This morning, I had an opportunity to talk one-on-one with Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Mike Duncan about the Super Tuesday results, and what bearing they have on the direction of the Presidential Campaign.
The first thing we talked about was the fact that on the Democratic side, there is no clear front runner and that is a clear indication that the Democratic Party is a party deeply divided right now. On the one hand, there are serious questions as to whether or not Senator Barack Obama has the experience needed to lead the country as Commander in Chief.
There also was a striking division between Clinton and Obama in views of their qualifications to be commander in chief vs. perceptions of who’d do more to unite the country. Obama was seen as more likely than Clinton to unite the country, by 50 percent to 39 percent; but Democrats said Clinton was most qualified to be commander in chief, by a nearly identical 51 percent to 36 percent.
On the other hand, huge numbers of people are grappling with whether or not Senator Hillary Clinton can be trusted.
The fact that these questions continue to loom as a large shadow over the Democratic race seem to indicate that the Democrats will go all the way to the Convention before deciding on a nominee. By contrast, on the Republican side we are seemingly moving toward picking a nominee in the not too distant future. This is good news for the Republican Party as it means that we can turn an eye (and our resources) toward winning in November.
The Chairman and I did speak about that all important political resource – money. Turns out that the Republican base is energized right now, and it is showing not only by the record number of people turning out at the polls across the country, but by their willingness to give their hard earned money.
Last year, Chairman Duncan raised over $80 million dollars. The same cannot be said for Democratic Chairman Howard Dean. It hasn’t yet been released to the news media, but last month the RNC had another great fundraising month and finished with over $20 million on hand. Our Democratic counterparts aren’t anywhere near that.
That’s clearly evident on the home front here in New Mexico, where Democratic Party Chairman, Brian Colon has been lamenting the fact that he just doesn’t have the resources available to him that were available in 2004:
Brian Colon, state Democratic Party chairman, said without the injection of money from the candidates’ get-out-the-vote efforts, it will be tough to get people to the polls this time.
”The only thing that I kind of lose some sleep over is I wish I had half a million dollars to promote the thing,” Colon said during a recent break from answering phones at the party’s Albuquerque headquarters.
On the flip side, the Republican Party in New Mexico is being nationally recognized for its organization and ability to deliver results. In April, the New Mexico GOP will be hosting the RNC Chairman’s Meeting in Albuquerque. As a blue state that turned red in the last election, we’ve won the right to be at the epicenter of the Victory campaign for 2008.
These are exciting times. The 27 million people who have turned out to vote in Republican and Democratic primaries and caucuses thus far show that the American people are once engaged in the process. Partisan politics aside, this is a GOOD for America.