Skip to comments.Super Tuesday results leave Romney a weakened Republican frontrunner
Posted on 03/06/2012 11:03:11 PM PST by Brown Deer
A little more than four years ago, after winning only three of 17 Super Tuesday states in his quest for the Republican presidential nomination, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney reassessed his campaign and decided the time had come to call it quits.
Super Tuesday 2012 has come and gone, and while he won’t be bowing out anytime soon, Romney is faced with a new dilemma this time around: how to shake his four remaining challengers and secure the GOP presidential nomination for the right to oppose President Barack Obama in the November election.
Romney and his top rival for the nomination, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, each won their share of states and delegates Tuesday, and they had to wait until Tuesday became Wednesday to learn that Romney had barely edged Santorum in Ohio. Romney also prevailed in his home state of Massachusetts, neighboring Vermont, Mormon-heavy Idaho and in a one-on-one matchup against Texas Rep. Ron Paul in Virginia, where Santorum and former Speaker Newt Gingrich failed to qualify for the ballot.
For his part, Santorum prevailed in Tennessee, Oklahoma and North Dakota, while Gingrich won a decisive victory in Georgia. Results from the Alaska caucuses, where former half-term governor and failed 2008 vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin cast her vote for Gingrich, will be known early Wednesday.
Romney can’t deliver knockout punch
Even with his narrow win in Ohio, Romney failed to deliver the so-called “knockout blow” his supporters were hoping for. With Santorum winning three states and battling Romney tooth-and-nail in Ohio, the Romney campaign has to be assessing the road ahead and asking if there is, in fact, a path to a first-ballot nomination. The answer, it would seem, rests not with the Romney campaign but on whether his rivals bow out sooner rather than later.
Ironically, perhaps the best indication of Romney’s weakness as a potential nominee came in Virginia, a state he won. The state has a somewhat complicated ballot qualification process, and Romney and Paul were the only choices presented to voters in the state’s open primary. Polls leading up to election showed Romney with nearly 70 percent support and Paul under 30 percent, but that’s not how the final total shook out. Romney won, but Paul garnered his highest vote totals of any state thus car. The latest returns showed Romney with about 60 percent to Paul’s 40 percent.
Former Bill Clinton adviser and Fox News analyst Dick Morris presents a fairly compelling mathematical case that neither Santorum, Gingrich or Paul will get enough delegates from here until the GOP convention in late August to beat Romney on the first ballot, so they should all drop out and let Romney coast his way to the nomination. This, Morris argues, is the only way the GOP will have a chance to beat Obama. He figures that six more months of Republican candidates beating each other up cannot help the party’s chances this fall.
Romney’s weaknesses clearly exposed in Virginia
But Morris, for all his political experience, overlooks two very important points, both clearly discernible in the Virginia results: One, that for whatever reason or reasons, Romney is a flawed candidate; and two, that Paul’s message of individual liberty and adherence to the Constitution is one that Paul voters won’t find in Romney.
Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, a Republican turned Libertarian who will likely be the LP presidential nominee and appear on the ballot in all 50 states, has to be encouraged by the Virginia results because it proves that four out of 10 Republicans, when faced with a choice between Romney and one other candidate, could not bring themselves to vote for the man who still has to be considered the Republican frontrunner, albeit a weak one. Romney can’t seal the deal for one simple reason – he simply doesn’t appeal to enough elements of the party to unite it.
With a fairly light primary and caucus schedule remaining for March, and three of those contests to be held in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana – all states that Gingrich could win – Romney’s best hope for a meaningful win later in the month is Illinois. Santorum won the “beauty contest” in Missouri earlier this year, and he may well win the caucuses scheduled for March 17. He should also fare well in Kansas. Hawaii, Guam and Puerto Rico also hold nominating contests this month, so by the time all is said and done, Santorum and Gingrich could combine to easily exceed Romney’s total for states won in March.
Four years ago, it was all over for Romney by March. This time, he had hoped to seal the deal on Super Tuesday. Instead, he finds himself slugging it out with three candidates representing at least two very different wings of the Republican Party. If he can’t find a way to bridge those gaps in support soon, he may well lack the enthusiastic base needed to defeat Obama even if he does eventually win the Republican nomination.
He can not win in Nov and is going to drag the down ticket races down with him. This is a disaster.
Gingrich must get out of the race now.
Why should Gingrich get out?
Paul should get out.
Santorum had a good ground game in North Dakota, people all over, signs, etc. Paul had made appearances in towns which hadn’t seen a prospective potus candidate since Alan Keyes came through. When you show up and talk to folks out here, it makes a difference.
Romney 3.1 mil
Santorum 1.9 mil
Gingrich 1.8 mil
Why should Gingrich get out?
Paul should leave.
You are right! Santorum get out now! Newt can beat Obama!
Our good conservative candidates do NOT need to "drop out". We need to work together!
*** YES! for THIS thread, "Myth-Rom GO HOME, and Leave Us Alone!" ***
*1. GOP Needs Brokered Primary Now! (with emphasis on "Primary", Now!)
*2. Rick as temp Placekeeper Nominee;
*3. Decide Final Nominee @ Convention
Brokered Primary Now! = Secure Conservative Nomination for the GOP Convention
Then use the next 5 months of campaigning to determine the best Conservative Nominee.
=>>> Post 55 Says It All... on the "Brokered Primary Now!" thread.
How the North Dakota (caucus) vote came out:
Rick Santorum 39.7%
Ron Paul 28.1%
Mitt Romney 23.7%
Newt Gingrich 8.5%
The Winning Our Future PAC is running ads in ARizona for Newt again... why would they do that after we’ve already had our primary? The ads are better than what they ran before the primary: positive, upbeat, talking more about why people like Newt rather than playing dark scary music and talking about Romney’s “business ethics” and how rich he was. (WTH were they thinking with that?)
I pledge to lead the fight to strip the strident anti-choice language from the Republican National platform
“.......he may well lack the enthusiastic base needed to defeat Obama even if he does eventually win the Republican nomination.”
Saintorum will have the same problem... they are both unfit for the job.
Well, basically the problem with McCain...er, ah, Romney...
DICK Morris wants everyone but Romney to drop out. Dick Morris can suck my caucus.
Dick Morris wants everyone but Romney to drop out. Well I think Dick Morris should su_k my caucus.
He would gladly suck your toes. Would that do the trick? :)
Ricky is just as phony as Mittens!
I want a candidate who understands and can explain conservatism.
That's my girl...