There will be no getting around the intra-party warfare over the next two months as Republican presidential hopefuls take aim at each other in an attempt to climb to the top of the primary hill. While the Democratic race is all but over - three candidates and only one gaining serious traction - the Republican side still has 11 candidates.
The New York Times reports that the candidates are set to spend a small fortune attacking each other ahead of the February 1 Iowa caucuses and February 9 New Hampshire primaries:
By month’s end, the candidates and their allied groups could spend as much as $100 million combined, much of it on negative advertising delivered via television, radio, mailers and digital spots. And after the effectiveness of positive television commercials came under question last year when tens of millions of dollars failed to lift Mr. Bush, January will offer insights into whether attack ads still have the power they did in past presidential elections.
Candidates had taken to a sort of truce over Christmas, one that has been busted wide open now ahead of a season experts say will only get nastier:
“You’re going to see even sharper elbows” starting this week, said Jon Seaton, a Republican strategist not affiliated with any of the campaigns. “And by the middle of January, everybody will have their pads on and helmets buckled.”
You can also expect candidates to attack each other for different reasons. Ted Cruz is attacking Marco Rubio to solidify himself as the alternative to Donald Trump while Chris Christie and Jeb Bush are expected to attack Rubio to try and beat the young Floridian as the best chance for an establishment candidate to win.