IOWA IS FINALLY HERE!

January 2, 2012

After a year of campaigning, months of speculation about who might jump in, and the rise, fall and bowing out of two serious contenders the Iowa contest is finally upon us. Latest polling has shown a toss-up between Ron Paul and Mitt Romney with Rick Santorum closing in quickly, even surging ahead of Newt Gingrich in some polls.

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Although the polls are mixed I believe ultimately Mitt Romney will have the day garnering support from about a quarter of the caucus participants tomorrow with Ron Paul potentially coming in a third behind the surging former senator form Pennsylvania, Rick Santorum. While the polls out show Santorum peaking at around 16% I believe that he will break the twenty point mark due to a late injection of support coming from anti-Romney voters defecting from the Gingrich and Bachmann camps. At the end of the day these voters are out to ensure that a conservative is the party’s nominee and will see that they are splitting the conservative vote by backing these candidates that will not win at the end of the day. At this point I expect to see Michelle Bachmann drop out of the race, although I don’t believe she will endorse anyone because she is going to be hoping that the eventual candidate will consider her for the VP slot. Additionally for the remainder of the race Ron Paul will be stagnant staying around the ten percent mark.

This strong finish in Iowa for Santorum in combination with what is expected to be a strong debate performance on Saturday will result in a second place finish in New Hampshire which will in turn continue the snowball’s growth as the Senator continues to gain ground nationally. Also, I don’t expect Newt to be nearly as good in this New Hampshire debate as he has been in the previous expose’s, I expect him to come off as bitter and as a whiner with few good things to say about the other candidates. After New Hampshire you will see the irrelevant campaign of Jon Huntsman come to an end with his endorsement of Mitt Romney.

South Carolina is where this campaign will become a truly two man race; by this point I believe Newt will have nationally fallen back to single digits and Rick Perry will be hanging in for his last ride in this political rodeo. I expect a strong rally of support around the now dominate anti-Romney candidate and new TEA Party champion, Rick Santorum. His campaign will be flush with cash and plenty able to go toe-to-toe economically with the establishment candidate, Mitt Romney. I don’t think it will even be close; Santorum 45%, Romney 30%, and the other candidates combined receiving 25%! From this point forward it’s a two man race that I believe will end long before the convention due to Romney’s inability to garner support from more than around 1/3 of the party. Santorum will be our party’s next presidential nominee!

There is a feeling of renewed hope for downtown success.(LAS VEGAS BEAT)(Industry overview)

IGWB: International Gaming & Wagering Business May 1, 2008 | Green, Marian Before the Las Vegas Strip took over with its ultra lounges, tony restaurants, Cirque du Soleil and celebrity poker, downtown casinos welcomed constant throngs of visitors with a friendly wave from neon cowboy Vegas Vic.

It’s no secret the area has struggled since the 1990s, as tourists found more and more reasons to bypass the older properties in favor of the glitzy Strip megaresorts, and casinos began to rise in suburban neighborhoods.

Dozens, if not hundreds, of articles have been written since then about downtown Las Vegas and its impending renaissance or its impending demise.

Now, more than a decade later, downtown Las Vegas is reclaiming some of its former glory, causing more than one downtown casino executive to express cautious optimism.

“You’re seeing stuff moving along, not at lightning speed but moving,” said one executive who didn’t want his name used. “There’s a very real opportunity here for us downtown.” The Fremont Street Experience took them part of the way in the mid-1990s, turning Fremont Street into a pedestrian mall between Main Street and Las Vegas Boulevard.

It’s emblematic of a renaissance in the downtown gaming corridor. The $70 million Fremont Street Experience project has done its job well: The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority estimates it attracts as many as 15 million tourists annually.

“It’s doing exactly what was promised very early on,” said Rob Stillwell, vice president, corporate communications, for Boyd Gaming.

For one thing, as Strip casinos continue to become more expensive, tourists may turn to the more reasonable downtown casinos. For another, visitors to downtown enjoy being able to wander the few blocks of the pedestrian mall and duck in and out of different casinos.

