Working the political beat during a summer internship in DC can definitely provide that all important stepping stone to a successful career in political journalism. Here’s the view of two reporters now covering this year’s heated GOP primary battle. Both are former DC interns and alumnae of the Institute on Political Journalism who went on to full-time journalism jobs covering campaigns and elections.
Historically in most Presidential primary battles, Super Tuesday is the day when a front runner emerges and the party begins to rally behind the presumptive nominee. Well, Super Tuesday has come and gone and later primaries have now been won by the insurgent campaign of former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum. These wins by Santorum could spell bad news for Newt Gingrich who needed at least one win in his southern home territory.
Reporting for POLITICO, IPJ Alumnae Juana Summers (IPJ 2010) wrote, “ For Santorum, a decisive victory in the Deep South — where Gingrich represented the state of Georgia for over two decades — is a definitive statement that he is the candidate around which conservatives should rally.”
Summers went on to report that Santorum has a big problem when it comes to winning in the land of Lincoln. “The Santorum campaign failed to file slates of delegates in some of the state’s congressional districts. The 69 delegates at stake in Illinois are awarded proportionally by congressional district.”
DISTRICT GPS contacted Jessica Taylor (IPJ 2005) a reporter and anaylyst for the well respected Rothenberg Political Report and asked her if all four candidates were likely to stay in the race. Taylor said “I think while all four nominees will say now they’re not getting out until Tampa, you’re going to see the party establishment ramp up pressure, particularly on Gingrich, in the coming weeks. But, Gingrich is Gingrich — Even though there’s no plausible path forward for him, and losing two Southern states undermines any semblance of a path he has, he’s going to stay in as long as he can keep getting attention. Paul has never fallen in any way with the GOP establishment, and I think his delegates could become very important, especially since he’s had a cordial relationship with Romney. “
Asked what might happen if Santorum has a stronger than expected showing in Illinois, Taylor replied that “ If Santorum can win in Illinois, I think it will continue to be problematic for Romney, but not devastating. Still, at this point Romney has the organization and money to keep going on, and that’s something Santorum will continue to struggle with, particularly with Gingrich still in the mix. Romney’s base problems are nothing new, but the not-so-quiet calls to wrap this up in a somewhat civilized manner will continue.”
Check back with DISTRICT GPS in the coming weeks for more on the election of 2012 from other former DC interns now covering these historic elections.