McCain’s victory in Florida spells trouble for Romney and curtains for Guiliani:
With 97 percent of Republican precincts reporting, McCain held a 36-31 percent lead over former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Giuliani had 15 percent of the vote, followed closely by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee who held 14 percent.”
While Giuliani didn’t say he was withdrawing from the race, he did speak of his campaign in the past tense at one point. “I’m proud I ran a positive campaign,” he told supporters. “I ran a campaign that was uplifting.” A top campaign official from McCain’s camp has been in “ongoing discussions” with Giuliani’s campaign about endorsing McCain’s candidacy, a GOP official familiar with talks told CNN Tuesday. A source close to Giuliani confirmed that discussions were taking place and said there is talk among the staff that an endorsement could come Wednesday in California. The source said McCain and Giuliani need to talk, but “we are working to make it happen.”
And what about Romney?
Polling as people left voting stations showed McCain won among Republican moderates, Hispanics, Florida’s numerous older voters and people who ranked the economy as their top issue, while Romney relied on a solid backing from conservatives and people troubled by illegal immigration and abortion.
This fits into Romney’s old campaign strategy:
From the start, Mitt Romney had a clear strategy for winning the White House. He would run as the candidate of the ideological establishment, the Republican old-guard, the coalition of Ronald Reagan, with that three-legged stool of social, fiscal and national security conservatism. He would become the inside man in a presidential field filled with outsiders… And yet, his candidacy sputtered… Romney may be running to lead a Republican Party that no longer exists.
What is Romney’s new strategy?
The new Romney strategy has two clear components. First, the campaign is determined to marginalize Huckabee, who continues to poll well in many southern states, bleeding off votes from the vital socially conservative leg of the Romney’s stool… Second, Romney will spend much of the next week trying to drum up old conservative distrust of McCain…