Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Romney to face big challenges in Arizona and Michigan


Some people feel former Governor Mitt Romney has Michigan and Arizona (the next two primary states) in the bag. Others think he's in for a bigger fight in both states than originally expected.

Both Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich claim they could beat Romney if the other guy (Santorum or Gingrich) would just drop out. Well, the other guy may not drop out, but they may get close to their wishes in AZ and MI. Arizona has 29 delegates while Michigan has 30, and both states are in play on February 29.
Because Romney is "the son of Detroit," and Arizona is heavily Mormon, he is expected to do very well in both states. But all signs indicate that Santorum is focusing his energy on Michigan, while Gingrich has his sights set on Arizona. Since neither campaign has the resources (manpower or money) to go full force in both states, it makes sense that they would divide and conquer, leaving Romney with essentially a one on one battle in both states. (Ron Paul is not a factor in either state.) 
According to the Washington Examiner this division of forces is not intentional or the result of any sort of deal between Santorum and Gingrich. "I can assure you no such agreement exists," says a Gingrich source. It's just turning out that way- probably because it is so logical a high school government student could have predicted it.
Santorum has the "momentum" of his hat trick last week in his pocket. While Gingrich hasn't had any success since his win in South Carolina. The polls in Arizona (the state he will be focusing on) show him lagging behind Romney. That being said, he's not actually in Arizona right now, but in California trying to raise money. (Which makes sense really, after all a lot of Arizonans are actually wealthy Californians with vacation homes in Scottsdale.) By the end of the week Gingrich will be in Georgia which is both his home state and a Super Tuesday state. In theory he is strong in Georgia, and rumors of Gingrich going for a "Southern States" campaign strategy are strong since his only win is in the South and makes sense. (in the "if you think he has any place still in the primaries" sense of the word.)

So what is there in Michigan for Santorum, besides a lack of Gingrich?
Well, it turns out Romney may not be as popular in Michigan as once expected. For starters, the bailouts that saved Detroit were opposed by Romney. His biggest problem is that thus far he has campaigned solely on his business and economic strengths. But now suddenly the auto industry (that he wanted to let go bankrupt- a Bain Capital move if there ever was one) has rebounded on Obama policies, and the economy is making a comeback. Romney's "I can save us now" rhetoric is going to fall on deaf ears that are turning back to Obama. Meanwhile, Santorum appeals to the middle class, and Michigan really takes pride in their blue collar roots. Santorum may not have Romney's war chest, but he does have enough money to spend to really bring a fight in Michigan, so he will. And let's not forget there is another CNN debate on February 22. The difference between this debate and the others? There's enough time between the debate and voters going to the polls that the candidates may get to recover or return fire for anything that goes down there. And you better believe that Gingrich (who again, isn't even in Arizona) is banking on "winning" the next debate as his strategy.

In the 2008 Arizona primary, more than 500,000 Republicans voted. In Michigan, it was nearly 900,000.
A candidate needs 1,144 delegates to win the nomination. Currently Romney has 105, Santorum 71, Gingrich 29, and Ron Paul 20. Unless you get into the whole pledged/unpledged/super delegates/charade state thing. In which case the numbers change to-
CNN: Romney 127, Gingrich 38, Santorum 37, Paul 27.
Or you can ask Real Clear Politics and get-
Romney 98, Santorum 44, Gingrich 32, Paul 20. 
Either way, really Romney is leading, Santorum is in second, and Gingrich and Paul are not.

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