Insiders: Gingrich, Paul Favored in Iowa, But Not for Nomination
After months of the most volatile presidential nominating campaign in recent history, the first voting is nearly ready to begin. National Journal's Political Insiders on both sides of the aisle are predicting a Jan. 3 Iowa Caucus win by either former House Speaker Newt Gingrich or Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas. Few, however, believe either man will go on to capture the 2012 nomination.
|Which Republican presidential candidate will win the Iowa Caucus on Jan. 3rd?|
|Which Republican presidential candidate will win the GOP nomination for 2012?|
While some analysts have questioned whether Gingrich can win in Iowa without the benefit of a deep field organization, many Insiders said organization wasn't the key this time around.
"The importance of field organizing in Iowa has diminished dramatically in the last three cycles," said one Democratic Insider. "It's about momentum, and Newt has it."
"Organization can make the difference when all other things are equal, but they're not," agreed another Democrat. "Republicans are looking for a true conservative, someone who can channel their utter contempt for President Obama, and Mitt [Romney] ain't it."
Several Republican Insiders cited the timing of Newt's surge as a boon in Iowa, but not one likely to carry into the rest of the nominating contest.
"Newt is peaking at just the right time," said one Republican. Another added, "Right now, Gingrich is riding on raw energy, and that will put him over the top in Iowa, but it probably won't sustain him through New Hampshire and South Carolina."
"Newt wins," said a third Republican, "and becomes the latest in a long line of winners who quickly fade in states with a real political process."
About a third of the Insiders predicted the Iowa winner would actually be Ron Paul.
"Paul's support is steadier than the other candidates, and conservatives (Santorum, Bachmann, Perry) will take some of Gingrich's support," said a Democratic Insider.
"Paul marries passion with organization," said a Republican. "His folks will turn out no matter what."
A Democrat predicting a Paul win in Iowa saw the practical victory going to another candidate: "Best for Romney: Romney wins. Almost as good: Ron Paul wins."
Despite the latest gyrations in early state polling, the vast majority of Insiders on both sides of the political spectrum still believe Romney is likely to win the nomination...eventually.
"This is a tough call," said one Democrat. "But Romney wins in a drawn-out and protracted cross-country struggle with Gingrich." Another Democrat called the Romney and Gingrich match-up "Classic tortoise/hare. Could take most of the spring, like Obama/Clinton."
"Built for the long haul, Romney survives early and rolls late," agreed a Republican.
Several Insiders predicted a Gingrich meltdown that would leave Romney the ultimate victor.
"The national media will have a feeding frenzy once Newt wins Iowa," said a Democratic Insider. "It will throw the entire nominating process into turmoil. Romney will be the last man standing."
Some Republicans shared that view, but paired it with concerns about Romney's general election prospects.
"Newt will ultimately blow himself up," said one, "and Romney will become the Bob Dole of 2012." Lamented another, "Sadly, out of a pathetic field, Romney will be voted least pathetic. Unfortunately, he's also least likely to beat Obama."
A few Insiders are convinced Gingrich will be the GOP choice in the long haul. "Republicans are more in the mood for someone who will tell Washington to stick it," explained one Republican Insider. A Democrat added, "Newt has to like the map right now. Insiders are counting on him to mess up, and that is no strategy to beat him."
Along the same lines, a Republican who expects Romney to take the nomination put his feelings this way: "Still willing to bet on Newt self-destructing. Just hope it's in February instead of September."
