Governor Bill Haslam has yet to officially endorse a presidential candidate, but says he considers Mitt Romney “clearly the frontrunner” after last night’s Iowa caucus. Romney won Iowa by just eight votes.
The GOP pack has cycled through several leading candidates in the last few months, but Haslam says that’s not unusual. He points to four years ago, when John McCain placed a distant fourth in Iowa and wound up the GOP nominee.
Though last night Romney won by a miniscule margin, Haslam considers him the candidate to beat. He says Romney’s challenge is to grow his share of the vote using his organizational advantage.
“And I do think that will play out – you can focus a lot on Iowa, but after that you don’t the time to go spend a month anywhere. It’s fast. And so that’s when it depends on having the organization in place, and I think that’s where Governor Romney has a big advantage.”
Haslam said again he’s not making an endorsement yet, but his brother and father are part of Romney’s team in Tennessee.
Some campaigns spent more than a hundred dollars for each vote they won in last night’s Iowa caucus, which doesn’t yield any delegates for the national race. Critics call such contests a waste of money, but Gallatin Congressman Diane Black argues they afford voters an important chance to vet the candidates.
That said, Black wishes campaigning didn’t cost so much.
“It is the sign of the times and what we have to do. I would actually be for some reform where we would limit the number of dollars that are actually spent in these campaigns.”
Black’s latest report to the federal election commission shows the freshman representative with almost half a million dollars in the bank. In the presidential contest, she’s supporting Mitt Romney.