Super Tuesday: Latest news and results
Live coverage of the March 6 Republican contests in Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont, and Virginia
Mitt Romney breezed to an easy victory in the Washington state Republican presidential caucuses on Saturday, earning another momentum boost heading into the "Super Tuesday" contests in 10 states.
The outcome marked a fourth state win for Romney this week, after the former Massachusetts governor picked up contests in Michigan, Arizona and Wyoming. He also won the other most recent vote, the Maine caucus on February 11.
"I'm heartened to have won the Washington caucuses, and I thank the voters for their support today," Romney said in a posting on Twitter and Facebook.
"The voters of Washington have sent a signal that they do not want a Washington insider in the White House. They want a conservative businessman who understands the private sector," Romney added.
A Republican candidate needs 1,144 delegates to win the party's nomination. Some 419 delegates are at stake in the 10 primary and caucus contests on Tuesday.
States voting on Tuesday include Ohio, traditionally a national bellwether, Georgia, Tennessee and Idaho, Washington's neighbor to the east.
Photo credit: Romney speaks with supporters at the Highland Community Center in Bellevue, Washington, March 2, 2012 ahead of the Washington State Republican caucus. REUTERS/Marcus Donner
Rick Santorum lashed out at Mitt Romney on Saturday as "uniquely unqualified" to challenge President Obama and urged Ohio voters to join him in rejecting the party's "old-boy" establishment.
Santorum, portraying himself as a blue-collar underdog who would remain true to his conservative principles in battling heavy-handed government power, said Romney had forfeited his ability to fight Obama's federal healthcare overhaul by backing a similar plan in Massachusetts that included an individual mandate to purchase insurance.
"He is uniquely unqualified to go against Barack Obama on the biggest issue in this election," Santorum said. Santorum told the Ohio crowd he was fighting Romney's "old-boy network, the insiders."
He described himself as a "first-generation Italian American from a steel town in western Pennsylvania. We haven't had too many of those in the White House, it's about time we get one."
Santorum, a staunch social conservative, said Obama and his fellow Democrats had encouraged an overactive government that undercut communities, families and churches by imposing its own values and views.
"You go into the neighborhoods in Cincinnati where there are no dads and where the churches have bailed out, where the community organizations don't exist. What do you find? Government everywhere," Santorum said.
"Do you find freedom? Do the people who live in those communities feel safe going out at night?" he asked.
Photo credit: Rick Santorum speaks during a Tea Party Rally in Columbus, Ohio, February 18, 2012. REUTERS/Matt Sullivan
House of Representatives Majority Leader Eric Cantor endorsed Mitt Romney's presidential bid, citing the economy as the top issue on the minds of voters and giving another boost to the Republican frontrunner.
"Mitt Romney is the only candidate in the race who has put forward a bold, pro-growth, pro-jobs plan for the future," Cantor said. "He is the guy I believe that will be our nominee and we will have a clear choice as a country as far as the vision forward in growing this economy with Mitt's plan versus that of the president's record."
Mitt Romney has surged into a dead heat with Rick Santorum in the Ohio primary, setting up a cliffhanger race there on Tuesday, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Sunday.
Romney and Santorum are tied with 32 percent support from likely voters in the Ohio Republican primary, the most important of the 10 state nominating contests on "Super Tuesday" this week.
The poll showed Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, with 17 percent support, and Ron Paul, the congressman from Texas, with 6 percent support.
Asked whom they would back in a two-man race, 44 percent of respondents in the online survey said they would support Romney, while 43 percent said they would support Santorum.
Photo credit: Romney walks past the trophy wall as he takes the stage at a campaign stop at Brookwood High School in Snellville, Georgia, March 4, 2012. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
A Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Sunday showed Ohio voters were responding to Romney and Santorum for different reasons.
Among those who went with Romney, 44 percent said they backed him because they believed he had a better chance at beating Obama in November, and 37 percent said their main reason for choosing him was his ability to improve the still-tepid economy.
Santorum attracted voters who were interested in his principles. Of the respondents who supported him, 56 percent said they did so because he shared their values and beliefs.
"We sort of see that split in the Republican Party between people who are looking for a candidate that believes the same things they do versus the candidate who will perform the best" nationally, said Ipsos pollster Chris Jackson, comparing the difference to a decision between the "head" and the "heart."
"The most interesting thing that's going to come out of Ohio is seeing which way the Republican (party) goes as a group."
Photo credit: Rick Santorum speaks at Peachtree-Dekalb Airport at a campaign rally in Atlanta, Georgia, March 1, 2012. REUTERS/Tami Chappell
University of Virginia political analyst Larry Sabato says the decision to abandon the winner-take all approach in the primary process will ultimately make it easier for Mitt Romney to claim victory on Super Tuesday, even though he will likely lose in several states.
