by Brent Moritz
Fred Thompson, actor and former Senator from Tennessee, has exited the race for the Republican nomination. You can read more about it here in the New York Times:
This comes as no surprise to the Mitt Rockers, who have been speculating as to Mr. Thompson's demise for some time. Still, what is interesting is that the Times and other sources point to the potential positive impact for Mitt Romney. Clearly Thompson was a favorite of the conservative wing of the party, yet he could not win in any of the primaries and was not relevant in many of them.
Thompson supporters are likely to select one of the remaining leading candidates. This makes Romney's wins in Michigan and Nevada even more important, as Romney has established himself as one of the leaders. It is unlikely many of the Thompson supporters will move to Giuliani, as he clearly holds more liberal social positions than the other candidates. So this makes Florida a tighter race between Giuliani, Romney, Huckabee and McCain, with each of the latter three gaining some Thompson supporters. In addition, Huckabee appears to be conceding Florida, so more of the Conservative voters (there and elsewhere) have to chose between McCain and Romney, and McCain has never been the favorite of the Republican right.