Rudy, we hardly knew ye… (Photo courtesy New York Times)
Here’s the writeup on the Florida primary from the New York Times:
McCain Defeats Romney in Florida Vote
MIAMI — Senator John McCain defeated Mitt Romney on Tuesday to win the delegate-rich Florida primary, solidifying his transformation to the Republican front-runner and dealing a devastating blow to the presidential hopes of Rudolph W. Giuliani.
Republican officials said after Mr. Giuliani’s distant third-place finish that he was likely to endorse Mr. McCain, possibly as early as Wednesday in California. They said the two candidates’ staffs were discussing the logistics of an endorsement.
This information is somewhat dated, since multiple news organizations have confirmed that Giuliani will drop out of the race and endorse McCain in Los Angeles tomorrow before the CNN/LA Times/Politico debate at the Reagan Library. Whether this will be a significant boost or not for McCain remains to be seen, although Huckabee’s continued presence in the campaign hurts Mitt Romney more than Giuliani’s did to McCain.
According to the most recently available exit poll data from Florida, Huckabee took 259,703 votes in the GOP primary. Romney lost to McCain by just over 95,000 votes, so Huckabee may well have played spoiler to Romney in this race, since they are both fishing in the same electoral pond for social and religious conservatives. Huckabee will probably concentrate his limited resources on social conservatives in midwestern and southern states like Missouri, Arkansas, Georgia and Tennessee on Super Tuesday next week. Whether he will play spoiler to Romney again remains to be seen, since Romney has more resources and needs to be competitive against McCain in bigger and more expensive states like California and New York.
Also worth reading is the NYT’s post-mortem on the Giuliani campaign, which I suspect will be the subject of books, dissertations, and theses for years to come.
Update: The Los Angeles Times has this interesting note on Giuliani’s campaign based on the latest campaign finance reports filed with the FEC.
Giuliani’s $50-million delegate
The failed campaign of Rudolph W. Giuliani can claim one distinction: the worst bang for the buck of any delegate winner in presidential politics history.
The former New York mayor, who dropped his Republican bid for the presidency this week, disclosed Thursday in a filing with the Federal Election Commission that he raised $58.5 million and spent $48.8 million in 2007.
With his donors’ money, Giuliani captured a single national delegate, in Nevada. At that rate, it would have taken close to $60 billion in spending to capture the 1,191 delegates needed to win the nomination.