McCain Clinches Nomination

With a full board sweep of the primary contests today, Senator John McCain of Arizona will be his party’s nominee in the General Election.

At this point, the contests had become something of a formality as John McCain rolled easily beyond the necessary 1,191 delegates required to guarantee the nomination.  The only other remaining challenger in the race, Mike Huckabee, picked up steam in the beginning of primary voting with a surprise win in the Iowa caucuses, yet failed to provide any kind of significant block to the juggernaut that the McCain campaign eventually became.

It has been an interesting contest, with the last two men standing both all but written off at one point or another during the preseason.  McCain suffered heavy support losses due largely to a bloated campaign mechanism and his championing of an immigration bill that was extremely unpopular with the Republican base.  He had entered the race as something as the presumptive nominee, but by midway through last year, most pundits were already calling him an also-ran.

Mike Huckabee, by contrast, didn’t even have a solid start behind him.  To be totally honest, I was with most of the punditry, professional and amateur, that simply didn’t pay the governor from Arkansas much attention.  Huck, though, managed to drum up great amounts of support among the religious base of the Republican party, and used that support to catapult him into the top tier.

And to think, by summer of last year it was looking to be Romney vs. Giuliani with maybe Fred Thompson if he ever got around to announcing a run.

But we know how their fates have turned.  Giuliani was sunk by three distinct items.  Overplaying the 9-11 card turned his campaign into a running parody, potential scandals began to paint news headlines as we neared the first contests in the primary, and he employed the Florida strategy wherein he ignored the early voting states in favor of a rousing victory down South that never came.

Romney employed an exact opposite strategy, eschewing any kind of national campaign in the hopes that strong showings in the early states of Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina would propel him to the frontrunner spot.  He was tripped up, though, when Huckabee ended up taking the spot as the Iowa spoiler, disrupting Romney’s game plan, and ultimately sinking his presidential aspirations.

Fred Thompson simply was stricken with a kind of malaise from beginning to end.  He had pushed off his announcement multiple times, critically missing a window of opportunity when anticipation for his presidential bid was at its highest.  Once in the race, Thompson never really developed the kind of vigor in campaigning that was needed in order to be a major player.  While he was well liked among conservatives, he simply didn’t work hard enough to win their support, and his status as a candidate didn’t even last until Super Tuesday.

This set up the eventual two man race that ended today.  After a while few people understood why Huckabee stayed in the race after his chances of winning the race were effectively obliterated by an insurmountable delegate deficit, but he kept up the fight until the very end.

With McCain clinching the nomination, Huckabee has conceded the contest during the writing of this article.

Tomorrow President Bush will officially endorse McCain.

I wanted to extend my congratulations to John McCain, and I look forward to us beating him in the fall.

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