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SC straw polls boost Romney, Huckabee

Upstate South Carolina Republicans held conventions and straw polls in three counties yesterday, with most of the Republican candidates attending - except John McCain. Aaron Gould Shenin reported for The State:

Andrews was disappointed, he said, that U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., did not attend the convention. While the other candidates barnstormed through Greenville, Spartanburg and Richland counties on Saturday, McCain did not. His campaign said the senator does not like the format the county conventions take in limiting the time candidates have with voters. McCain instead held a series of town hall meetings in the state last week.

Read the rest of the article, which deals mainly with the speeches, at the link above. The results come from CNN:

Among the 421 voters in Greenville County, Romney finished first with 132 votes, followed closely by Huckabee with 111. California Rep. Duncan Hunter got 87, Giuliani had 35 and Brownback received 19. McCain received 17 votes. Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo had five votes, former U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson got three, and Texas Rep. Ron Paul and former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore each got one.

* * * * *

In Spartanburg . . . About 700 people participated and awarded the candidates one, three or five points. Huckabee finished first with 3,522 points, Giuliani came in second with 3,161, followed by Hunter with 3,090 and Romney with 2,972. Brownback earned 2,931 points, Cox had 2,456 and McCain got 2,027.

In Richland County, 126 delegates participated in the straw poll. Romney won with 39.7 percent of the vote. Brownback had 13.5 percent, Giuliani got 11.9 percent, and both McCain and Huckabee got 10.3 percent. Hunter got 7.9 percent and Tancredo received 3.2 percent. Cox and a write-in President Bush both received 1.6 percent.

Read the full report at the CNN link above.

Ed Morrissey comments:

John McCain will formally announce his candidacy for the 2008 Presidential nomination in South Carolina next week, but the state's Republicans made it clear he should have showed up this week. Instead of appearing for the party's straw poll yesterday, McCain sent former Oklahoma governor Frank Keating -- and South Carolina sent him a third-tier finish:

* * * * *

In 2000, McCain had a strong base of support among South Carolina Republicans. He came close to derailing George Bush in that state, and his loss prompted complains about a smear campaign against the Arizona Senator. As one of the early primary states, McCain needs that base of support again in 2008, which is why he selected the state for his official announcement.

Read his whole post at the link above.

McCain obviously shot himself in the foot by not showing up, and compounded the error by letting his campaign object to the format. While he plans to formally announce his candidacy in SC next week, he has hurt his chances in the state with this bone-headed play.

His popularity in the state stems mainly from his heroic service as a POW. While he garnered 42% of the Republican Primary vote in 2000 (vs. Bush's 53.5%), many of those votes came from Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents crossing over to sabotage Bush since there was no serious challenge to Gore on their side. In 2008, there will be as many Democrats on the ballot as Republicans with a race at least as fiercely competitive, and the SC vote will be the last primary before the "Mega-Tuesday" event - the last chance to impress before the make-or-break multi-state primaries. Most of the "McCain Democrats" will be staying home.

The "smear campaign" alluded to is a McCain myth. There was ONE Bob Jones professor who sent a smearing email, and ONE upstate preacher who made, with his wife and daughter, less than 200 "push poll" calls on ONE afternoon. Neither had any connection to the Bush campaign, and Bush immediately denounced them when he found out about it. McCain's campaign, on the other hand, was down and dirty and ruthlessly negative. When McCain denied he still had negative ads running in the debate before the primary, Bush produced a "hit piece" flyer they had put out only the day before. McCain was exposed as a liar. This, as much as anything else, cost him the state. The more his people keep lying about the "smear campaign" and whining like babies, the less likely he will do any better this time around.

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Comments (5)

I had to look this up becau... (Below threshold)

I had to look this up because this is the first time I ever heard of this particular Cox person (I hate when last names are mentioned with no introduction): http://www.cox2008.com/cox/biography/

Jim, Your anti-McC... (Below threshold)


Your anti-McCain banter is rediculous.

He didn't show because they are easily corruptible, as anyone should know....look for yourself as Romney has been caught red-handed paying for delegates to go.


Why can't you ever give John McCain a fair shake for once?

Oh please, 700 people who w... (Below threshold)

Oh please, 700 people who want Hunter, Huckabee, Tancredo, et al et al. The primaries are coming soon, tick tock, and many states have moved them to Jan.'08. Even before the Feb. 5 Super Tues. The candidates with money, organization may indeed win some straw polls. But, the BASE will be out in strength when the primaries with real voters take place. Only the media benefits from straw polls so they can eliminate or boost a guy or gay who either is a fave or a villain and they can blast them. I want to see how Mitt, Rudy G, Fred(if he eveeeeer comes into the fray), John do in the primaries. The overall winner there will be the nominee. If the BASE sees that Rudy G, or Mitt, or Fred the Slow, gets into a position to defeat every Dem socialist pacifist, then that guy will win. So far if polls are any way correct, many in the BASE want to win and Rudy G so far leads. Let us see how this works out without jumping with every straw poll.

Todd ~ So, the only Republi... (Below threshold)

Todd ~ So, the only Republican candidate who has behaved unethically in office thinks the SC straw polls were "corrupt," eh? I'm sure the upstate folks will take all this into consideration.

I HAVE given McCain "a fair shake," but you seem to interpret the phrase differently. I've been rather clear that he would be about my last choice for the GOP nomination, ahead of only Hagel.


Glenn ~ Yes, ALL of the "straw polls" are designed to raise money for state and local parties (the biggest event is the Ames Republican Straw Poll in Iowa this August). It's not scientific by any stretch of imagination. However, the attendees at these things are the activists and diehards who are the backbones of any campaign organization. Do you think being the only major candidate NOT to show makes McCain more or less likely to win their support?

McCain's problem is that once again he fails to show up at an event where most of the candidates are expected. CPAC, the NR confab, Club for Growth, now the SC straw polls . . . the man doesn't seem to want to be around conservatives much, does he?

All I'm saying is that cons... (Below threshold)

All I'm saying is that conservatives should give McCain a thorough second look. The man has convictions unlike Romney, who changes his opinion every two seconds. Furthermore, he is far more conservative then Giuliani could ever be. Yes, John McCain is flat out wrong on some issues, I wont make excuses for it, however, he has much more in common with conservatism then not. Besides, he is the only candidate running for president who has actually sacrificed blood, sweat and tears for this country. He deserves the nomination and the presidency in my opinion. The Republican Party usually gives the nod to the "next in line" historically anyway.

As far as McCain not attending prior conservative gatherings...CPAC--he should have been there, but with respect to CLUB for Growth, the man was in Iraq.....so sue him, besides the fact that the CFG has made considerable attacks on him throughout the years, thus McCain owes them nothing! Romney has had the Straw Polls rigged, there was no reason for him to even go, but he did have considerable town hall meetings instead, and he is announcing on wednesday in the Palmetto State.







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