Signs of life In 2007, casinos in downtown Las Vegas recorded their first year-over-year increase in gaming tax revenues in three years.

Business is brisk these days at the Triple George Grill just a stone’s throw away from the Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas. Power brokers meet there for lunch, and in the evenings, it’s a popular place for a martini and conversation.

It’s an example of the kinds of businesses that are beginning to crop up and that are finding success.

Local residents also are embracing the area once again. “We talk to a lot of people, and we hear the same thing over and over again, particularly from the locals. ‘We had a really great time. It was a lot of fun. I didn’t realize it was like this,'” Stillwell said. site fremont street experience

One of the great examples, he said, is downtown’s draw on Dec. 31.

“At New Year’s, it’s becoming more and more one of the desired venues to go to,” he said.

Like the Las Vegas Strip, downtown Las Vegas continues to redefine itself. “There’s some new energy downtown,” Stillwell noted. “We’re seeing that turn into capital investment.” The Golden Nugget has expanded, and other properties, such as the Four Queens and Plaza, are, or have, invested in their properties. The Horseshoe has new owners, as does the Gold Spike.

Near the Fremont Street downtown are other signs that the area is being rediscovered. The First Friday arts events are well established, and are drawing local residents downtown. More shops and restaurants are opening, and condo projects, such as Streamline Tower, have opened or are under construction.

Add to that the success of the World Market Center furniture mall and the Las Vegas Outlet Center, as well as plans for a downtown arts center, and there are reasons to bet on the area’s future vibrancy.

“I’m sure there’s going to be a lot more activity down there. All those things bode well for downtown’s future,” Stillwell said.

Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman has focused on improving downtown.

During a recent address to business leaders, Goodman was bullish, according to a Las Vegas Business Press account.

“You’re going to be so impressed with Las Vegas,” he told the crowd. “Your friends will say they never thought Las Vegas could get to this level. It’s going to be iconic. World-class performing.” On the 61 acres the city acquired from Union Pacific, plans for development will include the Lou Ruvo Brain Institute, designed by architect Frank Gehry, a 350,000-square-foot Smith Center for the Performing Arts, multiple high-rise residential units, and business and retail opportunities. Also proposed is a plan to bring a professional sports team to Las Vegas and build them a stadium to play in.

The City of Las Vegas also has a plan to turn a historic post office building into a mob museum.

The CIM group, which bought into the shuttered Lady Luck, is in talks with the city to put money toward the proposed mob museum near Las Vegas City Hall.

The plan would be to coordinate the museum’s opening with the renovation of Lady Luck. web site fremont street experience

Neon disappointment One recent plan to revitalize downtown hasn’t shown much success. The Neonopolis entertainment complex, located at the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Fremont Street, opened in 2002, promising to help reinvigorate the area with shops, restaurants and a movie theater. The city-subsidized project has had dismal results and now houses just a couple of tenants.

Some say the building’s design was foreboding to pedestrians, while others say the mix was ill suited to draw downtown visitors. Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist John L. Smith dubbed it “Neonflopolis,” and recently, the building’s owners changed the name to Fremont Square.

Still, casino and city executives remain hopeful that the complex, whatever it’s called, will eventually succeed.

“I think it’s a matter of finding the right mix of venues. There have been some pockets of success relative to that,” Stillwell said.

Some say bringing music venues downtown enliven the area and recalled the success of a reggae-blues club that operated on Fremont Street in the early 1990s.

City officials also see the entertainment potential, indicating they’d like to see the complex become a marketplace-style development that complements the Fremont Street Experience.

What happens in downtown …

One thing downtown Las Vegas could benefit from is a catchy, cohesive marketing message. Some tourists who come to town aren’t even aware of the downtown area. Mark Brandenburg, proprietor of Las Vegas’ oldest hotel, the Golden Gate hotel-casino, is one who believes in downtown’s promise.

“Downtown does have qualities that I think are both desirable and marketable,” he said. “We just have to let people know we’re here.” Green, Marian


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