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Republican candidates tough to handicap

Here are the up-to-the-moment predictions of how Republican presidential candidates will finish, barring all the things that are bound to happen between now and the election.

I think it fair to say that Tom Tancredo will not be sworn in as our president in January of 2009 or any other time. Tom wanted to highlight immigration and has done so. His chance of election, 0 percent.

Duncan Hunter has served as a specialist in Congress on the military, and has held significant responsibility in that area. He is strong on defense and supports military funding above all other priorities at the national level. Chances of Duncan being elected, slightly less than 1 percent.

Mike Huckabee has risen in the national polls like a star recently. In Iowa he now leads Mitt Romney by a bit. Mike is personable and caring.

He is conservative, though not as conservative as many other candidates, and he is a candidate of faith. Therein lies his problem, he is running as though God was his co-candidate and that will hurt him in the long run.

He will be held to a higher ethical standard and will, as we all do, fail at that higher standard. In spite of his current rise in popularity, his chance of being elected is just a tad over 5 percent.

Fred Thompson just looks tired. And the rumblings are he campaigns that way. But Fred does speak from his heart and calls issues as he sees them without regard for how his thoughts poll.

For example, he opposes a constitutional amendment for marriage between a man and a woman, and sees it as a matter for the states to decide. It would be more popular, in the Republican primaries at least, for him to take the opposite position. Fred Thompson has about a 15 percent chance to win the election.

Ron Paul is raising a ton of money lately and raising in the polls weekly. He is a fun guy to listen to, and comes across as having a lot of common sense. Ron is the only Republican not running on War Talk. Quite the opposite, Paul thinks we have to get out of Iraq as soon as possible.

But beyond Iraq, as a libertarian, Paul has some interesting ideas about how government should work. Ron Paul could be the surprise in this election cycle for the Republicans. Ron Paul has about a 20 percent chance to be sworn in as President in 2009.

Rudy Giuliani, the current frontrunner in the Republican Party, is in trouble. His background holds a lot of baggage that people will not like.

Not just his marriages and divorces, but how those events transpired will hurt him, as well his past associations. Giuliani has about a 30 percent chance of putting his hand on the Bible.

Mitt Romney looks like a president and talks like Ronald Reagan. The only problem is Mitt chooses his values before every election.

He has gone from a liberal to a conservative, and, oddly enough, at exactly the time it served his electoral needs. Mitt may get sworn in, his chances are about 40 percent.

No one today sees John McCain as the Republican most likely to be elected, but McCain is a known quantity, probably the best candidate for independent voters and a guy who speaks his mind.

Often his own party doesn’t like him, and you have to appreciate that. John McCain stands about a 45 percent chance of making it to the White House.

Jim Crawford is a contributing columnist for The Ironton Tribune.