Last February, back when Rick Santorum shocked Republicans with a string of primary victories and the once-inevitable campaign of Mitt Romney was teetering on collapse, Woody Johnson held a private meeting in his office in Rockefeller Center.
Mr. Johnson is the heir to the Johnson & Johnson family fortune, the owner of the New York Jets and, over the past year or so, the head of Mr. Romney’s fundraising efforts in the political goldmine that is New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
The meeting was one of several he had held over the course of the campaign with those whose names had shown up on campaign finance filings for some of the other GOP hopefuls, donors who had cast their lot early on with Tim Pawlenty, or Herman Cain, or Rick Perry.
A group of New York Orthodox Jews have formed a group, “Jews Pick Rick,” supporting presidential candidate Rick Santorum in his quest for the White House, they announced in a statement this morning.
“What started as three men in a small room has grown into a larger operation as many Jews have emailed or communicated to us their interest in helping Santorum,” David Shor, the spokesman for the organization, said in the release.
“The sole goal of Jews Pick Rick is to turn the Orthodox community into Santorum territory, spreading Rick’s conservative message to Boro Park, Flatbush, Monsey, Lakewood and Five Towns,” he continued, touting Mr. Santorum’s foreign policy views.
The group also took the bat to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, “whose Jewish advisers are primarily secular Jews,” according to the release.
Florida’s diverse demographics have brought new elements to the Republican primary, from bringing the focus to Latino issues, to the state’s elderly population. Now, Florida’s Jewish bloc is impacting the dialogue as Newt Gingrich and his surrogates raise questions about Mitt Romney’s cuts to kosher food programs during his tenure as Governor of Massachusetts.
Assemblyman Dov Hikind, a power broker in New York’s Orthodox Jewish community, blasted Mr. Romney’s decision to eliminate the $5-a-day funding for kosher meals in Jewish nursing homes.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich surged to the front of the pack and pulled out a victory in South Carolina’s Republican primary tonight. Mr. Gingrich, whose performance in the polls over the last year has been a roller coaster of ups and downs, was immediately declared the winner by Fox News, ABC News and MSNBC when polls closed at 7pm.
The defeat is the second set back for Mr. Romney in two days. In addition to losing the Palmetto State, his win in Iowa was reversed yesterday to former Senator Rick Santorum, who finished tonight towards the bottom of the four candidates still competing for the Republican presidential nomination, along with Congressman Ron Paul.
Mitt Romney’s strong win last night, scoring 39% overall and 16% more than the second place finisher, Ron Paul, naturally involved winning many different groups. According to CBS News’ exit poll, Mr. Romney either won outright or placed a very close second to Mr. Paul across most demographic and ideological categories. The data also reveals that he performed strongest among those describing their views as “somewhat conservative” and the very rich.
Indeed, Mr. Romney, who’s very wealthy himself, won more than half of those with families making more than $200,000 a year, one of his highest percentages in the entire exit poll. Among those making $50,000 or less, Mr. Romney only tied Mr. Paul, each earning less than a third of that financially modest vote.
Texas Governor Rick Perry finished in sixth place in New Hampshire tonight, scoring last among the main candidates for the GOP nomination. As the rest of the field is making their concession speeches on television, the Perry campaign phoned it in, so to speak, by conceding electronically.
“Tonight’s results in New Hampshire show the race for ‘conservative alternative’ to Mitt Romney remains wide open,” the statement read. “I skipped New Hampshire and aimed my campaign right at conservative South Carolina, where we’ve been campaigning hard and receiving an enthusiastic welcome.” Continue reading “Rick Perry's Concession Speech Comes Via Email”→
Mitt Romney has scored another win tonight, defeating his rivals in New Hampshire. The networks declared the results at the earliest possible opportunity, as soon as the polls closed at 8 p.m. Mr. Romney’s New Hampshire victory comes as no surprise, as his dominance in Granite State polling had never been shaken.
Mr. Romney had previously eked out a win in Iowa last week by a mere 8 votes. The win provides a nice boost as his more ideologically rigid rivals compete with one another to coalesce enough voters to provide a substantive challenge to the Romney campaign.