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January 22, 2008

Can McCain Win A Closed Primary?

John McCain has won two significant primaries in the early contests, New Hampshire and South Carolina. However, both allowed for crossover voting from non-Republicans*, and in both cases, McCain's margin of victory came from those voters. In Michigan, Mitt Romney won despite the crossover votes. Florida, however, only allows registered Republicans to vote in the primary. Can John McCain win a closed primary?

E.J. Dionne wonders whether McCain can resist the temptation to transform himself to do so. At Heading Right, I refute the notion that McCain has to do all that much transforming -- or that Rudy can win by running to McCain's left. The main issues for McCain and the base have to do with trust and tone, not with policy except in two specific areas.

Can McCain win a closed primary? I believe he can -- but not in Florida.

* - I had South Carolina incorrectly noted as a closed primary on Saturday.


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