Feb 29 2012

Romney Wins Arizona and Michigan Primaries

Feature Stories | Published 29 Feb 2012, 11:25 am | Comments Off on Romney Wins Arizona and Michigan Primaries -

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After two weeks of intense campaigning in Michigan, GOP Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney won his native state by a narrow margin with 41% to Rick Santorum’s take of 38%. In Arizona, voters overwhelmingly preferred Romney to Santorum. Romney won Arizona with 47% of the vote, while Santorum came in a far second with 27%. In a GOP race punctuated by upsets for Romney, he avoided major embarrassment by winning Michigan after closing a 10-point deficit to Santorum in the final days of the race. In his acceptance speech delivered from the Great Lake State, Romney again laid out his strategy for winning the general election against President Barack Obama and made no mention of the other GOP candidates. Michigan exit polls show that voters who are most concerned with electing a candidate who can beat the President went for Romney. Santorum’s supporters said they wanted a “true conservative” and valued a candidate with “strong moral character,” qualities the former Pennsylvania Senator has campaigned on.

Indeed, Santorum has emerged as the more conservative of the top two candidates, appealing to religious voters on issues like abortion rights. However, his extreme views may be hurting him more than helping. A recent Drudge report summarizing his past comments, brought up comments Santorum made in 2008 that Satan had “set his sights on the United States of America.” Taking the offensive, Santorum’s campaign used robocalls to Democratic voters in Michigan reminding them they because of rules in their state, they too could vote in the Republican primary. The campaign calls reiterated that Mitt Romney had opposed the auto-industry bailout in a state that is home to the major auto industry. What Santorum has failed to mention is that he too was opposed to the auto-industry bailout.

Mitt Romney maintains his front runner status by a slim margin, and counted on a strong presence of Mormon voters in Arizona for his win there. However, recent comments that reminded voters of his enormous wealth have hurt his campaign. Romney inadvertently revealed his position at the top of the 1% of wealthy Americans by sharing that his wife drives two Cadillacs, and that he is close friends with several Nascar team owners.

Yesterday’s primaries in Michigan and Arizona were significant because of the numbers of delegates at stake. Romney won all 29 delegates in Arizona’s winner-take-all election, while he had a fairly even split with Santorum for the 30 delegates in Michigan’s proportional election.

GUEST: Ari Rabin-Havt, vice president of research and communication at Media Matters for America

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