Huckabee Working To Bring Down Romney – Update: Maybe Not?

At this point, it’s clear that Huckabee doesn’t think all too highly of Romney and the tension between them is getting more heated. It appears, from studying all the national polls, that Mike Huckabee is killing Romney’s chances at taking down McCain. Just look at the national Real Clear Politics average on every page of this site on left side. Romney is 20 points down from McCain. Those 20 points are currently being eaten by Huckabee. Without Huckabee, Romney might stand a real good chance of being the big winner on Super Tuesday.

In that context, Romney has called on Huckabee to drop out, story from Action 3 News:

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney is calling on Mike Huckabee to drop out of the race.

Romney has recently expressed concern that Huckabee will peel off enough conservatives to deprive him of victory over McCain in Super Tuesday’s Republican nomination contests in 21 states.

Huckabee, appearing on CNN, says the suggestion was “ludicrous,” noting that only a fraction of the delegates needed to win the Republican presidential nomination had been apportioned thus far.

To that, Huckabee basically responded calling Romney everything short of a jackass. He really is a bit spiteful that Romney asserts he should drop out. The story comes from Political Punch:

But in Macon, Ga., Huckabee — clearly itchin’ for a fight — said Romney had suggested “that maybe I should pull out of the race.”

Per ABC News’ Kevin “Chupkabee” Chupka, Huckabee said, “I thought it was pretty arrogant and presumptuous the other night for him to suggest that, if Ronald Reagan were voting, that he’d be voting for Mitt Romney, and even more arrogant and presumptuous for him to assume that, if people were not voting for me, that they’d be voting for him, and the idea that my voters would go to him is nonsense.

“My voters are voting for me because I have a consistent pro-life record, he doesn’t. They are voting for me because I’m strong on the 2nd amendment, and he isn’t. … My voters aren’t people who would necessarily gravitate to him, so he needs me to stay in this race, because quite frankly, I’m not sure he’s going to get many of the voters who vote for me.”

I truly believe that candidates like Huckabee, and perhaps McCain to some extent, are deeply angry toward Romney because they see him as trying to “buy” the nomination. To that, it seems Huckabee is willing to stay in the race just to give McCain the victory and keep Romney from advancing.

I think it goes deeper as well in that neither McCain nor Huckabee are the favorite of the true conservative base in the Republican Party. Romney has been handed the conservative mantle and I think that’s another reason Huckabee is trying to spite him.

What will result is McCain being the nominee based on independent voters and Huckabee sharing conservatives with Romney. Of registered Republican voters, Romney has won more votes such as in New Hampshire and Florida where McCain was carried by independents.


After a whirlwind of comment activity and some interesting discussion, I decided to revisit this.

One commenter mentioned this article from Michael Medved on Below I pasted an excerpt of his strongest argument knocking down the notion that Huckabee is taking votes from Romney:

Here’s the SLAM DUNK regarding the stupid argument that if only Huck dropped out, Mitt would surge to victory:

All of the three major national polls taken in the last three days (Fox News, ABC/Washington Post and Gallup) show that even if every single voter who backs Huckabee, switched to Romney (an impossibility, of course), McCain still wins across the country. The numbers, if you’re interested, of McCain supporters vs. the combined total of Romney and Huckabee supporters — 48 to 39% (Fox News), 48 to 40% (ABC News/Washington Post) and 43 to 42% (Gallup). Meanwhile, all indications are that for many of the Huck-a-nuts—perhaps even a majority – their second choice would be McCain, not Romney.

As to Mitt Romney, he is certainly a good man and a good candidate and a strong standard bearer for conservatives. Those who back Mitt deserve respect, and should proudly work hard for their guy on Tuesday.

But don’t pretend that McCain is only winning because divisions among conservatives have allowed some squishy moderate to sneak to victory.

It’s true that conservatives are divided in the upcoming primaries.

Some (perhaps a plurality) back Mitt Romney, a strong conservative.

Some back Mike Huckabee, a strong (though much maligned) conservative.

And some of us back John McCain, as the strongest and most consistent conservative in the race.

May the best man win.

That’s a very intriguing article and Medved makes interesting points. Could it be true that Huckabee is actually taking votes from McCain, not Romney? Is it possible that if Huckabee drops out, McCain would beat Romney even worse? Perhaps Romney is just suffering from the fact that his record is all over the map more so than a split among conservatives.

If what Medved says is the case, Romney is doomed no matter what happens and McCain will go on to take the nomination with ease.