On May 22nd, two states voted held primaries: Arkansas and Kentucky. As mentioned previously, the primary contest has steadily been becoming more and more of a formality. Since our last coverage, Ron Paul has also left the race, leaving the race truly a one man contest.
Being the only candidate to be running an active campaign, Romney coasted to victory in Kentucky with 67% of the vote. Ron Paul, whose supporters are generally considered the most dedicated, and whose son is a senator in Kentucky, finished a very distant second with 13% of the vote. One of the interesting facts about the race is now that it is entering a phase of hibernation, the results are not just coming out the same between states (Mitt Romney got the same share of the vote here as he did in Oregon), but even between counties. Kentucky has many counties, many of them small, so I would have thought that one of Kentucky's small, rural counties might have given a win to a candidate other than Romney. But Romney won the entire state.
There is very little of interest here.
Back in March, around the time of the Louisiana, Mitt Romney's campaign ran into a small amount of difficulty when a staffer said that the campaign could be "reset like an Etch-A-Sketch", which could be taken to mean that Romney would disavow or downplay conservative stances. More charitably, it could just mean that after the primary, the campaign would begin to shift to the logistical challenges of running a general election campaign.
If there was an upset for Romney, even a token one at this point, that reinvention could be put on hold. But the placid results in Kentucky and Arkansas show that the campaign is in its "Etch-A-Sketch" period, with both sides trying to figure out their main campaign strategies. There is also probably a human factor in the campaign, with fatigue giving candidates and staff a reason to rest up. For both normal citizens and the media, the competition is also waning in interest.
After a series of primary battles that were bruising and weakening, the Romney campaign is now safely entering a period of dormancy as it tries to figure out its strategy for the coming fall. The safe results of this week ensure that we will probably not hear any exciting news from the campaign until close to the time of its convention.