Robert Novak

WASHINGTON -- Supporters of Rudy Giuliani for president are changing New Jersey's longtime proportional representation rules for allocating national convention delegates to winner-take-all, seeking a coup to give the former New York City mayor the lion's share of the state's 52 votes.

A June 14 meeting of New Jersey's Republican State Central Committee is expected to adopt a Feb. 5 presidential primary procedure giving the first-place finisher all three delegates in each of the state's 13 House districts, and the statewide leader all 13 at-large delegates. In the past, delegates were divided among candidates according to their share of the vote (as in 1980, when Ronald Reagan and George Bush split New Jersey).

Giuliani's Jersey coup is engineered by his liberal supporters in the state allied with David Von Savage, conservative Republican chairman of Cape May County (also backing him for president).

THOMPSON'S TEAM

Lawrence Lindsey, George W. Bush's issues adviser in the 1999-2000 run-up to his presidential candidacy, is poised to play a similar role in Fred Thompson's imminent campaign.

A former Harvard economics professor and Federal Reserve governor, Lindsey was National Economics Council director in the Bush administration's first two years. He was fired following the 2002 elections after accurately predicting the cost of the Iraq war.

A footnote: Longtime Washington power broker Tom Korologos, who completed his service as U.S. ambassador to Belgium in February, is also expected to join Thompson's campaign.

RICHARDSON'S COLLAPSE

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson's declining prospects for moving up from the lower tier of Democratic presidential candidates hit bottom after Tim Russert's grilling on NBC's "Meet the Press" last Sunday.

As the only sitting governor and Hispanic-American running for president, Richardson earlier this year appeared an excellent prospect for vice president and a presidential dark horse. But the same insiders who were interested in Richardson in January saw him stumbling in May and have fallen away.

He may have been done in by what old hands say may be the worst "Meet the Press" showing of all time. He seemed unprepared for Russert's questions on Iraq, immigration, gun control and his own record, culminating in his declaring he is simultaneously a Red Sox and a Yankee fan. Old Richardson-watchers say he has been flying by the seat of his pants his whole career, and this time crashed and burned.

LEWIS TO LEAVE?

Republican sources on Capitol Hill and in California say Rep. Jerry Lewis, ranking Republican on the House Appropriations Committee who has been criticized on ethical grounds, will not seek a 16th term next year.


Robert Novak

Robert Novak (1931-2009) was a syndicated columnist and editor of the Evans-Novak Political Report.
 

 
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