Sabato says it may take until June for Romney to cross the delegate finish line with the needed 1144, but "despite what the map looks like, the accumulation of delegates will be very much in his favor."
Newt Gingrich is placing his Super Tuesday hopes on a victory in his home state of Georgia to get him back in the race. He leads there by double digits.
Gingrich had a brief period as the front-runner but was staggered by a loss to Romney in Florida on January 31 and has been searching for a comeback since then.
"I thought it was vital to the campaign, and we focused on it and as a result despite a lot of money spent against me, we're doing very well and I think we're going to win decisively," Gingrich told CNN's "State of the Union."
Photo credit: Newt Gingrich speaks at First Redeemer Church while on a campaign tour in Cumming, Georgia, February 26, 2012. REUTERS/Tami Chappell
Speaking on "Fox News Sunday," Rick Santorum suggested the presence of another conservative in the race -- Newt Gingrich -- was holding him back because it is splitting the conservative vote. He stopped short of calling on Gingrich to pull out of the race.
Asked about Ohio, Santorum said he would do "very, very well" but did not predict victory.
"It's a tough state for us only because of ... the money disadvantage. But we've got a great grassroots campaign. We're hanging in there," Santorum said.
"It's always harder when you've got two conservative candidates out there running in the race. ... We have the anti-Romney vote, if you will. Both Gingrich and I are out there slugging away. We just need to show that we are the best candidate to go head to head," he said.
Photo credit: Rick Santorum, with daughter Elizabeth,speaks at Peachtree-Dekalb Airport for a campaign rally in Atlanta, Georgia, March 1, 2012. REUTERS/Tami Chappel
Mitt Romney's five straight victories in Maine, Michigan, Arizona, Wyoming and Washington state have given him a burst of momentum despite some serious reservations about him from conservatives who have flirted with a variety of alternatives.
Senior Romney aide Eric Fehrnstrom was cautious about Romney's prospects in Ohio, saying the campaign was more concerned about getting enough delegates to eventually seal the nomination.
"I don't think any state is a must-win. I think the only must-do on a candidate's checklist is getting 1,144 delegates," he told reporters.
Photo credit: Mitt Romney greets diners at Montgomery Inn Restaurant in Cincinnati, Ohio, March 3, 2012. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Second Delphi question is no accident. Woman who asked told me it is a coordinated effort to have someone ask candidates everywhereby samyoungman via twitter 3/5/2012 5:56:29 PM
Campaign Style Watch: Santorum on anti-Romney: call "They just don’t trust Mitt Romney not to do the fashionable thing of the moment."by sampjacobs via twitter 3/5/2012 7:09:31 PM
While voters are going to the polls in ten states on Tuesday afternoon, President Obama will hold a news conference where he'll defend his agenda, push back against critics -- and grab some media attention away from his Republican rivals.
Although the White House dismissed the suggestion that the event had been timed to distract attention away from Super Tuesday, Obama has been staging appearances that coincide with important events in the Republican primary election calendar. Last week, for example, he addressed members of the United Auto Workers in Washington as Mitt Romney campaigned in Michigan ahead of the primary there.
Photo credit: President Obama speaks to reporters as he returns to the White House, March 4, 2012. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
"The sweater vest has been very very good luck for us," says Rick Santorum in Westerville, Ohioby Steve Holland via twitter 3/5/2012 7:30:10 PM
Well hello there Ryan Williams of the Romney campaign, hanging out at Santorum eventby Steve Holland via twitter 3/5/2012 8:20:39 PM
The arc of Santorum's political career in Pennsylvania, where he first won over a Democratic district, then alienated voters, is beginning to look similar to his rise in the 2012 presidential race, write Kristina Cooke and Edith Honan in a Reuters special report. With each advance, Santorum's support has been partially undermined by his own controversial remarks.
A look at his five races in Pennsylvania reveals a candidate who thrives in the role of underdog and fighter. A hard-working door-to-door campaigner, he energized his conservative and evangelical base and won over blue-collar voters by securing federal funds that brought construction jobs.
Republicans in the Keystone State also recall a man who wouldn't back down in an argument; often coming across as brash, abrasive and unscripted.
"Every so often, Rick throws the pass you don't need to throw, to use a football analogy. And he threw a couple he didn't need to throw," says Alan Novak, a former Republican Party leader in Pennsylvania who is supporting former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney for the GOP nomination.
"I always call them unforced errors."
