Sarah Palin: Convention Kingmaker?

Sen. Judd Gregg, writing in an op-ed for The Hill, voices concern that the GOP's nominating process favors Sarah Palin:

Because the nominating process has become so dominated by primary elections, with the vast majority of the delegates chosen by direct vote, it is entirely possible that with no presumptive winner or even favorites, a candidate who runs second or third in a great many primaries could go into the convention with a sizable block of delegates.

Who would this favor? Does Sarah Palin come to mind? Although she is not viewed by most as strong enough to win, she is viewed by many as a person worth voting for to make a statement. And primaries tend to be populated by people who go to the polls with the purpose of making a statement.

Finishing second and third isn't really a big deal -- until you get enough delegates to be the nominee. And picking a nominee who it seems would be easily defeated by President Obama might not be the best statement.

Gregg argues that Palin could accrue enough delegates, by placing second or third in enough states, to ultimately secure the nomination at the next Republican nominating convention.

Here's another thought: With a sizable chunk of delegates, Palin could play kingmaker, handing the nomination to someone else by releasing her delegates with the understanding that they'll vote a certain way. It can be difficult to ensure that released delegates will vote a certain way, but Palin's followers support her with zeal, and that might help the former governor capitalize on any bloc of delegates she brings with her.

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Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.

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