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Entries in Primaries (82)

Monday
Mar052012

Cain Predicts Gingrich Will Do Better Than Anticipated

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.) -- After a day of campaigning in Oklahoma, former presidential candidate Herman Cain stopped by Newt Gingrich’s last rally of the day in Chattanooga to excite voters to go to the polls Tuesday.

In an interview with ABC News, Cain said Gingrich would do better than expected on the day in which Gingrich has been hinging his campaign for the last month.

“A Super Tuesday prediction is that first, Speaker Newt Gingrich is going to do better in some of the states other than Georgia than most people believe,” Cain said.

Cain told ABC News he expected a good day for Gingrich in his home state of Georgia, and said the only question was by how much Gingrich would carry the state.

“I believe, based on the latest information and the intensity and excitement that we felt from the people, that he will carry Georgia,” Cain said. “But I happen to believe he’s going to do much better in Tennessee and much better in states like Oklahoma than anticipated.”

Cain said one state where he was unsure of the outcome was Ohio.

“Ohio is very unpredictable,” he said. “I can’t even begin to make a prediction about Ohio. It’s really, really up in the air.”

When Cain arrived at the rally Monday night, Gingrich had already started speaking. Cain walked in and told the crowd he thought he would crash the party. Gingrich stopped his speech and introduced an energetic Cain to the crowd. Cain took the opportunity to hit Mitt Romney over comments suggesting Gingrich was pandering to voters with his promise of low gas prices.

“Do you know what Mitt Romney said about the 2-5-0, the $2.50 a gallon gasoline program? That Newt was pandering to the American people. Pandering! I got news for you, that’s not pandering,” Cain said. “That’s showing true leadership.”

Cain said that as an unconventional candidate, he didn’t have to endorse anyone, but chose Gingrich.

Cain told ABC News he believes Tuesday will be a “good day” for Gingrich.

“I think when all is said and done, the total number of delegates that Newt will walk away with on Super Tuesday is going to be more than just respectable,” Cain said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Mar032012

Analysis: Why Are GOP Primaries Such a Mess?

Andrew Burton/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Republican primary season isn't over, but viewed as a whole, it's been something of a logistical farce. Just ask Rick Santorum.

The former Pennsylvania senator is running a shoestring campaign and he won the very first voter preference contest, the Iowa caucuses.

The problem was nobody knew it until 16 days later when the Iowa Republican Party announced the certified result that Santorum won by the razor-thin margin of 34 votes. At least we think he did. Eight precincts' votes were lost and not counted.

Mitt Romney, who placed second, was able to declare an eight-vote victory on caucus night and carry that momentum into the next primary of New Hampshire.

Not that it really mattered. The Iowa caucuses don't award any delegates to the national convention.

The mistakes meant reports that Romney was on track to an historic victory in the first Republican presidential preference contests morphed somehow in one day into an historic split of the first three contests between three different candidates when Newt Gingrich won South Carolina.

The problems didn't end there.

In Michigan, the caucus rules publicized by the state party before the contest would have given Santorum 15 delegates to take to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., in August. Except those rules, which had been circulated to the media and in a memo to the various Republican presidential campaigns before the Feb. 28 primary, weren't, apparently, the real rules.

The real rules, according to a vote the day after the primary by the Michigan GOP steering committee, gave Mitt Romney 16 delegates and Rick Santorum 14. It wouldn't be a stretch to call the Michigan GOP's decision unfair. The Santorum campaign has appealed to the national party to step in.

The likelihood that selection of the GOP nominee comes down to that one delegate is slim.

But in addition to that single delegate, add on the Ohio delegates Santorum won't be eligible to receive in voting on Super Tuesday—at least nine and maybe more. This is more the fault of Santorum's campaign, which didn't file the appropriate paperwork in specific congressional districts.

And it's not as big a snafu for the Santorum campaign as Virginia is. He won't be eligible for any of the 49 Virginia delegates after missing a state filing deadline.

That's still nowhere near the 1,144 delegates needed to secure the GOP nomination. But every delegate counts.

In Ohio and Tennessee, where Santorum leads in polls, he will get delegates proportionally. Other big states, like Florida, awarded their delegates in a winner-take-all format.

And at the end of the day, running for president in a major party has just as much to do with having your name on all the ballots as it does having the ideas that resonate with a majority of Republicans.

This is part of what has led to movements like Americans Elect, which is seeking to get a non-party candidate on every ballot in the country on Election Day. It is an online process dreamed up by political consultants and politically minded rich folks who want to see an alternative. Their motto is "Pick a President, Not a Party."

However, the most supported candidate in the Americans Elect primary is Republican Ron Paul, whose supporters are the most loyal in politics. And Paul, who would eviscerate a good portion of the federal government, has very little chance of gaining mainstream support in a general election.

While Florida gives its delegates winner-take-all, the largest prize—California—splits its delegates by congressional district. Texas, which controls the second-largest number of delegates behind California, allocates its delegates proportionally.

What's not clear about Texas is when the primary will occur. Federal courts have rejected the new GOP-drawn legislative maps in an ongoing legal fight. Texas Republicans have moved the primary back at least twice and is still not 100 percent certain of the probable, court-recommended May 29 date.

