Matt Mackowiak

The 2012 Republican presidential primary campaign has been the most volatile and least predictable campaign in my lifetime. In spite of this, I see several potential scenarios in the early states, all subject to change at any moment.

We are now less than three weeks from the Iowa Caucuses and there are (thankfully) no more televised debates. This campaign is now being waged over the air and on the ground, in the homes, coffee shops, diners and community centers of Iowa.

How will it go?

One of four ways:

1) Chaos Theory – There is a very real chance that libertarian Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) wins Iowa with between 22 and 28 percent. Nothing will shake up the race more than this outcome. If this happens, it virtually ensures that Paul remains in the race throughout the entire primary, picking up delegates and raising millions to spend across many states. He will not win many states (maybe only Iowa), but with the new proportional delegate system, he will likely finish second or third in delegates when it’s all said and done. Politico’s Ben Smith recently predicted that he could envision a future where Ron Paul’s delegates could tip the balance at a brokered convention. Who benefits from a Ron Paul boomlet? Most likely Romney as Paul’s success will scare conservatives and the GOP establishment alike. Although it may also force the consolidation of conservatives behind another, non-Paul, non-Romney candidate.

2) Newt Theory – A historian by trade, Newt has always fancied himself as an historical figure. His prophecy just may become self-fulfilling. His strong debate performances allowed him to come back, and as Herman Cain flamed out Gingrich was the primary beneficiary, rocketing to first place. The resulting attacks that he has sustained (and not responded to) have now stalled his momentum. Newt is not running a traditional campaign – in fact he refuses to. However, he recently hired three respected senior strategists on his bid: David Winston, Kellyanne (Conway) Fitzpatrick and Rex Elsass. His organization is seriously lacking, as he opened his first Iowa office in early December, but should the power of his confidence, communication strengths, and history as a conservative leader result in a significant win in Iowa, the field will narrow, resulting in the Romney nightmare scenario: a two man race. Romney’s Super PAC is attacking Newt, as is Ron Paul’s campaign, in paid media. They both see him as a threat, reaffirming his status as the lead dog, although recent polling shows that he his standing is on a downward trajectory.

Matt Mackowiak

Matt Mackowiak is a Washington, DC and Austin, TX based political and communications consultant and the founder and President of Potomac Strategy Group, LLC, providing political consulting, media relations and crisis communications assistance to campaigns, companies, groups and individuals. Since he arrived in Washington, DC, he has served in senior roles for two U.S. Senators, a Governor, in the executive branch, in winning political campaigns, and in the private sector. Over his career Matt has developed deep relationships with national, state and local media and political figures.

Most recently Matt worked with PSG client Gov. Sean Parnell (R-AK) as a senior communications adviser, providing counsel on strategy, speechwriting and media relations during the 2011 legislative session in Juneau.

In 2010 Matt served as Campaign Manager for Bill Flores, the Republican nominee in Texas’ 17th Congressional District. After winning a 5-way primary, Flores defeated 10-term incumbent Rep. Chet Edwards (D-TX) by 25% in November, the largest margin of victory for a GOP challenger in 2010.

In addition to offering counsel to individuals and corporations, Matt provides political analysis for the Fox News Channel, MSNBC, ABC News, CBS News, BBC News, and radio stations throughout the country. Matt’s on-therecord political analysis has appeared in Politico, the Washington Times, the Los Angeles Times, Bloomberg News, The Hill, Congressional Quarterly, the Washington Examiner, the Dallas Morning News, the Houston Chronicle, and on He is a syndicated columnist and has had opinion columns published in the New York Post, New York Daily News,, Chicago Tribune, Philadelphia Inquirer, Politico, Roll Call, Austin American-Statesman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Des Moines Register, National Review online, Congressional Quarterly and on the popular blog sites The Daily Beast and The Huffington Post. Matt has lectured and given speeches at the University of Illinois, the University of Texas, Texas Christian University, Georgetown University, Catholic University, the University of Denver, American University and the University of North Texas.

From 2005-2009 Matt served as Press Secretary to U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (RTX), the fourth ranking member of the Republican Leadership, and three-term former U.S. Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT). Earlier in his career he was a political appointee at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for Under Secretary Asa Hutchinson and Assistant Secretary Stewart Verdery, managed the second largest county in Iowa on the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign, counseled corporate clients at international PR firm Burson-Marsteller, and performed White House Presidential and Vice Presidential advance nationwide.

Matt is a Director of the Center for Public Policy and Political Studies at Austin Community College, and is a sustaining member of MaverickPAC. He serves as a member of the Board of Advisors for the non-profit Luke’s Wings and enjoys helping Becky’s Fund and USA CARES.

A native of Austin, Texas, Matt graduated with a B.S. in Communications Studies (Political Communication track) from the University of Texas in 2003. Aside from his professional work, he owns and manages the popular blog site, which the Washingtonian has called “one of the best political blogs.” In his free time, Matt enjoys sports, live music, reading biographies, and is an avid supporter of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the University of Texas.