Fred Thompson put away the “lazy” mantle last night. He showed that he wanted to be president. If he was looking to get the NRO type conservatives on his side, then last night was the exact right thing to do. If he had run in New Hampshire and done this after Iowa then it would have worked.
But he has chosen the wrong time with the wrong people. We evangelicals have identified Huckabee as one of our own. His over-the-top attacks on Mike don’t inspire our admiration, they annoy us. Huckabee has already been attacked as a liberal, those who support him now have heard those attacks and rejected them. Therefore, attacking him on the same issues isn’t going to cut into his support.
The people that Fred inspired are those that don’t like Huckabee – and those people were going to vote for McCain, not Huckabee. All that Thompson did was cut into McCain’s vote. This is more likely to help Huckabee. Thompson may end up coming in as a strong third, but he just switched the order of the McCain-Huckabee first and second.
This is all predicated on Romney being out of the running in 4 days.
ME: Fred obviously thinks he can get Huck voters, but I don’t have enough knowledge of South Carolina politics to say one way or another.
I’m a resident of the Upstate of South Carolina. You mentioned you were trying to figure out who Fred’s activities would cut more into. I feel fairly safe to say, that if they cut into either McCain or Huckabee, they will cut into McCain’s.
The key thing to watch out for where the candidates campaign over the next week. I would expect Huckabee to walk away with a plurality of the GOP voter rich Upstate – home of Rep. Bob Inglis and the family of popular former Governor and representative of Inglis district, and Huckabee supporters, the Carroll Campbell family.
If McCain and Thompson exlusively campaign in Columbia and southeast-ward, they are reaching the same voters, and I would expect Thompson to cut into McCain’s voters.