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Why Democrats Think the GOP Race Might Last Until June


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ABC News:

Game it out for a second. Look at the calendar.

This GOP race could go on for a long time, and Democrats profess to be thrilled about that prospect, about Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich continuing to bloody each other up, aided by Rick Santorum and Ron Paul.

Why would this go on for awhile? Because a combination of an elongated schedule, new Republican National Committee rules, and some quirks of fate have diminished the importance of individual contests and reduced the ability for knock-out punches.

Part of the reason for this schedule is then-RNC chair Michael Steele wanted an extended primary season so as to ensure a strong nominee; the elongated Barack Obama v. Hillary Clinton race indubitably made Obama a better candidate, and got out a lot of his “dirty laundry” – Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Tony Rezko, William Ayres, flag pins and such – long before the general election, so that his campaign could by the fall claim it was all old news.

But top Democrats are hoping that won’t happen with the GOP race, that it will just provide more moments of Romney calling Gingrich “erratic” and Gingrich calling into question Romney’s business practices.

Here’s how top Democrats see it: On January 31 comes the Florida primary, as we know. Because the Sunshine State has opted to hold its primary on an earlier date than the RNC had sanctioned, Florida’s 99 delegates have been shrunk to 50 as penalty, lessening the state’s impact. These delegates will be winner-take all.

Whoever wins – Romney, Gingrich, Santorum, Paul – it’s unlikely that the other three will drop out. As of now Romney, Gingrich and Santorum can brag about winning one contest. One of their rivals’ jumping to two doesn’t change the dynamic all that much, they can argue. Especially when all it means is 50 delegates out of 1,144 needed to win the GOP presidential nomination.

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