THE ROMNEY FACTOR – AT 7:37 A.M. ET: With Mitt Romney doing very well in polls in early primary states, the "stoppability" factor comes into play. "Stop Romney!" will become the theme of many disgruntled Republicans who hope to stop the frontrunning, but not terribly popular candidate. The stoppers believe they have a chance in Iowa. From the Washington Examiner:
DES MOINES, IOWA -- Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney is largely taking a pass in Iowa's first-in-the-nation caucuses, creating an opportunity for one of his rivals to excel in the Hawkeye State and charge into New Hampshire as the conservative alternative to Romney.
Romney spent less than $200,000 so far in Iowa, compared with the $10 million he spent on advertising alone during his first presidential run in 2008, an investment that didn't pay off given that he finished second in the caucuses, behind Mike Huckabee.
Romney built a much leaner campaign in Iowa this time. He's relying more on volunteers than paid staffers and he has yet to make any major advertising buys, according to David Kochel, Romney's top Iowa adviser.
"I don't think Romney is required to win Iowa," Kochel told The Washington Examiner. "Iowa has more to do with having wind at our back going into New Hampshire."
With Romney barely paying attention to Iowa, other presidential contenders see an opportunity.
"What Iowa has now become is the first fight in the battle of who will become the anti-Romney," said Dennis J. Goldford, a Drake University political science professor and author of "The Iowa Precinct Caucuses: The Making of a Media Event."
The Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses mark the first opportunity for the "anti-Romney candidates" to prove their viability to voters because the caucuses require candidates to demonstrate that they can build and run an effective organization.
COMMENT: For the record, "stop" movements very rarely work. In fact, I can't recall one that has worked in many years. The reason, of course, is that they get started too late, when the target is already well ahead, with real momentum, even if that target doesn't arouse much enthusiasm.
The Republican race is still open. However, unless there's really an effective alternative to Romney presented, and unless that alternative runs a flawless campaign, Romney will probably get the nod. One hand clapping.
October 28, 2011