With One Candidate Out, Who Will Be the Next Republican to Go?
With the stigma of being the first one out of the race now gone, with Rick Perry's exit from the contest, we will probably see another handful of departures from the Republican primary race in the coming weeks.
TAKE THE POLL: Who do Independent Voters Support for President?
As with anything in American politics, this is going to be decided mostly by money, with candidates exiting as their "dollar votes" diminish to the point they can no longer maintain a viable candidacy.
Considering that Rick Perry had almost $884,000 cash on hand at the close of the second quarter FEC filings -- and from there couldn't pay staffers in August -- it takes a lot of money to stay in the race.
Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Rand Paul all have well-funded war chests, all with over $4 million in cash on hand. This should be enough for each of these candidates to weather the financial storms for at least two more quarters, regardless of what happens in the race.
Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, George Pataki, and Rick Santorum are all in danger, with less than $1 million on hand on June 30.
Of these five, Pataki and Santorum are the most vulnerable -- both with very limited funds and limited media exposure.Both can also be seen as "past their prime" in their political savvy within the party. Pataki hasn't held an office in over a decade, while Santorum hasn't in nearly a decade.
Santorum is polling at under one percent, while Pataki wasn't even included in the latest poll.
Jindal is also suffering from dismal polling numbers, hovering at only one percent as well.
While these five are the most vulnerable due to lack of money, Lindsey Graham might be the next surprising exit, even with over $2.5 million on hand on June 30.
Currently polling at almost 0 percent, Graham's hawkish message and insistence on cuts to Social Security have created a flat stumping platform -- not something you can really rally support around.
Bleak messages rarely win elections, and Americans in general are not supportive of a land war in the Middle East.
Even worse, the two-tiered structure of the debates is unlikely to give any of the underdogs a lift out of the "dog house," except for the clear-cut winner of the lower-tier.
Fiorina's bump from the last debate will almost certainly keep her around for at least another month, although a financial crisis could derail her campaign quickly.
Eventually it will narrow down to two or three distinct contenders -- with the media, if no one else, marginalizing all the other candidates. The power of the media spotlight can never be underestimated.
My prediction is that the Republicans will see at least 3 more exits in September--starting with Pataki, Jindal, and Santorm.