12.20.2007

Romney gains some cred as Tancredo drops out, endorses him

The presidential field lost a candidate today, as Rep. Tom Tancredo dropped out of the Republican race. Tancredo never pulled more than 2% or 3% in national or states polls, but he had a significant factor on the contest nonetheless.

He was a one-issue candidate, obsessed with illegal immigration; some people expected him to at least have some momentum given the importance of immigration for many GOP voters -- but he apparently was a bit too singe-issue focused even for the immigration-focused GOP electorate. But he forced the rest of the Republican field to move dramatically to the Right on immigration by making the discussion more emotional and more intense. At a recent debate, Tancredo even remarked at the closure of the discussion on immigration that all the candidates on stage sounded like him -- which was certainly not the case a year ago.

Why the sudeen departure from the race when it wasn't like Tancredo ever had any hope of pulling this off? Tancredo cited one himself: The rise of Mike Huckabee. Tancredo said that Huck was much too soft on immigration issues, especially given in his tenure as Arkansas Governor. And remember: this is the issue that most of the negative attacks against Huckabee have focused on in Iowa -- including Romney's first negative ad and Thompson's mailer on "Huckabee University Welcomes Illegal Immigrants."

In exiting the race, Tancredo endorsed Mitt Romney. This should not move a whole lot of numbers in Romney's direction -- but it could definitely help him get 1-2% of voters directly, which is very enviable in a close race like this one. And there is then a second more important benefit: Romney has sought to attack both Giuliani and Huckabee on immigration issues, though Rudy has fought back pointing to Romney's own soft record -- which could have led some immigration voters to go to the more pure Fred Thompson. Tancredo definitely gives Romney some credibility and could be a huge help down the line in convincing those worried that Romney might not be conservative enough that he is one of them.

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2 Comments:

  • I've posted this at more than just this blog, but I definitely do not work for Romney's campaign. I want some conservatives, who I feel haven't given Mitt a fair shake thus far, to seriously reconsider their positions. Romney is clearly now the anti-illegal immigration candidate. What candidate can win the support of ALL conservatives...fiscal, defense, AND social? Mitt's the man!

    By Anonymous davenp35, At 20 December, 2007 23:41  

  • Tom Tancredo's endorsement will not hurt Romney at all. Although from what I have seen, Tancredo's polling was never higher than 6% (usually around 1 to 2%).

    Concerning Mitt's conservative credentials, he is definitely stating his rhetoric that he is the conservative candidate. As governor of Mass, however, he was a moderate at best.

    By Anonymous Southern Slav, At 21 December, 2007 07:27  

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