The GOP presidential frontrunners -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney -- don’t need wins in New Hampshire to carry on a campaign.
And they don’t necessarily need Iowa.
Certainly, winning one or the other or even both would be a roundhouse boost to either candidate.
But the stakes are much bigger for the current crop of also-rans -- those who are polling behind Perry and Romney and are targeting their campaigns in one-, two- or three-state strategies in the hopes of living to campaign another day.
But the struggling Tier 2 candidates -- Jon Huntsman, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich -- desperately, desperately need to win or do real well in New Hampshire or Iowa.
If they don’t it’s good night, lights out, thanks for coming.
Santorum, the former Pennsylvania U.S. senator, is engaged in a two-state strategy of Iowa with its caucuses and New Hampshire with its first-in-the-nation primary, with the hope of then having enough momentum (and money) to then compete in South Carolina.
Minnesota congresswoman Bachmann, who was riding high in June, is barely hanging on to single digit polling numbers. She’s all but abandoned a campaign in New Hampshire to focus exclusively on Iowa, where she hopes her conservative tea party soul-mates will give her a big boost.
Gingrich will concentrate on Iowa and New Hampshire. As Real Clear Politics noted
recently: “After running a centralized, bare-bones operation out of its Northern Virginia headquarters, Gingrich’s campaign is set to branch out and expand where it matters. Aides plan to open offices in Iowa and New Hampshire in mid-October and will move field staffers to both early voting states.”
Jon Huntsman, too, is narrowly focused -- only on New Hampshire. This, according to Politico
, “is a strategic shift — from national candidate with a multi-state strategy to single-state underdog focused on New Hampshire.”
Romney and Perry have the financial and organization muscle to run national campaigns. Ron Paul too looks like he will have enough staying power.
They can be in New Hampshire and Iowa, but then make the appearances in South Carolina, Nevada, and Florida.
You’ll see both Romney and Perry in the weeks ahead, Romney probably more than Perry.
Romney has established and managed to keep a bit of a native son appeal against Perry, who came into the race only recently and hasn’t been fully embraced by the more moderate electorate.