Giuliani Blog Tracking the likely Presidential candidacy of Rudy Giuliani

Friday, July 07, 2006

South Carolina Strategy: Kos Lays It All Out for Us

VERY interesting and long letter on Daily Kos about the personalities in South Carolina Republican politics, and why McCain might not be able to buy the S.C. primary. Basically the gist of it is this: McCain guys Sen. Graham and Gov. Sanford managed to get themselves elected statewide, but the people who really run the show don't like them and will stop at nothing to stop McCain and embarrass Sanford and Graham.

Let's start with McCain's chief strategist, Rick Quinn:
Rick Quinn is McCain's man in South Carolina. Lately, he has been getting his ass kicked. He was the majority leader in the State House and lost a primary election in 2004. In 2006, he tried to get back in the game with a run for State Treasurer and finished third behind Thomas Ravenel (who we will come back to in a minute). Rod Shealy is the darling right now--he is running Thomas Ravenel's show and has been adept and cutting Quinn to pieces whenever he gets a chance. The prince of darkness himself is Warren Thompkins though--he was David Wilkins' man, the former House leader, Bush friend, and current Ambassador to Canada. Wilkins hates Sanford. Hates him. Can barely say his name. Wilkins and Warren Thompkins ran South Carolina for Bush--of course there were the Washington heavy weights that came down for that too-Tom Ridge, Grover, and our boy Ralph.
More on national implications:
Let's go back to the national implications--Sanford supported McCain in 2000 along with Lindsey Graham. That pissed off Wilkins and Thompkins big time. They think that he'll do it again in 2008 which worries them.In fact, Chris Allen, a former personal aide to Gov. Mark Sanford, has signed on to work as a full-time field director for Sen. John McCain's Straight Talk America. If they can take him out of contention now then they get to pick who the 2008 nominee will be. Currently, as I
have mentioned before, Sanford's campaign manager is George Allen's man Jason Miller. The Good Ol' Boys like Allen and he did wonders for DeMint in 2004.
The axis of evil as far as this primary is concerned are Quinn, Graham (now does McCain's covert moderate dirty work in the Senate) and Sanford (nothing against the man -- thought he'd make a great VP for Rudy). The good guys are Wilkins, Tompkins, Ravenel, and to some extent DeMint. Tompkins was recently part of a delegation that met with Rudy, and I'd like to hear more about Barry Wynn's role in all this (he seems to be Rudy's #1 guy in the state).

It sounds like these guys may line up behind Allen to prevent McCain from going anywhere. And that may be fine. Going for an outright Giuliani win in South Carolina might be too much 50-state-strategyish to work. If McCain finishes third or fourth in Iowa, doesn't meet expectations in New Hampshire, and loses South Carolina, he's done. (S.C. was John Edwards' only primary win in '04.) Allen might be a good stalking horse to deliver the knockout blow, until he fades when people realize he can't beat Hillary.

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