The Chase 2012

Romney wins a majority of Super Tuesday states

Alaska

Mitt Romney won Alaska on Tuesday. It was his sixth victory of the night and gave him a majority of states won for the night, allowing his campaign to say in their narrative that Romney emerged out of Super Tuesday with a majority of delegates and states won.

Alaska, with its fierce independent and libertarian streak, was Texas Rep. Ron Paul’s last, best chance to win a state. He did not.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin revealed that she had voted for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, whom her husband endorsed before the South Carolina primary.

Idaho

Idaho, which is home to the nation’s second largest Mormon population, enthusiastically and raucously greeted Romney at a campaign event earlier in the week.

Texas Rep. Ron Paul, trying to capitalize on the libertarian streak in Idaho, also held campaign events last week but it did not help him much in the end, and Paul still remains without a win in this election cycle. 

And while Idaho helps Romney in terms of helping him collect delegates, it is also a state that could have been seen as a “home state” for Romney, given the state’s high concentration of Mormon voters.

Given, however, Rick Santorum’s win in North Dakota and the photo finish in Ohio, Romney’s win in Idaho was needed and a loss there could have seriously damaged Romney, who underperformed on the evening across the board.

Massachusetts and Vermont

To the surprise of just about no one, the first New England Republican to seek the GOP presidential nod since Henry Cabot Lodge of Massachusetts in 1964 (or Maine Sen. Margaret Chase Smith, if one counts her “favorite daughter” candidacy at the convention that year) won the primaries in Massachusetts and Vermont tonight.

Although final returns were not yet in (Vermont is 70 percent rural), Mitt Romney won with 38 percent of the vote in Vermont.   He appeared headed for a much bigger win in Massachusetts, according to exit polls.  The most important result out of these two primaries was that Romney will get significant swatches of delegates out of the 17 allotted from Vermont and possibly all 41 from the Bay State, where he served as governor from 2002-06.

With Democrats permitted to vote in Republican primaries in the Green Mountain State and vice versa, there had been some jitters in the Romney camp about a crossover vote in Vermont akin to that in Michigan.  But there was no evidence this occurred to any great degree.

Virginia

Only Romney and Texas Rep. Ron Paul were on the ballot because the other Republican presidential candidates failed to turn in the 10,000 signatures needed to get on the ballot.

Virginia, which awards 49 delegates, will be one of the most important swing states in the fall and would have been highly contested if the other candidates made the ballot. Instead, Romney was able to use his resources, which would have been used in Virginia, in states such as Ohio and Tennessee.

In many ways, Romney’s victory in Virginia is symbolic of the 2012 election cycle: Romney won because the anti-Romney voters did not have anyone else to vote for.

Romney was endorsed early by Virginia’s Gov. Bob McDonnell and last Sunday by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who represents the Commonwealth’s 7th district.

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