue to think he's unelectable and a loose cannon that the party cannot afford at the top of the ticket in November.

After a day that Mitt Romney was endorsed by New Jersey Governor, and Republican rising star, Chris Christie and unequivocally won another Republican debate, Romney has established himself as the permanent frontrunner. Christie, who up until a week ago was considering a run for the Oval Office himself, is a Republican kingmaker who possesses an impressive national following that spans from the tea party contingency of the party to the pro-choice fiscal conservatives who straddle the independent line. As a budget hawk and no nonsense voice of Republican ideals from a light blue state, Christie's endorsement of Romney may be the final push that he needs to coast to the nomination.

The way that the primary calendar is arranged, Romney has the ability to accept the nomination is an apparent landslide. With Perry and Bachmann far from their peaks, and continuing to fall in the polls, the first in the nation Iowa caucus is back in play for Romney. While he will be far from a majority in the heavily evangelical voter pool, the 2012 caucus could be an example of a split in the right-conservative and values Republican voting blocs, resulting in a Romney plurality. With the former Massachusetts governor a heavy favorite in New Hampshire, Nevada, and Florida, the second, third, and fifth primaries of the cycle, an Iowa victory would effectively end the chances of the other Republican candidates.

The Christie endorsement sends a resounding tone to the Republican intelligentsia that it's time to jump on board the Romney bandwagon. With party members most concerned about a victory in November, we no longer have time to wait for a white knight to emerge. This was a shot across the bow to unaligned officials and activists, that will pay major dividends between now and when voters cast their ballots. If Republicans want to secure the White House, they need to follow Christie's lead and start spending less time infighting, and more time coalescing around Governor Romney.

 

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Posted-In: Barack Obama Chris Christie Michele Bachmann Mitt Romney Republican Primary Rick PerryPolitics General Best of Benzinga