If Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney decide to run for president in 2012, they’ll have some powerful friends in the early states that are key to winning the GOP nomination.
Mike Huckabee? Not so much.
All of it is part of the presidential election fallout from Tuesday’s primaries in Iowa and South Carolina, two states so pivotal in the GOP nomination process that even their off-year state elections are carefully examined for their relevance to the next presidential race.
Both Palin and Romney backed the first-place finishers in the high-profile governors races in the two states—former GOP Gov. Terry Branstad in Iowa and state Rep. Nikki Haley in South Carolina—endorsements that are likely to pay dividends in the event either Republican runs for president in 2012.
Huckabee, on the other hand, bet on the wrong horses—he used his political action committee to invest heavily in the losing campaigns of businessman Bob Vander Plaats in Iowa and Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer in South Carolina, two candidates who finished some distance behind on Tuesday.
As we’ve noted here, Gov. Romney endorsed Rep. Haley long before it was cool.