COLUMBIA — Rudy Giuliani’s scheduled campaign stop in Columbia on Wednesday, a month and a half before Missouri’s Feb. 5 primary, is an attempt to get ahead of the rest of the Republican field in an important swing state, said Marvin Overby, an MU political science professor.
Visiting Missouri at this point in the race is risky, Overby said, but could pay off with more moderate voters down the road.
“Giuliani’s basically conceded Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina,” Overby said. “He’s made the strategic position to bet more on the later swing states of Florida, Missouri and California than in states where he’s not likely to do well. He’s more likely to appeal to more moderate Republicans, who aren’t the kind of people who get out in the snow to vote in New Hampshire or go to caucuses in the winter, like in Iowa.”
Columbia will be the second stop on Giuliani’s one-day trek across Missouri. He’ll hold a press conference in Kansas City at 12:30 p.m., and a meet and greet with supporters in Chesterfield will conclude his visit later in the afternoon.
Giuliani will be speaking on the “broad vision of what he wants to accomplish and the tone he wants to set if elected as president,” said Elliot Bundy, a spokesman for Giuliani’s campaign.
“Missouri is an important state in every election, and this is our first opportunity to make it to Columbia. We’ve been spending a lot of time in Missouri right now, and we think we’ve got a great chance of winning the February 5 primary,” Bundy said.
Overby said no Republican has ever received the party’s nomination without winning or doing well in the Iowa, New Hampshire or South Carolina primaries.
“He’s gearing his campaign toward the big states’ primaries,” Overby said. “It might work. It might not.”
Neither the Holiday Inn Select nor the Columbia Police Department said they have not been contacted about security for Giuliani’s Columbia visit, according to hotel manager David Streeter and police Capt. Tom Dresner.
Giuliani, one of nine leading Republican candidates for the nomination, has been endorsed by Missouri Sen. Kit Bond, State Rep. Ed Robb, R-Columbia, and State Rep. Steve Hobbs, R-Mexico, according to a Dec. 5 press release on his official campaign Web site.
Giuliani will host a town hall meeting at the Columbia Expo Center in the Holiday Inn Select at 2200 I-70 Drive S.W. Doors will open at 2 p.m. and Giuliani’s speech is scheduled to start at 2:15 p.m. The event is open to the public and no tickets are required. Giuliani is expected to take questions from audience members during the hour-long event.
For more on Giuliani’s presidential campaign, go to joinrudy2008.com.