COMMENT: So Simon Bridges won yesterday and won it well.
I think the audio recording released by Jami-Lee Ross shows that he is a duplicitous, dishonest, conniving, feral little scumbag - who has been outed for what he really is.
That tape had nothing. Oh, it had a bit of raw talk, some off the cuff commentary, a few basic observations. The sort of thing you would hear a thousand times a day in offices all over the country.
And if you're offended by it, then harden up. It's politics, where blunt assessments and observations are made that way every day.
But is there criminality? No. Not even close.
And that is Ross' problem. The difference between what he talked up Tuesday and what unfolded yesterday are two very, very different things.
And that's what makes him a grub. When you do what he did Tuesday, when you toss the grenade, make the accusation, turn it into a circus with the pre-announced police appointment, by the time it all unfolds it better be everything you promised, if not more.
It was nothing of the sort. His credibility is shot. He is exposed. He is a busted flush.
I believed Bridges on Tuesday when he said the police would have nothing, because you could see it in his face. Bridges has a face that gives him away.
Go back to that press conference when Ross went on sick leave. The bumbling, stumbling explanations, words like "it's embarrassing", "a lot embarrassing," "you think you know somebody." That was the face of a bloke hiding stuff, and as a result it made no sense.
By the time you got to Tuesday and he said there was nothing, he was rock solid and resolute. You knew he was telling the truth.
By the time you got to late yesterday, there was more truth. There was perhaps for the first time the real, no holds barred, bugger this, I'm a leader Simon Bridges. If he's to get out of this alive, more please.
The tape, although legally a joke, might still have ramifications. Is the public aghast at the tone of the chat? I would hope not, but in this PC world you never know.
Does money play a part in the political game? Of course it does.
Do they balance their lists with race-based selections? Yes, they do. But if all of this is shocking you've been asleep at the wheel.
On the big day, when everyone's credibility was on the line, given yesterday was the day that set the table for how this thing goes forward, Bridges came out not just alive, but probably unscathed.
Ross is a pathetic, crumpled mess. He deserves now to be treated with derision - and to hopefully get spanked and sent packing in the Botany byelection.