Professors disagree over Romney’s race withdrawal

Political science professors have different interpretations of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s withdrawal from the presidential race and its potential influence on the rest of the primaries for the Republican Party.

Former House Speaker Jim Wright said he thinks Romney’s withdrawal will benefit Republican Arizona Sen. John McCain’s campaign, but political science department chairman Ralph Carter said he predicts the pullout will benefit former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Romney’s announcement came two days after he won seven states in the Feb. 5 primaries, with McCain winning nine states and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee claiming five states.

Carter said he thinks Romney’s exit could potentially help Huckabee’s campaign because both Romney and Huckabee were fighting over support from social conservatives.

Carter said if Romney’s support shifts to any candidate he thinks it would be Huckabee because they were targeting the same constituency.

“While none of these guys wants to have sleepovers together and sit around and make hot chocolate or anything,” Carter said, “it does seem that there was some tension between the Romney and McCain camps. Social conservatives may feel like they have no other place to go than Huckabee.”

Wright said he thinks Romney’s withdrawal will benefit McCain.

“This is a good break for John McCain,” Wright said. “It is likely, in my opinion, that he will come through strong enough to win the nomination.”

Wright said he doesn’t think Romney’s decision will benefit Huckabee as much as McCain.

Freshman political science major Jennifer Kinney said she thinks even without Romney’s endorsement, his departure will aid Huckabee.

“It’s going to give Huckabee a lot more momentum,” Kinney said. “Before Romney dropped out, McCain definitely had the advantage because the other two canceled each other out. Now McCain has a little more pressure because Huckabee could potentially take all of Romney’s would-be delegates.”

Carter said he is not surprised Romney dropped out but is surprised at the timing.

“It’s not like Romney didn’t win any primaries, and McCain doesn’t have it totally sewed up yet,” Carter said. “I’m just surprised that Romney pulled out so quickly. I would think that normally a candidate with as many delegates as he had would hold out a little longer.”

Carter said Romney’s personal finances may have been a factor in his decision because it is reported that he spent $35 million of his own money on his campaign.

“I don’t care how wealthy you are, at some point that stings,” Carter said. “It may be a combination of what it is costing him, and in turn for how many delegates he gained. He may have decided it’s just not a good risk-to-reward ratio.”