Super Tuesday preview: 419 delegates up for grabs in 10 states
It’s Super Tuesday, which means today is the busiest day yet of the 2012 Republican race for president with 419 delegates up for grabs in 10 states across the country.
“We’re feeling good,” former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum said Monday on a conference call with news outlets including The Daily Caller. “Not just about Ohio. We’re feeling good about all of Super Tuesday.”
“There’s a great opportunity for us given the amazing fact that just came out today that we’re being outspent here in the state of Ohio 12 to 1,” Santorum said, comparing the money being spent by his campaign and political action committees on his behalf to rival Mitt Romney.
A Romney victory over Santorum in Ohio would contribute to the growing notion that the former Massachusetts governor is becoming the inevitable nominee. His advisers are exuding confidence that Tuesday will be a good day.
“On Super Tuesday, Mitt Romney will win a majority of the delegates that are up for grabs,” senior adviser strategist Eric Fehrnstrom said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “I can’t predict how many states he’ll win, but he will win a majority of delegates.”
A Rasmussen Poll released over the weekend has Santorum barely leading Romney 32 to 31 percent in Ohio.
The tight race between Santorum and Romney in the Buckeye State may be the contest to watch, but the Republican presidential candidates have Georgia on their minds too.
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is counting on a must-win in the Peach State, whose 76 delegates are the most at stake of all the states, to keep his campaign alive. Gingrich also needs strong finishes in Tennessee and Oklahoma to stay competitive.
“Let’s be clear: I have to win Georgia, I think, to be credible in the race,” Gingrich told the Marietta Daily Journal.
In the case Gingrich has a poor Super Tuesday finish and drops out, it would boost Santorum’s effort to consolidate the anti-Romney vote.
That’s the case Santorum has been making in recent days — that he could stop Romney if only Gingrich were out of the race.
“Hopefully the race will settle out and we’ll go one on one,” Santorum said on Fox News Sunday about Romney. “And once that happens, we feel very comfortable we’re going to win this thing.”
The Rasmussen poll has Gingrich leading Romney in Georgia by 10 points; Gingrich polls at 37 percent to Romney’s 27 percent.
The other candidate in the race, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, has not yet won a state in the 2012 contest. But he’s hoping to pull off wins in Idaho, North Dakota and Alaska. All three states hold caucuses — contests at which Paul’s avid supporters excel.
The day before Super Tuesday, Paul’s campaign struck a humorous note by announcing that five distant relatives of Romney were endorsing his campaign.
“The relation always gets complicated — our great, great grandfather Miles Park Romney is Mitt’s great grandfather — we just had different grandmothers,” one of the relatives, Ty Romney, said in an email to The Daily Caller on Monday.
The 10 states holding Super Tuesday contests are Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Virginia and Vermont.
Throughout the primary so far, Romney has won 203 delegates, Santorum has won 92 delegates, Gingrich has won 33 delegates and Paul has won 25 delegates, according to a count by the Associated Press.
A candidate must win 1,144 to get the nomination.