Although not officially a candidate for the Presidency, former Sen. Fred Thompson made some campaign staff changes that would indicate a formal announcement is getting closer. Thompson "re-assigned" Tom Collamore, who had been leading the campaign and tapped expereince Florida GOP operative Randy Enwright to lead the campaign's day-to-day operations. Thompson also corralled former Energy Secretary and Senator Spencer Abraham to join the campaign in a chairman like position.
These are pretty smart moves. Enwright's solid Florida credentials are going to be important for Thompson. Florida's primary will occur between the Iowa Caucuses/New Hampshire Primary and the "national primary" date. Thompson needs a respectable, i.e. third place) showing in Iowa and New Hampshire, with a healthy vote total. A win in Florida (which seems to be his target) and a strong showing in South Carolina (second or a very close third place) on Feb. 2 would give Thompson the momentum going into the national primary of Feb. 5. A win in South Carolina will eliminate McCain and put Thompson so close to Giuliani and Romney that the term dead heat will be bandied about a great deal in the three days between South Carolina and national primary.
Rick Moran thinks that Thompson won't be able to compete financially with Romney or Giuliani. But I disagree. While Giuliani and Romney have posted some pretty good fundraising quarters, I am not impressed with either total. The GOP faithful know that their candidate is going to need some serious cabbage to compete with the Hillary/Barack fundraising team, but I am not seeing that kind of money flowing into the GOP candidate coffers. This leads me to believe that many in the GOP, particularly conservatives, are looking for Thompson or Gingrich to jump into the race and thus are keeping their powder dry until one or the other jumps in or makes a declaration that they aren't going to run.
I wouldn't be surprise that when (if) Thompson announces, his thrid quarter fundraising totals surpass Romney and Giuliani by a big percentage and might even rival the Obama machine.
When all is said and done, between Giuliani, Romney and Thompson, the winner on Feb. 5 will be the campaign that makes the fewest mistakes.