Today is Florida’s turn

There are officially no delegates coming out of Florida for the Democratic candidates, but there’s a great deal of potential.  First, it’s possible the candidates will be seated anyway.  More importantly, much like Michigan there’s a message in the turnout.  If, like every other state, democratic voters come out in record numbers even though it doesn’t count, it continues the likelihood that the GOP dance this time is in vain.

As for the GOP side, it’s too close to call.  McCain and Romney going neck and neck.  Huckabee and Giuliani also going neck and neck but at about half the level of the two leaders.

A point to keep in mind for both parties.  Getting to a brokered convention basically requires a third candidate (or more) to pull a fair number of delegates.  In a neck-and-neck type of race, a mere 5% is enough.  10% is considered the minimum – and won’t work if someone is leading by a huge margin.  20% for “third” is generally a guarantee that there will be a brokered convention.  Now with that in mind, some details.

Among the Dems, Edwards keeps dropping further and further behind.  At this point he’s on track for about 10%.   We will know next Wednesday whether that’s going to be enough.

Over in the GOP land, it’s more likely.  At this point I think the big leaders will be Romney and McCain, but between them Paul and Huckabee — and if he can keep getting ~10% or more in big states we can also include Giuliani — will keep them below the margin.  Huckabee is the more likely kingmaker.  That is, he’ll hold enough delegates that putting them with either leader makes that leader the Republican Nominee.

One thing to watch on all fronts is money.  Romney still has a personal fortune, but otherwise pretty much everyone is tapped out as of next Tuesday.  They’re all hoping that donors will decide they are the one and start refilling coffers.  It is possible – not likely but possible – that this will make Edwards appear to be a genius in retrospect.

Today’s vote is momentum, and a final check of projections before the Big Day.  (Well, there’s always Maine this weekend.  But I don’t think it’ll influence a darn thing.)  D: Clinton, Obama, Edwards, with clear margins all around.  R – oh, what a race.

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