Republican presidential prospects in Iowa for 2012

The decision won't be final until the Republican National Committee's summer meeting in August, but it appears likely that the Iowa caucuses will remain the first presidential nominating contest in 2012. This week the RNC's Temporary Delegate Selection Committee recommended adopting a rule that would allow only Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada to hold primaries or caucuses before March 6, 2012. Click here to read the rule, which would also require all states that hold nominating contests before April 2010 to award their delegates proportionally, rather than through a winner-take-all system that is typical for the Republican Party.

So, Iowa will continue to be a frequent travel stop for Republicans considering a presidential bid. It's been six months since I last discussed the prospects of likely challengers to President Obama in Iowa. New speculation is after the jump.

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Weekend open thread

What's on your mind this weekend?

I am horrified by the plane crash that wiped out so many influential past and present citizens of Poland. If you're wondering why the Polish elite were flying on a Soviet aircraft, apparently it was faster than the planes other countries use for similar purposes.

Many prominent Iowa Republicans and candidates are attending Representative Steve "10 Worst" King's "Defenders of Freedom" dinner, featuring Representative Michele Bachmann. King grabbed the blogosphere's attention this week by slamming the Humane Society as "vegetarians with an agenda."

I've been reading some clips on the Southern Republican Leadership Conference this weekend. Although the event is in New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina was very much off the radar. Sarah Palin electrified the crowd yesterday, but the presidential straw poll ended up nearly tied between Mitt Romney and Ron Paul. I was amused to read this snapshot of Republican family values:

just overheard a mom tell her young daughter at #SRLC, "No, we don't support Medicaid. Medicaid is for losers."

Michael Steele seems secure in his job as Republican National Committee Chairman for now. 58 RNC members are publicly supporting him, "a tally that makes it mathematically impossible for Steele to be removed from his job before his term expires next year, barring some unforeseen implosion."

For the record, I wouldn't rule out an unforeseen implosion.

The floor is yours.

How Obama Can Win Utah (Without a 20% National Victory)

By: Inoljt,


Democratic candidates in Utah must feel as if they're facing an impossible task. The state is often considered the most far-right Republican stronghold in the United States. Winning Utah is akin to slaying a mighty dragon with only a bow as one's chosen weapon.

Like all dragons, however, Utah has a weak spot. The year 2012 may be a ripe time for Obama to shoot an arrow through it.

The majority of Utah's voters are Mormon; the religion is a heavy influence on daily life in the state. The vast majority of Mormons are also conservative, because Mormonism is an inherently conservative beast. In every presidential election so far, Mormons have proved to be strongly Republican.

Mormons like to think of themselves as average, normal Americans. They're good people. They help with the community. They love their children and teach them traditional values. Nobody cares if they have a different religion.

Except many people do care very much indeed, especially the type of person who tends to vote Republican. Many would never vote for a Mormon.

Imagine the following scenario, below the flip.

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Huckabee Wins Values Voter Straw Poll

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee was the first choice of participants in a straw poll held today at the Values Voter Summit sponsored by the lobbying arm of the Family Research Council. Huckabee, a Baptist preacher who finished second in total delegates in the GOP nomination contest last year, took 28 percent in the straw poll easily outpacing the other presumed contenders for the GOP nomination in 2012.

Second place was effectively a four-way tie between former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who ran for president in 2008 finishing third; Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty; former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee; and Indiana Congressman Mike Pence. Each of these received between between 12.4 and 11.9 percent of the vote.

Rounding out the field were former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, the favorite of 6.7 percent of straw poll voters; Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal at 4.7 percent; former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum with 2.5 percent; Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, with just 2.2 percent.

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Mass. House Approves Senate Appointment Bill

Per the Associated Press:

Mass. House approves bill letting governor name interim successor to late Sen. Edward Kennedy.

Perhaps Mike Dukakis will go to Washington 20 years after his 8-point presidential election loss. More as we hear it...

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