Louisiana - Romney and Paul supporters appear to be the most vocal and visible thus far. (National Review)Submitted by bruceg on Wed, 01/23/2008 - 01:27
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
About the Louisiana Caucuses Tonight... [Mark Hemingway]
Lost amidst the excitement of South Carolina's "gateway to the South" primary on Saturday and Florida's win or go home tournament next Tuesday are the Louisiana Republican Caucuses this evening, which just got underway.
While many of the candidates haven't put a lot of resources into the state (most of the leadership there was pro-Thompson) there are a few things that make Louisiana's caucuses interesting. These are the first southern caucuses in the country, which means the folks voting will be very conservative. Add to that the fact that Bobby Jindal just won big down there and that the state GOP is largely controlled by Christian conservatives and Louisiana could be a very interesting bellweather right before Florida.
Because of the financial advantage he holds, Romney would appear to have an advantage coming into tonight's vote; he's done very well in caucuses and straw polls to date, including two in Louisiana. He also boasts the endorsement of two congressmen in the state. This could be a nice little win for him if he can pull it off.
Mike Huckabee is a neighboring state Governor and this is a very evangelical state. Louisiana would seem to be a natural fit for him but coming off Saturday's loss in South Carolina and questions about his campaign's viability, it will be interesting to see how he performs. He hasn't been very visible there thus far.
John McCain comes into the caucus fresh off a win in South Carolina, but the conservative vote there was heavily divided and McCain won't have Fred Thompson to help him tonight either. A win for McCain in a conservative southern caucus heading into Florida would do a lot to help McCain answer doubters who question his ability to win among Republicans.
Finally, there's Ron Paul, and he's well, being Ron Paul. He had 600 people show up at a rally yesterday in a bad part of Baton Rouge and was met with rousing applause. How many of the Paul people have actually gone to the work of registering as Republicans, and then will turn around and show up tonight will be determined, but still, Paul could surprise here. After all, he came in a strong second in a similar situation in Nevada last Saturday.
UPDATE: Just spoke with somebody on the ground in Louisiana, and caucus turnout is heavy all over the state. Romney and Paul supporters appear to be the most vocal and visible thus far.
01/22 06:29 PM