From the Washington Times:
“I definitely think it ends up Newt versus [former Massachusetts Gov.] Mitt Romney at some point after the caucuses and primaries are under way,” said Iowa House Majority Leader Linda Upmeyer, a Republican who has endorsed the Georgian in her state’s key January caucuses.
“Newt will become the major challenger to Romney,” said Polk County, Iowa, GOP Chairman Daryl Kearney. “All national polls now have Newt with a solid hold on third place.”
“Evangelicals will definitely go for Newt if he is the nominee,” insisted Jim Garlow, credited with organizing the evangelicals in the drive to pass a same-sex marriage ban in California. “I used to hear them say, ‘He’s the smartest one in the room, but he has personal issues.’ I’ve seen an enormous shift in the past four or five months. They no longer talk about personal issues, but about intelligence and capability of being president.”On the primary calendar and the new RNC rules:
Mr. Garlow, senior pastor of the Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, said if the nomination fight came down to Mr. Romney and Mr. Gingrich, “I’m guessing 80 [percent] to 90 percent of the evangelical vote in America would go to Newt. Romney’s Mormonism may be a factor, but the reason I hear most is they don’t trust Romney on abortion, marriage, economics and health care.”
“I think, no question, evangelicals will go for Newt if it comes down to him and Romney,” said Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition Director Steve Scheffler, credited with organizing support for Pat Robertson’s stunning second-place finish in the 1988 Iowa caucuses. “Evangelicals are concerned with personal conduct, but most will judge people on their present conduct, and they have concluded Newt’s present lifestyle is exemplary.”
Under the Republican nominating calendar, no candidate can mathematically accumulate the 1,143 delegates required to win at the August presidential nominating convention until March 24 at the earliest, according to an analysis by The Washington Times.
Even that date is unlikely because before April 3, no state can have a winner-take-all primary or caucuses — they must all award delegates proportionately by congressional districts. Sweeping even one state’s delegates, much less the 30 contests scheduled through March 24, is practically impossible in a fully contested race.