Democrats: Jill Alper, John Anzalone, Brad Bannon, Dave Beattie, Andy Bechhoefer, Cornell Belcher, Matt Bennett, Mitchell W. Berger, Mike Berman, Stephanie Bosh, Paul Brathwaite, Donna Brazile, Mark Brewer, Ed Bruley, George Bruno, Bonnie Campbell, Bill Carrick, Guy Cecil, Martin J. Chavez, Tony Coelho, Larry Cohen, Jerry Crawford, Brendan Daly, Jeff Danielson, Peter Daou, Howard Dean, Scott DeFife, Jim Demers, Tad Devine, David Di Martino, Debbie Dingell, Monica Dixon, Patrick Dorton, Pat Dujakovich, Anita Dunn, Jeff Eller, Steve Elmendorf, Carter Eskew, Vic Fazio, Peter Fenn, Scott Ferson, Jim Fleischmann, Tina Flournoy, Don Foley, Jeffrey Forbes, Vincent Frillici, Gina Glantz, Niles Godes, John Michael Gonzalez, Joe Grandmaison, Anna Greenberg, Stan Greenberg, Pat Griffin, Larry Grisolano, Michael Gronstal, Lisa Grove, Marcia Hale, Jill Hanauer, Dick Harpootlian, Paul Harstad, Laura Hartigan, Doug Hattaway, Mike Henry, Karen Hicks, Leo Hindery Jr., Harold Ickes, Marcus Jadotte, John Jameson, Steve Jarding, Jonathon Jones, Jim Jordan, Gale Kaufman, Lisa Kountoupes, Celinda Lake, David Lang, Penny Lee, Chris Lehane, Jeff Link, Bob Maloney, Jim Manley, Steve Marchand, Jim Margolis, Paul Maslin, Keith Mason, Susan McCue, Gerald McEntee, Steve McMahon, Tom McMahon, Phil McNamara, David Medina, Michael Meehan, Mark Mellman, John Merrigan, Michael Monroe, Steve Murphy, Janet Napolitano, David Nassar, Marcia Nichols, John Norris, Tom Ochs, Tom O'Donnell, Jeffrey Peck, Debora Pignatelli, Tony Podesta, Jefrey Pollock, Jack Quinn, Larry Rasky, Mame Reiley, Ed Rendell, Steve Ricchetti, Will Robinson, Steve Rosenthal, David Rudd, Ryan Rudominer, John Ryan, Michael Sargeant, Stephanie Schriock, Terry Shumaker, Sean Sinclair, Phil Singer, Erik Smith, Doug Sosnik, Greg Speed, Darry Sragow, Ken Strasma, Doug Thornell, Jeffrey Trammell, Ed Turlington, Rick Wiener, James Williams, JoDee Winterhof, Brian Wolff, Jon Youngdahl, and Jim Zogby.
Republicans: Dan Allen, Stan Anderson, Gary Andres, Saulius (Saul) Anuzis, Rich Ashooh, Whit Ayres, Brett Bader, Mitch Bainwol, Brian Baker, Gary Bauer, David Beckwith, Paul Bennecke, Clark Benson, Wayne Berman, Brian Bieron, Charlie Black, Kirk Blalock, Carmine Boal, Jeff Boeyink, Ron Bonjean, Jeff Buley, Luke Byars, Nick Calio, Al Cardenas, Danny Carroll, Alex Castellanos, Ron Christie, Jim Cicconi, Jonathan Collegio, Rob Collins, Cesar Conda, Jake Corman, Scott Cottington, Jay Cranford, Greg Crist, Diane Crookham-Johnson, Fergus Cullen, Tom Davis, Mike Dennehy, Ken Duberstein, Debi Durham, Sara Fagen, Frank Fahrenkopf, John Feehery, Don Fierce, Mindy Finn, Mindy Fletcher, Carl Forti, Alex Gage, Bruce A. Gates, Sam Geduldig, Adam Geller, Benjamin Ginsberg, David Girard-diCarlo, Bill Greener, Jonathan Grella, Lanny Griffith, Janet Mullins Grissom, Doug Gross, Todd Harris, Steve Hart, Christopher Healy, Ralph Hellmann, Chris Henick, Terry Holt, David Iannelli, Ed Ingle, Jim Innocenzi, Clark Judge, David Keating, David Kensinger, Bob Kjellander, Ed Kutler, Chris LaCivita, Jim Lake, Steven Law, Steve Lombardo, Kevin Madden, Joel Maiola, Gary Maloney, David Marin, Mary Matalin, Dan Mattoon, Brian McCormack, Mark McKinnon, Kyle McSlarrow, Ken Mehlman, Jim Merrill, Lisa Camooso Miller, Tim Morrison, Mike Murphy, Phil Musser, Ron Nehring, Terry Nelson, Neil Newhouse, David Norcross, Ziad Ojakli, Jack Oliver, Todd Olsen, Kevin O'Neill, Connie Partoyan, Billy Piper, Van B. Poole, Tom Rath, Scott Reed, David Rehr, Tom Reynolds, Steve Roberts, Jason Roe, David Roederer, Dan Schnur, Russ Schriefer, Rich Schwarm, Brent Seaborn, Rick Shelby, Andrew Shore, Kevin Shuvalov, Don Sipple, Ken Spain, Fred Steeper, Bob Stevenson, Terry Sullivan, David Tamasi, Eric Tanenblatt, Richard Temple, Heath Thompson, Jay Timmons, Warren Tompkins, Ted Van Der Meid, Dirk van Dongen, Jan van Lohuizen, Stewart Verdery, Dick Wadhams, John Weaver, Lezlee Westine, Dave Winston, Ginny Wolfe, Fred Wszolek, and Matthew Zablud.