The rules for running for president in a major party are messy, byzantine and different down to the local level, in some places.

Counting of ballots can be spotty, as in Iowa, or ineffective. It took the Nevada GOP nearly two days to count the caucus votes from the same number of people that attend an average Major League Baseball game.

The local and state party systems are the backbone of the national parties, grooming candidates for offices at the state level and for Congress. They are the key pieces of infrastructure that help get out the vote for both parties. But they're also ungainly webs of bureaucracy with their own internal politicking.

It's not an issue that's isolated to Republicans, although their foibles have been showcased this year because there is not a major challenge to President Obama. But four years ago, remember the super delegates?

Then, as now, one of the main problems was Florida, where both statewide parties have made sport of moving their primary up in violation of national party rules.

Democratic candidates Obama and Hillary Clinton pledged in 2008 not to campaign in Florida, but conducted surreptitious activities anyway. Florida had been stripped by the national committee of all of its delegates.

There is a chance the primary campaign could have had a different outcome if Clinton had been given all of the state's delegates to begin with. The voice of Floridians supporting her candidacy was not heard at the convention. But all of the state's delegates ultimately got to go to the party anyway. The DNC surely didn't want to turn off all the party officials in the swing state of Florida.

This year, expecting, perhaps the RNC would reinstate its delegates eventually, too—the convention takes place in Tampa, Fla., after all—Florida Republicans broke the RNC's rules and moved their primary date up into January. That created a leapfrog of states moving up their primaries, shortened the campaign season, and led Iowa, which wanted to go first, to hold its caucus Jan. 3.

There is always the argument that the democracy is not supposed to be a clean and smooth-running business. The will of the people is supposed to trickle up to Washington rather than trickling back down from the national leaders. But the lack of ballot access for some major candidates, the problems in counting votes and late-changing rules have created a system of confusion that has arguably hurt the party.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb292012

Will 'Mitt-Mentum' Help Romney Win Ohio Next Week?

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Mitt Romney’s wins in Michigan and Arizona helped him pick up a big chunk of delegates, but more importantly, it has washed away talk of a Republican party desperate for a “white knight” to jump into the primary.

Even so, one GOP bigwig finds Romney’s narrow Michigan win “unconvincing.”  Romney, this GOP strategist told ABC News, won “by being totally negative.  Where’s the hope and optimism?  He’s becoming a human wrecking ball.  A receding tide sinks all boats.”

Moreover, Romney doesn’t have an easy road ahead of him this coming week.

The first stop is the Washington state caucus on Saturday.  Romney hasn’t had a very good track record when it comes to caucuses -- he’s won two and lost three.  Rick Santorum, on the other hand, has won nothing but caucuses, and recent polling suggests Santorum is leading in the Evergreen State.

Then there's Super Tuesday on March 6.  The most recent polling shows Romney trailing in Ohio, Oklahoma, Georgia and Tennessee.  Combined, those states hold 243 delegates.

Futhermore, as we saw Tuesday night in Michigan and in ABC/Washington Post polling this week, very conservative voters are not sold on Romney.

In Michigan, 30 percent of those who voted in the primary identified themselves as very conservative.  Romney lost the very conservative vote to Santorum by 14 points.

On Super Tuesday, very conservative voters will become a bigger part of the electorate.  In 2008, very conservative voters made up 38 percent of the GOP primary electorate in Tennessee.  They made up 39 percent of the vote in Oklahoma, and 32 percent of the vote in Georgia.

But, if we’ve learned anything from this primary campaign, it’s that momentum is king.  A good election night can move numbers -- quickly.

The first place we’ll be looking for signs of “Mitt-mentum” will be in Ohio.  The state has a similar make-up to Michigan.  There is a smaller percentage of very conservative voters and evangelicals there than in the southern states.

The most recent Quinnipiac Poll showed Santorum with a seven point lead in the Buckeye State.  But, just a month earlier, Romney had a nine point lead in the state.

Look for both the Santorum and Romney camps to hunker down in Ohio over the next week.  Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator who has been touting his blue collar roots, can’t afford to lose two Midwestern states.  If Romney loses in Ohio, talk about his vulnerability will continue as will the hand-wringing by GOP insiders.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb282012

Mitt Romney Wins Primaries in Michigan and Arizona

Bill Pugliano/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Mitt Romney pulled off a win in the Michigan primary Tuesday night, though the race was close and underscored his struggles as the GOP establishment candidate seeking the party's nomination.

The former Massachusetts governor also won, by a larger margin, a contest in Arizona, a state that he was expected to take in part because of its large Mormon population.

In Michigan, Romney barely avoided the embarrassment of losing to his chief rival, Rick Santorum, in the state where he was born and where his father was a popular governor.

In 2008, Romney won the Michigan primary by nine points, over John McCain. The closeness of the vote this time around suggests that Romney won't have a huge surge of momentum at his back in the week leading up to "Super Tuesday," when an avalanche of delegates will be awarded in 10 states.

