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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

God and Mike Huckabee in South Carolina

In her new and very useful American Prospect weekly feature The FundamentaList, Sarah Posner scores an interview with Southern Baptist Convention president Frank Page (a South Carolinian), who talks about growing evangelical conservative support for Mike Huckabee. She also reports that Huckabee’s just won the presidential straw poll at a gathering of the Palmetto Family Council, a state-based satellite of James Dobson’s Focus on the Family empire.
The locus of these developments is significant because South Cackalacki is crucial to the long-shot scenario for a Huckabee nomination. His hopes would depend on a very strong showing in Iowa (a second place finish to Mitt Romney would do the trick nicely), a decent finish in NH (where his radical views on the federal tax system might strike a chord), and then a real breakthrough in SC, a state perfectly designed for his candidate profile. SC is also crucial, of course, to fellow-southerner Fred Thompson, and one big question is whether Fred’s standing will be heavily damaged in earlier contests.
On the other hand, the Michigan and Florida side-shows, which will apparently go forward as significant contests among Republicans if not Democrats, are a real problem for a candidate like Huckabee, who probably won’t have the money to compete in either. And that’s why it’s crucial for him that the calendar shift to move NH ahead of MI, and SC ahead of FL. If the stars all align for the Arkansan, strong and visible support from SC conservative evangelicals could be a matter of political life or death for him.

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