The Giuliani Mistake
Rudy Giuliani was the presidential frontrunner for the GOP from December of 2004 until December of 2007. He consistently polled 20 points above any of his competitors and Giuliani supporters were persistently working over conservatives to gather support for the New England Republican with the liberal track record.
Now Giuliani is bowing out of the race after only receiving enough support for two delegates, which puts him on par with Duncan Hunter (who received one or two delegates, I forget exactly) and well behind Ron Paul (6 delegates). Giuliani erred by refusing to contest the early states and it cost him the nomination.
The strategy can be rationalized. Campaigns are about managing scarce resources, namely money; Giuliani knew he polled better in the larger states and if he could survive until Super Tuesday he would have a good chance of winning the nomination. Unfortunately this also meant he kept himself out of the spotlight early in the race and allowed other candidates to present themselves to a divided and leaderless GOP base.
Every state, every early primary matters. If Giuliani was going to represent all Republicans as our presidential candidate he was going to need to win over the hearts of Republicans in New Hampshire, South Carolina, Michigan and Iowa. If Giuliani was the right choice he needed to prove it to conservatives, evangelicals and everyone else. He simply ignored them and they in turn were courted by the other candidates to great effect.
Giuliani didn’t need to waste resources like money on the early states. There are cost efficient campaign methods that keep your name in the paper and allow you to at least place. He could have run cheap campaigns based on grassroots efforts and earned media. I have been contacted by the Romney campaign, the McCain campaign and the Ron Paul campaign and been asked to help out. The only contact I had with the Giuliani campaign were the occasional emails from a local Giuliani supporter talking about the latest polls on Giuliani. This to me shows the weakness of his campaign and his failure to utilize all the methods for getting your message out to voters.
Rudy could have saved his money for the big states while still campaigning aggressively in the early primary states. You don’t always need TV ads to win an election. An old fashioned campaign can work (or heck, even an active eCampaign would do). Giuliani needed to keep bringing his message to the voters; win or lose he needed to keep himself in the minds of the voters and the media.
By not actively contesting the early primaries he allowed the electorate to ignore him. I was sad to see him go but it was his own miscalculation which cost him.