Photo credit: Rick Santorum greets supporters at a campaign rally at Dayton Christian School in Miamisburg, Ohio, March 5, 2012. REUTERS/Jim Young
Set up in Zanesville for the last Romney event of the day, and quite possibly his last event in Ohio. Also, life is a highwayby samyoungman via twitter 3/5/2012 10:59:03 PM
A legend and all-around terrific fellow RT @kasie: AP's inestimable Mike Glover to retire after 32 years at the wire.by Steve Holland via twitter 3/5/2012 11:05:01 PM
"We have been all over the state. From A to Z. From Akron to Zanesville." Romneyby samyoungman via twitter 3/5/2012 11:18:55 PM
"If you do the right thing, we're gonna put a lot of wind in this guy's sail." Ann Romney to Zanesville, Ohioby samyoungman via twitter 3/5/2012 11:20:15 PM
State auditor Dave Yost's introduction of Romney ensured that Romney will be the funny one on stageby samyoungman via twitter 3/5/2012 11:21:03 PM
Three events today, and Romney has cut the part of his stump about POTUS not securing any free trade agreementsby samyoungman via twitter 3/5/2012 11:31:14 PM
The news from Romney's last event: "I'm not the world's best athlete."by samyoungman via twitter 3/5/2012 11:46:56 PM
"There is only one answer, and it's right here. If Mitt wins, America wins. If Mitt loses, America loses." Ann Romneyby samyoungman via twitter 3/6/2012 12:03:57 AM
Newt Gingrich appears likely to win in his home state of Georgia on Tuesday, but his plan to launch a wider "Southern Strategy" to recover his front-runner status looks less of a sure thing.
Gingrich spent much of the last week campaigning on his home turf while Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney concentrated on trying to win Ohio in the runup to Super Tuesday.
"This is probably the only state where he'll take first on Super Tuesday," said Kennesaw State University political science professor Kerwin Swint. "I don't think it's going to take him very far."
Gingrich hopes a Georgia victory will kick off his Southern Strategy of taking Alabama and Mississippi on March 13 and coming back into the race as the conservative rival to Romney.
But a February poll by Alabama State University showed Gingrich and Santorum running neck and neck in Alabama with around 18 percent each.
Photo credit: Newt Gingrich speaks at First Redeemer Church while on a campaign tour in Cumming, Georgia, February 26, 2012. REUTERS/Tami Chappell
In the final hours before Tuesday's primary in Ohio, Mitt Romney's strategy was clear: "Focus, focus, focus" on blue-collar and women voters.
Romney zeroed in on the economy and largely ignored abortion, contraception and other social issues that appear to have turned some voters against Santorum, who has lost a double-digit lead in Ohio polls as he has made a series of controversial comments on such subjects.
"We used to joke we had three rules for turning around an enterprise in trouble," Romney told a small crowd at a factory here. "And the rules were these: Focus, focus and focus."
That's what Romney's campaign seems to have found in recent days as it has battled back against Santorum.
At every event, Romney had his popular wife, Ann, whip up the crowds and emphasize Romney's private-sector experience. Ann Romney called her husband a "turnaround guy."
Her message was recalibrated toward blue-collar voters as well. For the first time this campaign, Ann Romney's introduction of her husband included a story about her grandfather, whom she described as a "Welsh coal-miner."
Photo credit: Mitt Romney listens as his wife, Ann, introduces him during a campaign stop at Gregory Industries in Canton, Ohio, March 5, 2012. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Goodnight from Columbus. Grateful tomorrow is Super Tuesday if for no other reason than I won't have to ask 20 times what day it isby samyoungman via twitter 3/6/2012 3:38:58 AM
Santorum took a break from the trail and spoke to Israel supporters at an AIPAC meeting in Washington this morning:
"If Iran doesn't get rid of nuclear facilities, we will tear down them ourselves," he said, according to his campaign. "This is not bellicosity and warmongering, this is preventing the most radical regime in the world from having a weapon that could fundamentally change the security posture" of "all freedom-loving people in the world."
Heading to Boston: "I remember Boston. And that victory was as sweet as the creampie for which the town is named." Chas Michael Michaelsby samyoungman via twitter 3/6/2012 5:00:03 PM
Reuters' Eric Johnson is in Hilliard, Ohio, speaking to voters. Katherine Frenz, 36, who was taking her daughter to swimming lessons at the YMCA, said that she was voting for Santorum.
"Santorum's values are more like mine -- more conservative. I see Romney as more liberal and not sincere in his beliefs. He doesn't really know what he stands for," she said. "Romney and Obama are very similar."
As for Romney's personal wealth, she said she thinks it's "fine if people make a lot of money, but I don't think Romney understands what it is like to work really hard and earn a living. I think he's lived a privileged life."
"I won't vote for Romney just because I think he would beat Obama -- and I don't know that he even would."
Santorum's campaign is touting this story from Politico, noting that some pro-environment Republicans are donating to Romney betting that his climate change skepticism is just hot air.
Republicans aren't the only ones going to the polls in today's Ohio primary.
