Fred Thompson, a late entry into the Republican race for the nomination, has now dropped out of the race after a dismal go at the ticket. He ran a race that was so ho-hum that it turned out to be negative. Where there was much hype and excitement in and around his entry into the race, that slowly and steadily whittled down to nothing, where he wasn’t even winning a significant portion of the vote he was vying for.
That vote was the Evangelical vote, and it turned out that, in a not-so strange turn, Mike Huckabee was winning them. The former pastor was running well ahead of Thompson in the races on this vote as well as having targeted other key demographics that got him to within the top-three. Thompson failed to target any more than one group of voters, and that is why he failed.
With Thompson bowing out though, it does help Huckabee out. They are no longer vying for the same vote, and no one else is targeting the ‘religious’ vote out of Romney (Mormon), McCain (experience and national security), and Giuliani (who knows what, but he is pro-abortion and pro-gay marriage – neither of which endear him to the ‘religious right’). With the crucial Florida primary coming up for the Republicans, Mike Huckabee may see a bit of a comeback in the crystal ball – should he manage a near-mirical feat to beat Romney and McCain there.
While a former senator from Tennessee, no one remembered that in light of his pseduo-acting career after his political run. Law and Order was probably his biggest hit. That was probably going to be his biggest problem – that his celebrity career would overshadow his political one. And he did, in fact, have an impressive political career to talk about. Assistant U.S. attorney, campaign manager, minority counsel to the Senate Watergate Committee (in which he has quite an important and regarded role), Special Counsel to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Special Counsel to the Senate Intelligence Committee, then as a lobbyist, before finally entering the senate in 1993, and holding office to 2001. He had a lot of experience in a lot of fields. It’s a shame he couldn’t materialise that into votes.
I think that all his popularity sprouted from the fact that he did have so much experience, and was a ‘southerner’, and was a ‘religious’ candidate, and had the Hollywood ‘connections’. He seemed like the whole package. But it never worked out for him in the primary race. Lack of ‘want’ and effort on the part of Thompson, problems with staffing and his wife, and poor performances in public addresses were all reasons his campaign derailed itself.
Month ago I wouldn’t have been able to call him a fringe candidate. But his campaign fell into such disrepute that now we see another fringer exit the race. If anything, this only helps the Republicans, who seem to need candidates to drop out in order to get a clear favourite.