CHICAGO - Wrapping up two days of analyzing industry data, metrics, benchmarking and store performance, the NACS State of the Industry Summit signed off with one of the most significant uncertainties facing our nation: the 2012 presidential elections.
Jim Ellis, a senior consultant at PRIsm Consulting, provides daily political analysis and commentary to many large corporations and associations, including NACS. He summed up this year€™s election outcome with a few statements on the outcome of the Republican presidential nomination: It will be Mitt Romney, it could be Mitt Romney, or it may not be Mitt Romney. "You€™ll find right now that 'probably€™ is the accurate answer," Ellis said, noting that the GOP nomination could go to an open convention, which has not happened in the modern day.
In a "delegates 101" summarization and education, Ellis described how 1,144 of the total 2,286 delegates in each state and six territories are need to win the GOP nomination €" and possible scenarios that will seal Romney€™s fate as the party€™s frontrunner.
"It€™s really Romney against the 1,144 delegates €" not the other Republican candidates," he said, noting that road ahead for the potential nominee is rocky €" Romney so far has been weak in the rural areas and the South where the Republican Party is strongest, but he€™s been strong in the cities. "If he has to rely on the cities, he€™ll have a serious problem," suggested Ellis.
Meanwhile, should the nomination go to Romney, he€™ll need €" at minimum €" to secure five states plus the second congressional district of Nebraska (Omaha) to beat Obama: Indiana, North Carolina, Virginia, Florida and Ohio. On the Democratic side, "Obama only needs one of these states to win," noted Ellis.
The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives are also facing unique situations with historically, but Ellis noted that it could be a 50-50 split, but it€™s possible the Senate will tilt toward a Republican majority. Meanwhile, the already-GOP-controlled House could win an even stronger majority.
The big question is also who Romney would pick as his vice president. Unlike George W. Bush, who chose Dick Chaney to help him govern, Romney will need to choose a running mate who can help him win €" such as U.S. Sen. Mario Rubio (R-FL), a young, Hispanic politician with a bright future. "The question is if he€™s [Rubio] ready for prime time," noted Ellis.
Although the Republican nominee may not be certain, one thing is: A lot could happen between now and November, so buckle up €" it€™s gonna be a bumpy ride!