“It might really benefit (Mitt) Romney, because Bachmann’s going to be strong in Iowa, and Perry will probably be strong, too,” said Seth McKee, a political science professor at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. McKee said that could allow Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, to focus on New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary and bypass Iowa’s caucuses.
“If Rick Scott were to support him, I would think it would really dig into Michele Bachmann’s support with Tea Party Republicans,” said Jamie Miller, a Republican political consultant.
“Certainly, I think Gov. Scott’s friendship and relationship with Gov. Perry is an enormous advantage,” said John Stemberger, president and general counsel of the Florida Family Policy Council.
I just want to point out that I was making this argument LAST MONTH. Here is how I think the scenario could play out:
Rick Perry enters the presidential field sometime before Labor Day; Jon Huntsman and Tim Pawlenty (they’re key to the scenario later on) continue to poll in single digits.
The calendar is accelerated even more than originally thought as Iowa, New Hampshire officials scramble to maintain their first-in-the-nation status.
Michelle Bachmann, Perry, Mitt Romney finish in the top three in Iowa.
Romney goes on to win New Hampshire, Perry takes South Carolina. Pawlenty does well enough to continue to limp along. Huntsman is still in, if for no other reason than ego’s sake.
All eyes turn to Florida.
Romney is the front-runner with Perry hot on his heels.
Huntsman and Pawlenty’s early investments in the state act like a check on any candidate getting too far ahead. That’s fine with Romney who knows if he wins Florida, he wins the nomination.
Bachmann realizes she can’t win. Tea Party realizes she can’t win, turns eyes to its titular leader…
Florida Governor Rick Scott who, despite being the most unpopular governor in the country, controls the official Republican Party of Florida apparatus and holds sway with a great deal of the state’s Tea Party activists.
Evoking Charlie Crist’s last-minute, game-changing endorsement of John McCain, which helped propelled the Senator to the nomination with a decisive win in Florida, Rick Scott throws whatever resources and respect he commands behind his man-crush Rick Perry. Media says Scott’s endorsement is the kiss of death, but among some Tea Party elements, it’s the sign they have been waiting for.
Election Day, whenever that is, Perry edges Romney, who never recovers from such a difficult loss. Perry wraps up the nomination on the South-centric Super Tuesday.