While Ted Cruz only received about a third of the votes Donald Trump did in yesterday's NH Primary, its now clear there's just two contestants in the race for the GOP nomination for President of the United States.
Unlike previous Iowa winners, Ted Cruz did not receive the media attention that normally applies after beating the "media frontrunner" for a solid win. MSM instead chose to focus on the golden boy for the establishment, Marco Rubio, and did their best to vault him to the top in NH.
Not so fast my friend...
In Saturday's debate, Chris Christie exposed Rubio for a pre-programmed talking point speaker and ruined any (marco)mentum the media built up after Rubio's exhilarating 3rd place Iowa finish. While its not assured that's the reason for Rubio's downfall in NH, it certainly didn't help him.
Meanwhile, Ted Cruz was picked to finish 6th in a state full of moderate Republicans and instead vaulted to 3rd behind the two most liberal of the candidates in the GOP field. THAT certainly was a big surprise. But don't expect the MSM to give Cruz the same treatment they gave Rubio after Iowa. They have no interest in Cruz winning the GOP nomination and will continue to try and keep that from happening.
The Cruz campaign had no designs at all on winning New Hampshire, and their spending there is a perfect example of seeing the folly of throwing cash at the voters in the liberal-moderate state.
Here is a breakdown of each candidate's spending in New Hampshire (includes both campaign and Super PAC spending)
Jeb Bush $36 million
Chris Christie $18.5 million
Marco Rubio $15.2 million
John Kasich $12.1 million
Donald Trump $3.7 million
Carly Fiorina $1.8 million
Ted Cruz $580k
You might notice there that the 4 biggest spenders are part and parcel of the establishment and not adverse to throwing money around. Now this spending in NH is after the Bush and Rubio campaigns spent a combined $28 million in Iowa (by contrast, Ted Cruz spent just $6 million in Iowa)
It should be noted that just 23% of New Hampshire GOP voters consider themselves very conservative so the overwhelming majority of them are not the electorate the Cruz campaign is after but they're tailor-made for Trump and Kasich (moderates and liberals) and both democrats and republicans can vote in either primary regardless of party affiliation.
Now we come to South Carolina, where a full 2/3 of GOP primary voters are evangelical Christians.
The Cruz ground game is unmatched in the Palmetto state and we're just likely to see the very results we saw in Iowa.
My guess is that Ted Cruz has been patiently awaiting this moment and look for the next 10 days to be one of the most active political fights we've seen in recent memory.