McCain NOT Locking Up Bush Rangers & Pioneers
The stratospheric rise in McCain's "chances" of winning the nomination both in Tradesports and conventional wisdom more broadly can be traced back to a few stories this winter suggesting that McCain was locking up early insider support, and particularly among Bush's Rangers and Pioneers.
Trouble is, it wasn't true.
Cillizza runs down actual Ranger and Pioneer commitments to '08 candidates and finds McCain trailing both Mitt Romney and D.O.A. Bill Frist. Rudy and George Allen, both of whom stand to do well in the money race, have been actively courting these people but haven't sought any commitments. Earlier in the year, Giuliani hired Anne Dickerson, director of Rangers and Pioneers for Bush's '04 campaign.
Only a small number of these early money folks have committed. What we do know is that most of them will want to back a winner, and expect a major surge to anyone who looks good in early '07. But given that the "smart money" was supposed to be on McCain, this analysis turns conventional wisdom about McCain's early strength on its head.