A Huckabee-McCain Deal?--UPDATE | Arkansas Blog

Monday, December 31, 2007

A Huckabee-McCain Deal?--UPDATE

Posted By on Mon, Dec 31, 2007 at 7:04 PM

At today's press conference, Mike Huckabee said that the moment in the campaign that made him make the negative ads that will never run was Mitt Romney's New Hampshire attacks on "an American hero," John McCain.   It leads one to wonder whether some sort of deal is being cooked up between McCain and Huckabee in the caucuses here.  Thoughts on that on the jump.

To remain a viable candidate in a precinct caucus, any candidate has to get 15% support among caucusgoers.   In many precincts, McCain--who is polling just at that percentage statewide--will not achieve viability.  And, in more upscale urban/suburban neighborhoods, Huckabee may also have difficulty getting to that percentage.   Most important, they share a common enemy: Mitt Romney.   Huckabee obviously has to win in Iowa for his still-fragile momentum to stay alive.  And, McCain needs to slow Romney down coming into next week's New Hampshire primary which is likely his last stand.   Will there be a formal deal made between Huckabee and McCain lieutenants between now and Thursday?   Just as importantly, since Huckabee has little direct control over his borrowed organizations in Iowa (home schoolers and faith-based organizations), can he give them any such direction if a deal is cut?

UPDATE: Times associate editor John Williams correctly notes that the viability rules don't apply on the GOP side.   The GOP caucuses now are simply straw polls with one person, one vote.  The rules do get more complicated--and viability pops into the picture--at the later stages of the delegate selection process, but that won't happen on Thursday.  The basic truth about Huckabee and McCain's shared interest in Huckabee winning on Thursday applies and some sort of "deal"--with McCain true believers strategically supporting Huckabee so Romney's momentum will be stymied in advance of New Hampshire--might still make sense for the Senator from Arizona.

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