Michigan: Giuliani vs. Thompson

A number hidden at the bottom of the returns : Fred Thompson is beating Rudy Giuliani in Michigan by nearly 3,000 votes. This matters not because Thompson is beating Giuliani, but because Giuliani is losing to Thompson.

Rudy Giuliani used to be a peculiar kind of national frontrunner a guy who performed poorly in the early-primary states but who did well nationally because of name recognition. Part of Giuliani’s problem was that the more he campaigned and advertised in states, the less that people wanted to vote for him. For a while, Rudy was better off staying in the national headlines but off the campaign trail.

Well, it’s clear that that’s not possible any more. Giuliani stayed as far away from Michigan as possible, and he’s paying the price. (Due to his own strategy, his headlines have been insulated inside of Florida.) But that’s not Giuliani’s problem. The real issue is that Thompson has done the same, and he’s still beating Giuliani.

Even if Giuliani comes back to recapture momentum after a win in Florida, the Michigan result calls into question the strength of his candidacy. Without momentum, he’s worse than Fred Thompson. With momentum, can he be much better?