The Chase 2012

Republican activists predict a Romney win, but would support Santorum if he gains the nomination

LANSING, Mich. — With just a few hours to go before the polls close in Michigan and the winner of its hard-fought presidential primary is known, two leading grass-roots activists predicted Mitt Romney would emerge on top in a contest he was once thought to be a shoo-in.
 
But in declaring their strong support for and confidence in Romney, State Republican Party Ethnic Vice Chairman Linda Lee Tarver and Williamstown City Councilwoman Michelle Van Wert voiced their distaste over reports that leading opponent Rick Santorum was making an open appeal to traditional Democratic voters to support him.  However, in remarks that reflect the sentiments of most Republican activists nationwide, both said without hesitation they would support Santorum if he is the Republican Party’s nominee against Barack Obama.
 
“I was onstage rocking with Mitt Romney and Kid Rock last night,” said Tarver, referring to Romney’s final pre-primary rally at Music Hall in Royal Oak.  Tarver, the highest party official in Michigan who happens to be African-American, was the warm-up speaker at the rally and predicted without hesitation that Romney would emerge triumphant in the primary.  As she put it, “[p]eople in Michigan know Mitt and that he’s the best candidate to take on Obama.”  (Both Tarver and Van Wert spoke to HUMAN EVENTS outside the State Capitol and across the street from the George W. Romney State Building, named for Mitt Romney’s father and the governor of Michigan from 1962-69).
 
Former Williamstown Mayor Van Wert agreed strongly, saying that “my experience as a local elected official brings me in contact with a lot of people and they are going with Mitt Romney.” 
 
Both of the Romney supporters voiced animosity over widespread reports that Santorum’s campaign team was overseeing robocalls to traditional Democratic voters that reminded them they can vote for the Pennsylvanian and that it would not affect their standing in the Democratic Party.  Santorum is “following the lead of [Democratic State Chairman] Mark Brewer,” said Tarver, noting that Brewer has sent e-mails to Democratic activists telling them the same thing.
 
But Van Wert and Tarver said without hesitation they would support Santorum if he becomes the nominee instead of their candidate.  Tarver said she would “have to forgive” Santorum for the cultivation of Democrats in Michigan, but emphasized it was important to her that Obama not be re-elected.  Tarver said she would support Santorum as the nominee and quoted Glenn Beck’s quip that “if a shoe was the opponent to Obama, I would vote for the shoe.”

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