If the reports are correct, it looks like the GOP field is back down to nine major and semi-major contenders. Apparently Senator Sam Brownback is dropping his Presidential bid, citing fundraising issues.
Sam wasn’t among my top choices for the post, and the times I saw him debating I thought he pandered way too much. His appeal was mostly to the hardline social conservatives who want a Constitutional amendment banning abortion among other issues of that ilk – those criticized by some as wanting smaller government except in the case of legislating morality at the federal level. With that stance, he appealed to many of the same voters who gave Mike Huckabee his Iowa momentum; obviously Huckabee did a better job of gaining their support as he’s polling in the mid-single digits instead of 1% or less as Brownback was.
Others hammered Brownback’s immigration views, including a last-minute switch of his vote on the amnesty bill over the summer. This stance earned him the moniker “Senator Switchback” from influential conservative commentator Michelle Malkin.
Like Tommy Thompson last week, Brownback will likely endorse one of his opponents at some point. The pundits seem to be split as to whether he would lend his support to one of two aspirants who are seeking to get to (or back into) the top tier of candidates, the aforementioned Mike Huckabee or John McCain. My money is on McCain as he’s a fellow Senator and has a similar stance on immigration as well. It would give a little bit of a boost to McCain, who was once the odds-on favorite but slipped deep into the field after the immigration fiasco.
Future plans for Brownback may include a 2010 run for governor of his home state, Kansas. Current Governor Kathleen Sebelius is term-limited out of office and Brownback vowed when first elected in 1998 to serve just two Senate terms. It’s possible the voters of Kansas could allow the two to switch jobs, which would flip a Senate seat from Republican to Democrat.
So who will drop out next? It’s just a gut feeling I have but I think the next “out” is Tom Tancredo, with my endorsed candidate Duncan Hunter being another possibility. The others, including newest candidate Alan Keyes, will likely hang on through at least the first set of primaries.
Crossposted on RedMaryland.