I’m not surprised, not even a little bit. Okay, that’s a lie, because I didn’t expect Huckabee to hand Romney a near 10% trouncing like that, but I’m not really surprised that he won. Nor am I surprised that Rudy placed under Ron Paul, since Rudy pretty much abandoned Iowa and New Hampshire to campaign in other states.
With 95 percent of Republican precincts reporting, Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas, had the support of 34 percent of voters, compared to 25 percent for Romney. Fred Thompson had 13 percent, McCain had 13 percent and Ron Paul had 10 percent.
Rudy had something like 4%, IIRC.
But what does it all mean? Well, depends on whose campaign we’re talking about here. For Huckabee, it means that his campaign will probably get a decent cash injection heading into New Hampshire and South Carolina. He’s packed an awful lot of momentum on suddenly, which is good because early polls show Romney with a lead in New Hampshire.
Gov. Huckabee’s win hurts Romney the most, because it also represents the fact that the evangelical Republicans are pretty much rejecting him outright for Huckabee. Fred Thompson and John McCain’s campaigns aren’t affected as much as one might think, because a win in Iowa does not mean that one will carry the rest of the primaries.
On the Democrat side, I think my wife had the best comment as to why women voters abandoned Hillary in favor of Obama. She said “It’s Oprah. As soon as she backed Obama openly, it was over.” Cynical as that statement might be, I can’t but help feel like there’s a bit of truth to it.
Back to the Republican race, I really think that coming into Iowa, people were selling Gov. Huckabee short. There are more than a few people who would like to pretend that the Republican party’s base isn’t composed of self described evangelical Christians; people who apparently are (at least in Iowa) going to be voting for Huckabee. Of course, New Hampshire is a different animal entirely from Iowa, and will present a different sort of challenge for Gov. Huckabee to wrest from Romney.
I would have like for Fred Thompson to win, I really would have. I felt like he was the true conservative candidate for the Republican party, but I don’t think that he’s going to pull it out now. I may not agree with all of Gov. Huckabee’s positions, but I do believe that he’s certainly a better option than any of the remaining field of candidates. Romney, Rudy, and McCain all have held positions that I cannot support at all; Huckabee at least seems as though he’s interested in moving forward and not playing partisan politics.