Schwarzenegger to Endorse McCain
The Governator, Arnold Schwarzenegger, is joining the McCain bandwagon.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will endorse John McCain on Thursday, giving a boost to the Republican presidential front-runner six days before California’s high-prize primary. The two will appear at a news conference after touring a Los Angeles-based solar energy company and the governor will make his endorsement official, his senior aides confirmed.
Schwarzenegger’s endorsement of McCain is yet another setback for Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who saw Florida slip from his grasp Tuesday after McCain rolled up the support of that state’s two top elected Republicans, Gov. Charlie Crist and Sen. Mel Martinez. His strategy in tatters, Romney plans to offer himself as the conservative alternative to McCain as he pushes ahead in hopes of winning enough delegates to topple the Arizona senator when 21 states vote in the Republican contest on Tuesday.
McCain, the four-term senator, is running strongly ahead of all three rivals in California, which offers a whopping 170 delegates to the Republican nominating convention. Candidates secure three delegates for each of the state’s 53 congressional districts they win in the primary, in which only Republicans can vote.
The ultimate effect of Schwarzenegger’s endorsement is unclear. The celebrity governor and former actor is universally known in the state, and his political network certainly will be helpful to McCain, who has virtually no organized effort in California after his candidacy nearly collapsed last summer. The actor-turned-governor also is a prolific fundraiser. But Schwarzenegger has a strained relationship with some conservatives in his own party and McCain, himself, is fighting to convince GOP rank-and-file that he’s committed to conservative values. Schwarzenegger’s nod could exacerbate concerns about McCain among the party establishment.
My guess is that the endorsement won’t matter all that much; rather, it signals that the GOP Establishment figures McCain’s ultimate nomination is a foregone conclusion.