Monday, October 03, 2011


If Christie or Palin want in, they had better get busy

Lots of folks openly doubt whether New Jersey Governor Chris Christie or former Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin can organize a national campaign in time to be competitive at this late date. (Remember back in 2008, when everyone was saying that Fred Thompson was too late - in July.) Many of the skeptics cite fundraising and getting "boots on the ground" as the main obstacles.

However, there is one other major problem - getting on the ballot in all 50 states and the 6 territories/districts that each have individualized requirements and deadlines. It truly is a hodgepodge of requirements. Some are easy - Stephen Colbert exposed his native South Carolina's simple requirement in 2008 when he attempted ballot access there by simply writing a $25,000 check to the South Carolina GOP. One of the most arduous ballot requirements that I am aware of resides in the Commonwealth of Virginia, where a candidate has to collect over 10,000 signatures from registered Republican voters, with at least 400 of those being from each of Virginia's 11 congressional districts.

The reason I bring this up is that it is October 3rd. Individual state deadlines arrive in a matter of mere weeks. Within the next 45 days, we'll see the deadlines for Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Missouri, and New Hampshire pass. And that list is likely to grow. Many of the states are moving their primaries closer to the beginning of the year, meaning that deadlines are likely to be pushed up in those states so that ballots can be printed. In fact, on Sunday's "Meet the Press," it was the opinion of several members of the panel that Iowa could very well move their caucuses into December to protect their first in the nation status.

Dealing with this issue is not easy. However, it certainly helps to have a bunch of money; private consultants can be contracted to take care of some of the issues. The problem with that strategy is that you use the money that you need at the beginning to combat the attacks that are bound to come from all sides as soon as you jump into the race.

This might be immaterial. I'm starting to hear some talk that Christie might not want to rush into this and will pass on 2012. And I have contended from the premature end of Sarah Palin's governorship that she would flirt with the idea of running up until the very last minute and then parlay her position into a FoxNews talk show. My position over the years hasn't changed on that one.

Time is growing short. We need to solidify the field - so that we can begin whittling off the also-rans.

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