A Ron Paul victory in the Iowa caucuses would be bad for the state and could even cost it its first in the nation status, influential radio host Sam Clovis tells Newsmax.
“I am not sure that that is in the best interests of the state, or our caucus system or us being first because I don’t think he is going to get any traction the rest of the way,” said Clovis, a college professor who hosts the popular conservative talk show “Impact with Sam Clovis” on Sioux City’s KSCJ radio.
“He has a very select group of people that follow him and I just don’t think he is going to attract anywhere close to even a plurality at any point along the way.”
Clovis was talking as polls continue to put the 76-year-old Texan ahead with less than two weeks to go before the Jan. 3 caucus night, but before the latest storm about racist newsletters sent out in Paul’s name blew up.
“A Ron Paul win is quite possible,” he said. “He has a good infrastructure here in the state, his followers are zealots and he attracts an interesting group. I heard Karl Rove say that he’s a person with a high floor but a low ceiling.
“Whatever he gets out of here is probably the best he’s going to do in any primary or caucus the rest of the way because he does have a lot of strong followers out here and they recognize the importance of a good showing, so they’re going to do everything they can to make sure that they puff up those numbers on caucus night.”
Clovis said he felt the wrath of Paul’s followers after posting an article on his website on the day after the most recent debate in the state, in which Paul said the threat of an Iranian nuclear weapon was being “trumped up.”
“I essentially said that he had disqualified himself based on his world view,” said Clovis. “I cannot tell you the fecal storm that erupted on my Facebook page and on my website based on me making that comment.
“I live out here in a small town and I get two or three comments a day on my web posts, but I got two or three hundred comments from Ron Paul supporters that sometimes were not very respectful.”
Clovis said he believes four candidates are going to be “clustered” in the caucuses: Paul, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum.
“We’re going to see at least four candidates in double digits. You are not going to see any one candidate over 30 percent. So no-one will be able to declare a pound-your-chest victory in this issue because getting 25 percent in a field of seven is not going to be what I would call a rabid endorsement.”
Clovis has endorsed Santorum, who, he said, “is going to get enough votes to be part of the conversation leaving Iowa. He is a longer shot than the other three but I wouldn’t say he couldn’t win because it is really fluid out here.”
Of the other candidates, he said that Michele Bachmann will probably not survive to go on to New Hampshire, Rick Perry will do badly but will have the money to limp on and may improve in South Carolina and Florida and Jon Huntsman “ought to be fighting President Obama in the Democratic primary.”
Clovis echoed what other Iowa radio hosts have told Newsmax, saying that the race is still wide open going into the final few days. He said as many as one-in-eight won’t make their mind up until they are in the caucus hall. Around 30 percent will pick their candidate in the few days remaining.
“Contrary to what the media says, most Republicans consider this to be a pretty strong field and there are a lot of choices, so people are picking and choosing,” he said. “Everyone wants to see Ronald Reagan on stage and I keep telling people Ronald Reagan is not in this pack, get over it, and start to think about who you want to be the president.”
Clovis described the Iowa caucuses as “not as important as a lot of people in Iowa would like, but more than a lot of other people elsewhere think.
“It’s is an important first step, it is the first part of the vetting because we do a lot of retail politics out here in Iowa. People don’t get to pay a lot of attention to that until they see them in their own primaries and they don’t realize all the work that has been done ahead of time.
“After New Hampshire and by the time they get to South Carolina, they are really good candidates – they’re polished and their stump speeches are good and specific. We hammer them out here.”
When it gets down to the general election, Clovis believes any of the Republicans – even Paul – can beat President Obama, and as for the idea of someone such as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels or former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush getting in the race, he said it is possible but it would be difficult.
“Mitt and Newt and Paul and Santorum are going to come out of Iowa with a little bit of momentum and it would be hard to get another nose in there.”
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