Gilmore defends Giuliani strategy

Although down by double digits in Iowa and New Hampshire, the Giuliani campaign is hardly in hara-kiri mode, said George Gilmore, state chairman in New Jersey.

"I don’t have any concerns regarding the strategy of the Giuliani campaign," said Gilmore, who insisted he doesn’t care who wins Iowa and envisions a field in which several candidates – including Giulaini – are still going to be competing hard after New Hampshire.

Coming up on Thursday’s primary caucus, most polls show former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee with a slight lead over former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney in Iowa. In New Hampshire, Romney leads a surging Sen. John McCain. If Huckabee wins Iowa, he would go to New Hampshire on Jan. 8th, where he has little organization compared to Romney and McCain.

Should either of the latter two candidates win, that would keep the GOP splintered into several pieces in time for Giuliani to kick-start his prime support in states like Florida and subsequently, New York, Connecticut, California, New Jersey and other states on Feb. 5th.

"You pick the strategy that gives you the best chance to win," said Gilmore, who serves as the Ocean County Republican Chairman in addition to serving as state chair of the Giulaini campaign.

Others are reticent to endorse the Giulaini plan. A frantic supporter and GOP operative speaking on condition of anonymity said he believes the strategy of not spending more resources on Iowa and New Hampshire and consequently being out of the media spotlight for five weeks would frankly boomerang on Giuliani.

Of course, those in rival camps are eager to read Giuliani’s sagging numbers nationally and ten percent plummet in New Jersey over a one month period as more than chattering class fodder.

"Rudy was riding on pure name id," said Romney supporter Brian Nelson. "Outside of the New York media market, no one was aware of his skeletons. If you look at the numbers nationally, Romney’s numbers have never gone down. Huckabee’s rise is on the back of Giuliani and Thompson."

A backbencher for months, McCain moving up in the polls of late has renewed the spirits of those longtime supporters in New Jersey who had to remain publicly optimistic in the face of his single digit fade into near oblivion just months ago.

"This morning’s Des Moines-Iowa Register poll shows Sen. McCain in third place in Iowa," Sen-elect Bill Baroni said on Tuesday. "This is a surge in a state that he’s not really been able to spend a lot of time in. We’re surging in New Hampshire, and we’re very confident."

"He’s obviously working very, very hard at it. I mean he’s traveling all over the country as chairman of the [Republican Governors Association] and I think at this point he has as good a chance or better than anybody else. His name is household word all across the country, and I think he would make a great president."
—former U.S. Rep. Jim Saxton (R-3), on Gov. Chris Christie