In a dramatic head-to-head contest that will win huge attention
throughout the political world, I now believe that Ron Paul will defeat
Mitt Romney in the Virginia primary. The implications could be enormous.
This result would dramatize the fact that a majority of Republican
primary voters favor a candidate more conservative than Mitt Romney.
This prospect could also inspire the mother of all money bombs for the
Ron Paul campaign.
If I were the campaign manager for the Gingrich and Santorum campaigns, I would be suggesting that all conservatives vote for Ron Paul in Virginia. Ditto the conservative movement leaders from all conservative points of view and throughout the conservative media.
So far, the pundit debate has largely missed the point that Mitt Romney has hovered between 26 percent and 38 percent in various state votes and polls. It is ridiculous for anyone to suggest "this race is over" or "this race will soon be over" (as many pundits wrongly have) because, obviously, the nominee will need 50 percent-plus-one of all delegates. I emphasize delegates.
What is certainly unique about Virginia, so far, is the prospect of a straight Ron Paul versus Mitt Romney contest, with no other candidates. If this does not change, the Virginia vote will be a pure play of Romney versus Paul, and also a contest purely of Romney versus the conservative movement, which I would expect to unify behind Paul for the Virginia vote.
This pure play will dramatically increase media coverage for Ron, because the Virginia race will take on a life of its own as a unique head-to-head battle. This will provide fundraising opportunities for Paul going into, and coming out of, the Virginia vote. This will boost whatever role Ron Paul chooses to play, whether it becomes convention player, kingmaker or third-party candidate.
What conservatives have long needed is a one-on-one battle with Romney. Virginia will give it to them. This alone should generate maximum publicity and benefit for the winner in Virginia.
So watch the results in Florida, but do not believe anyone who tells you the campaign is over, no matter who wins Florida.
This battle goes on to Super Tuesday at least, and probably longer.
On the matter of the vote in Virginia, Ron Paul and Mitt Romney are headed to a High Noon showdown that I now believe Ron Paul will win.