Yeah, sorry we didn't meet up Eric.
I was working "security" at the Brownback tent for most of the day, making sure Romney supporters didn't mooch food off of us, but I still wandered around quite a bit and took in the sights.
The Paul camp was out in force, but your analysis doesn't surprise me. I got the sense that a lot of them were from out of the state, and that a lot of them weren't exactly Republicans... so it doesn't surprise me that they may have resisted helping out a GOP fundraiser. What they should have done, though, was gobble up some of Romney's free tickets.
Seriously, though, that's what happened with the Huckabee supporters.
As I'm sure you noticed, people who were visibly with Huckabee were a distinct minority. There were far more Romney, Brownback and even Paul supporters there than there were Huckabee.
What happened, though, is that a large majority of the Fair Tax people went for Huckabee. They were bussed in by the Fair Tax group, and they ended up getting their voting tickets by taking advantage of the free tickets being given away by Brownback and Romney.
We gave out over 3000 tickets (more than enough to come in a strong second) but only ended up with 2100 votes. From my observation, a lot of those went to people wearing Fair Tax shirts and hats, but we didn't realize the full implication of who these guys were voting for (Huckabee) until after the fact.
I'm sure the same thing happened to Romney... he just had a big enough cushion where it didn't matter.
As for Brownback, you are correct that third is a fine showing. The bad thing is that it was third to the one guy we couldn't afford to finish behind -- Huckabee. IMO (this is not the campaign's position) we needed to establish ourselves as the pre-eminent social conservative in the race. And now I think Huckabee can lay claim to that.
After being there all day, I was really stunned that we didn't get second. After seeing the supporters and the organization, I'd have said: Romney, Brownback, Paul/Tancredo, and then maybe Huckabee.
In fact, until minutes before the vote was announced, we thought we had second in hand, and when we found out we were behind Huckabee, it felt like the air had been let out of the room (which is saying something since we had the only air-conditioned tent!
All in all it was a fun day, though. I'm still exhausted from being out in the blazing heat all day (and trying to track you down!
Let's see... other observations. I like Duncan Hunter a lot, but his presence there was embarrassing. He did have good old-fashioned ice cream though. I think he'll stick it out until the South Carolina primary.
Tommy Thompson had a ghost town there... he had to know going in he was finished.
I know some Tancredo people, and I hear he was very disappointed to not have finished higher. He put a lot of hope into this event and he may now be not much longer for this race.
Fifth isn't bad for y'all... but I'm sure it's a little disappointing to not have been able to translate all the bodies you had on the ground into more votes. You guys did have the most hand-made signs and t-shirts though!
The turnout has to be very worrisome for the Republican party. I'm seeing depressed and unmotivated Republican voters/donors all over the place. Hopefully all this will change when Hillary gets the nomination (nothing will motivate Republicans like another Clinton to run against).