Voters in northern Ohio will decide which of two Democrats -- Cleveland's Dennis Kucinich, a liberal gadfly, and Toledo's Marcy Kaptur, the longest serving woman in Congress and a haymaker in the perennial federal budget process -- will end a long congressional career.
Ohio redistricting by the Republican-dominated state legislature, which was contested by Democrats, created an oddly shaped district that stretches along the Lake Erie shore from Toledo to just east of Cleveland, forcing a primary race between the two long-time colleagues.
The winner on Tuesday could face Republican Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, better known as "Joe the Plumber." Wurzelbacher is running in the Republican primary against Steve Kraus.
Photo credit: Dennis Kucinich in Washington, August 1, 2011. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Obama says will "not countenance" Iran getting a nuclear weapon; U.S. policy is not containment.by ReutersPolitics via twitter 3/6/2012 6:43:16 PM
Obama: "When I see the casualness with which those folks [on the campaign trail] talk about war, I am reminded of the costs of war."by ReutersPolitics via twitter 3/6/2012 6:43:17 PM
Obama, speaking of Assad, says, "ultimately this dictator will fall."by ReutersPolitics via twitter 3/6/2012 6:43:18 PM
Pres. Obama says he's asked Attorney General to examine gas-price speculationby Jesse Rodriguez via twitter 3/6/2012 6:43:39 PM
Has there been any polling on Americans' thoughts on war with Iran?by samyoungman via twitter 3/6/2012 6:58:03 PM
Obama press conference lasts about 45 minutes, dominated by foreign policy. Lots of politics: immigration, gas prices, and Repub war talkby Jeff Mason via twitter 3/6/2012 7:15:32 PM
In case you missed it: Obama was asked during Tuesday's press conference if he had any response to recent criticism from Mitt Romney. His response: "Good luck tonight." Video of that question, via BuzzFeed: www.buzzfeed.com
Republican hopes of victory in Ohio in November may be jeopardized by lingering fallout over a labor rights dispute that left blue-collar voters cold, reports Jeff Mason.
The state's Republican governor made a failed attempt to limit collective bargaining rights for public unions last year, and now Ohio Democrats are enjoying greater fundraising and the unlikely return of middle class "Reagan Democrats" to the party.
"We had some of the best fundraising months in our state's history in an odd year, and those dollars came from ... low dollar donors that had not participated in the party but were drawn to it because of the attacks on collective bargaining," said Chris Redfern, chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party.
Online donations alone for the party quadrupled in 2011.
An average of polls by RealClearPolitics showed President Barack Obama ahead of Romney by 1.7 points and Santorum by 2.3 points in the state.
Photo credit: Supporters of Rick Santorum listen to his remarks at a campaign rally at the American Legion in Westerville, Ohio, March 5, 2012. Credit: Reuters/Jim Young
Who are the top spenders so far? Alex Cohen and Alina Selyukh outline which groups have spent the most in the campaign:
1. Restore Our Future (pro-Romney): $30.8 million
2. Winning Our Future (pro-Gingrich): $16.1 million
3. Red White and Blue Fund (pro-Santorum): $5.3 million
4. Make Us Great Again (pro-Perry): $4.0 million
5. Endorse Liberty (pro-Paul): $3.5 million
6. Our Destiny Pac (pro-Huntsman): $2.5 million
7. AFSCME AFL-CIO (anti-Romney): $1.0 million
8. Priorities USA Action (pro-Obama): $688,990
9. Citizens for a Working America (pro-Romney): $475,000
10. Citizens for a Working America PAC (pro-Romney): $455,000
11. Susan B. Anthony List (pro-Santorum): $447,191
Alina Selyukh, who has been tracking the main Super PACs and campaigns, reports on the two frontrunners' spending in Ohio through today:
Restore Our Future (which supports Romney) spent $2.2 million on TV ads, mostly anti-Santorum, and phone voter contact (according to spokeswoman Brittany Gross and FEC filings).
The Romney campaign spent $1.5 million on cable and TV ads (according to Republican media buyer who tracks spending).
Red, White and Blue Fund (which supports Santorum) spent $1.1 million in Ohio on TV ads, phone and direct mail (according to FEC disclosures).
The Santorum campaign spent about $500,000 on cable advertising (according to the media buyer).
Outside of Ohio, Alina Selyukh reports, Restore Our Future (which supports Romney) has spent $1.4 million in Tennessee, nearly $1 million in Oklahoma and $1.1 million in Georgia, one state where the group continued to run anti-Gingrich ads.
The Red, White and Blue Fund (which supports Santorum) has also invested in phone calls and direct mail in Alaska, Idaho, North Dakota and Tennessee.
Winning Our Future (which supports Gingrich) has predominantly focused on Georgia, Ohio, Oklahoma and Tennessee, spending nearly $3 million on TV and radio ads, many of which call on Republicans to stand up against the Republican establishment.
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