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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Tanc in the Tank: What Tom Tacredo's Endorsement of Mitt Romney Means to the Iowa Race

Tom Tancredo, deciding to end his pursuit for the GOP nomination, endorsed Mitt Romney today:
“At this point in time, (Romney) is the best hope for our cause,” Tancredo said during a news conference in downtown Des Moines.

The cause that vaulted the Colorado congressman into the race –– illegal immigration –– also motivated him to abandon his pursuit of the nomination, Tancredo said.

His continued presence in an election he could not win, he said, may have helped the campaigns of Gov. Mike Huckabee and Sen. John McCain –– candidates Tancredo says are soft on immigration.

Dianne Bystrom, an Iowa State University political science professor, said Tancredo’s exit and endorsement of Romney could shake up the volatile Republican field.

“Tancredo throwing his support behind Romney comes at a key time when Romney is trying to fight off the surge of Mike Huckabee,” she said. “For Romney, it probably couldn’t have come at a better time.”

. . .

Tancredo and Romney met for about an hour today prior to the announcements, Tancredo said. He opted to support Romney after he was reassured that he had clarified his position on immigration.

Tancredo has questioned Romney’s sincerity on the issue in the past, but said Thursday he’s convinced Romney would secure the border, prosecute employers of illegal immigrants, and make those who are here illegally return to their native countries.
Another source had this to say:
. . . his endorsement of Romney could prove a powerful validator of the former governor's bona fides on the issue.

Of the Tancredo endorsement, Romney said: " While we don't agree on every issue, we agree on the need to keep America strong. I look forward to working with him and other Republicans to achieve that end."

Yet another take:
Tancredo said he did not agree with Romney on all issues, but believes that the governor has a "solid record" on immigration issues and can "go the distance."
The reactions around the bloggosphere have been vaired. Case in point: this Race 4 2008 post and comments section where supporters of other candidates reacted with either dissing Tancredo himself, alleging some quid pro quo was involved, or saying that it is an insignificant endorsement (I love the ones who allege some quid pro quo because they seem to be admitting that Romney will not just win the nomination but will become President!)

But How Does This Effect the Voting (especially in Iowa)?
The most trusted Iowa poll (The Des Moines Register) showed Tancredo with support of 6% of likely caucus goers as of just 3 weeks ago. In most other recent Iowa polls he's been registering 1-4% support. Obviously, former Tancredo supporters are not going to march en bloc into the Romney camp. But to those voters there is no question what the most important issue is . . . halting illegal immigration. They're not going to be voting for Huckabee, McCain, or Giuliani though some may go to Duncan Hunter, Ron Paul, or Fred (in light of Rep. Steve King's confusing endorsement . . . where it seems that he really wanted to/meant to endorse Romney). However, I think many (if not most) Iowa Tancredo supporters could come over into the Romney camp and we welcome every single one of them.

But will these Tancredo supporters be motivated to caucus? Well, he did a pretty darn good job at turning them out to the Ames Straw Poll in August where he took 4th place with 14% and nearly 2000 supporters (just 600 less than 2nd place Huckabee . . . even with all the people the Fair Tax organization bused in for Huck). That 2000 figure likely represents 2-3% of total number of people caucus attendees. That's a nice potential "bump" and that doesn't even count all the Tanc supporters that didn't participate in the straw poll. It will be interesting to see if Tancredo will share the contact information of his supporters with the Romney camp. That could be a nice boon to team Romney.

But just looking at Tanc's polling numbers and supporters is potentially just a small piece of the pie that this endorsement could bring to Romney. Poll after poll after poll (and especially in Iowa, NH, and SC) show that illegal immigration is the #1 or #2 issue of importance to GOP voters. What this endorsement does is give Romney a huge stamp of approval on the #1 issue of the GOP race. This factor cannot be overstated. This will enable many voters to feel more comfortable pulling the lever for Romney and may swing many votes to Romney that are now in other camps. That's where this endorsement could really matter the most.

Actually, this is why Tancredo himself said he dropped out . . . so his immigration supporters won't be "wasted votes," and so that a weak immigration candidate (a la Huckabee, McCain, or Giuliani) can be avoided as our nominee. This was done by Tanc to help advance his own agenda . . . and I'm convinced that Mitt can and will win and advance that agenda once he becomes POTUS.

No matter how this endorsement effects voting, there's one thing this effects for sure:
[Romney now has a nice comeback to] the "Sanctuary Mansion" line: "How much of an immigration squish can I be, I was endorsed by Tancredo!"


Robinhood said...

I live in Denver - and know how important of an issue Immigration is to Tom Tancredo. I sure hope the Tancredo supporters around the country - and especially in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida etc. Get behind Romney RIGHT NOW! This is such an important election - and there's no better person out there to lead us than Mitt Romney. Iowans especially - PLEASE get word out to everyone you know, to go to their caucus on January 3rd!!! Let's make sure Mitt IS the Leading candidate coming out of Iowa! My sister and I will be there from the 1st to the 4th to help out as much as we can as well! See you there.

SGS said...

Many of us may know that Tancredo has run the single-issue campaign in this race. What many of us may not realized is that he has worked on this single issue of illegal immigration for the past 10 years. He has dedicated his life to this issue, because he believe strongly in the sovenign of our wonderful country. I would bet that there are not too many who are more expert than him on this issue. So, such an endorement matters a great deal!