Super Tuesday: Winners and Losers
Rick Santorum - "Make no mistake, Rick Santorum had a Super Tuesday night,” NBC “Meet the Press” Moderator David Gregory said. Citing exit polls, Gregory said that Romney did not significantly gain support from groups that back Santorum, such as Tea Party voters and evangelical voters. Santorum was declared victorious in three states Tuesday night: North Dakota, Oklahoma and Tennessee.
Mitt Romney – In sheer numbers, Super Tuesday can be considered a victory for Romney. The former Massachusetts governor was named the winner of six races (Alaska, Idaho, Massachusetts, Ohio, Vermont and Virginia), putting him far ahead in the delegate count. According to CNN, Romney leads the pack with 404 delegates and is followed by Rick Santorum who has garnered 165 delegates since the nomination process officially began earlier this year.
Newt Gingrich – Though not victorious to the same degree as Santorum, or perhaps Romney, the former House speaker won his home state of Georgia and still has his foot in the race. Leading up to Super Tuesday, even Gingrich admitted how integral a Georgia win was to his campaign’s vitality. “I have to win Georgia, I think, to be credible in the race,” he said in Atlanta March 1. Despite his win last night and his 106 delegates, Georgia’s favorite son faces an uphill battle, trailing more than 20 points behind Romney in national polls.
President Obama – The president’s Super Tuesday presser stole some of the limelight from the GOP hopefuls. The conference also gave Obama a chance to publicly chide the candidates for “the casualness with which” they “talk about war.” As the primary battle continues in full swing, the press conference is a reminder that Obama is immune from the vicious inter-party attacks lobbed by the competing GOP contenders. This coupled with Obama’s ability to use the bully pulpit of the White House briefing room should prove advantageous for him come fall.
Sarah Palin – The former Governor of Alaska and 2008 GOP Vice-Presidential candidate could potentially benefit in the scenario that a long nomination process leads to a brokered convention. When asked by CNN whether she would not be opposed to her name being on a ballot in an open convention, Palin responded: "as I say, anything is possible. And I don't close any doors that perhaps would be open out there. So, no, I wouldn't close that door. And my plan is to be at the convention."
Mitt Romney – Although Romney won a majority of the 10 Super Tuesday contests and bolstered his delegate count, he fell short of vanquishing the threat of a Santorum or Gingrich comeback for the nomination. Because Romney was unable to secure a strong enough victory to begin wrapping up the nomination, one thing is certain, the primary process is likely to continue for quite some time. A longer nomination battle could also hurt Romney’s general election campaign should he emerge the nominee. As Dan Balz points out in his Washington Post piece, “as [Romney] advances toward victory in the primaries, he is losing ground in the general election.”
Ron Paul – While the Texas congressman is staying in the race, he did not win any of the 10 Super Tuesday races. Paul, whose delegate count is at 66, had hoped to secure wins in Alaska, Idaho and North Dakota. He lost those contests by respective margins of 9 points, 44 points and 12 points. Although Paul has admitted the probability of his winning the nomination is “slim,” he said he remains committed to his campaign.
Dennis Kucinich – The eight-term congressman and former Cleveland mayor lost in a Democratic primary to incumbent Rep. Marcy Kaptur, who represents Ohio’s 9th district. Kucinich’s district was abolished after redistricting. In his concession speech, Kucinich, who is considered one of Congress’ most liberal members, said Kaptur “ran a campaign lacking in integrity, filled with false truths.” Kaptur, the longest serving woman in Congress, will take on GOP nominee Samuel Wurzelbacher, known as “Joe the Plumber,” in the district’s general election.