Chaos in the Republican primary calendar means that the first round of voting will come in early January, as states such as Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina are now likely to move up their voting dates now that Florida has jumped the line by scheduling its primary Jan. 31.
The early crunch will benefit the better-funded candidates, particularly Mitt Romney, who will be able to get states he’s not likely to do well in “out of the way” early, Republican strategist Rick Tyler told us on ABC’s “Top Line” today.
“After the retail states — that is where you have to go out and meet a lot of people and shake a lot of hands and do a lot of events in small cafes and living rooms, etc. — it really does become a matter of money,” said Tyler, a former top aide to Newt Gingrich who left the Gingrich campaign over the summer.
“Getting these states out of the way and moving toward the money states – that is, using money to purchase media – is going to benefit those candidates who have money,” he said.
As for Gingrich, Tyler said he still has a chance of becoming the “anti-Romney candidate,” and says he’s glad to see his former boss getting some campaign momentum.
“Newt, ironically, is one of two people in the campaign who are getting a bounce because they have real ideas,” he said. “Newt’s releasing another set of ideas for the 21st century ‘Contract with America,’ and Herman Cain also has a very interesting idea that sort of splits the difference with the flat taxes and the fair taxes by this 9-9-9 [plan].”
And we asked Tyler about a statement he issued in May – a highlight of this or any other campaign – that left him compared to author Erich Maria Remarque, and parodied by John Lithgow on national television.
“A lesser person could not have survived the first few minutes of the onslaught,” Tyler wrote in a statement to Huffington Post. “But out of the billowing smoke and dust of tweets and trivia emerged Gingrich, once again ready to lead those who won’t be intimated by the political elite and are ready to take on the challenges America faces.”
Today, Tyler told us, “I did write it myself, and I probably wrote it after too many cups of coffee. It was early morning and I did dash it off and I will say in fairness to the Huffington Post reporter, he did call me to make absolutely sure that he was going to be able to use this.”
“It must have struck a nerve somewhere,” he said. “Either that or it was just so unconventional in the political world that it got interest — I don’t know.”
Also today, we checked in with ABC’s Jake Tapper on the killing of al Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki. He pointed out that the White House is being careful not to celebrate the killing too much — and that the administration hasn’t produced the legal justification for the killing of the American-born terrorist.