As Romney spoke to his supporters in Michigan Tuesday night, he led Santorum by just three percentage points. He claimed that last week, "the pundits and the pollsters -- they were ready to count us out," referring to analyses that Santorum and Romney were running neck and neck.

"We didn't win by a lot, but we won by enough, and that's all that counts," Romney said.

Romney's victory speech was aimed squarely at President Obama, not Santorum. He mentioned the economy several times and also promised to repeal "ObamaCare," restore the country's credit rating and bring in oil from Canada that Obama denied through a pipeline.

"He thinks he deserves a second term," Romney said of Obama. "He says, 'We can't wait.' To which I say, 'Oh, yes we can.'"

Just before 10:20 p.m. ET, ABC News projected that Romney would win in Michigan, as Santorum was speaking to his supporters. Before he took the stage, Santorum called Romney to concede the race.

In the delegate scramble, Romney was the clear winner tonight. As the winner of the Arizona primary, he will get the state's 29 delegates while the other candidates get none. Michigan divides its delegates to candidates based on how many votes they win in congressional districts, so he and Santorum are expected to each win several.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb282012

Mitt Romney Is Projected Winner in Michigan

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.) -- After topping the Republican primary in Arizona, according to ABC projections, Mitt Romney is projected to win in his home state of Michigan. Romney and Rick Santorum had been locked in a tight race for  the state as polls closed and results began to roll in.  

On the eve of the Michigan primary, some Democrats planned to tip the vote in Santorum's favor by voting in the state's open system for the right-wing candidate. With nearly every poll putting Romney and Santorum even, Democrats hoped that just a few thousand votes would crown Santorum the winner.  Exit polls found that one in 10 Michigan voters said they were Democrats.

Romney has already claimed victories in New Hampshire, Florida, Nevada, Maine and Arizona.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb282012

Mitt Romney Projected Winner in Arizona; Tight Race in Michigan

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Mitt Romney is the projected winner in Arizona as he are Rick Santorum are still locked in a tight race in the Michigan Republican presidential primary as polls closed Tuesday night.

As precincts reported their vote totals at 9 p.m. in Michigan, the state where Romney was born and where his father was governor, the vote was too close to call.

In Arizona, ABC News projected -- based on an analysis of the exit poll data -- that Romney will win the primary, a state that he was expected to take in part because of its large Mormon population.

The solid victory in Arizona prevents Romney from an embarrassing sweep and could be a cushion of sorts should he stumble in Michigan, considered one of his home states. But the Arizona win could easily be overshadowed by an unfavorable media narrative if he either loses to Santorum in Michigan or doesn't win by a significant margin.

Once expected to win the contest in Michigan handily, Romney watched his stock fall in the state after Santorum rode a wave of popularity from his Feb. 7 victories in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri.

After some recent comments that gave him the image of an elitist -- such as that his wife drives "a couple of Cadillacs," and that he has "great friends that are Nascar team owners" -- Romney was playing catch-up.

Santorum, meanwhile, continued to make controversial statements about social matters -- such as that he wanted to "throw up" after reading John F. Kennedy's speech on the separation of church and state, or that women fighting on the front lines might dangerously raise men's emotions -- but voters didn't punish him.

His standing deflated slightly after the last primary debate in which Romney repeatedly forced Santorum to explain his votes as a senator.

Party elders and elites had shown signs of worry that Romney was taking so long to win the primary. A top GOP senator told ABC News that if Romney didn't win in Michigan, "we need a new candidate."

Analysts have speculated on a number of popular figures in the party, including Chris Christie, Sarah Palin, Mitch Daniels and even Jeb Bush, but all of them have said they're not interested in running for president, at least this year.

As Michigan residents voted on Tuesday, Romney said in an interview on Fox News that he doesn't think the nominating process would be so contested that it leads to a brokered convention after the states have finished voting.

On the eve of the Michigan primary, some Democrats unearthed a plan to tip the vote to Santorum by voting in Michigan's open system for the right-wing candidate, seeking to prolong Romney's journey to clinch the nomination.

With nearly every poll putting Romney and Santorum even, Democrats -- mainly a campaign consultant in Michigan and a liberal blogger -- hoped that just a few thousand votes would crown Santorum the winner. Exit polls found that one in 10 voters said they were Democrats.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb282012

LIVE BLOG: Michigan and Arizona GOP Primary Results

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Mitt Romney is trying to hang on in his home state and win the Republican primary in Michigan. ABC News and Yahoo News offer live analysis as returns roll in when polls close at 9 p.m. ET. Follow the conversation and get the latest news.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb082012

Michigan Republican Chief Predicts a ‘Successful’ Primary for Mitt Romney

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(LANSING, Mich.) -- Although Mitt Romney suffered a series of defeats at the hands of Rick Santorum in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri Tuesday night, a top Republican in Michigan sees the state as fertile ground for Romney.

“I think that the Romney campaign will be successful in Michigan,” the state’s Republican Party chairman, Bobby Schostak, told reporters at a briefing on Wednesday. “I don’t see a scenario where they’re not.”

Michigan holds its nominating contest on Feb. 28 -- just under three weeks from now and on the same day as the Arizona primary.

In an interview on MSNBC Wednesday morning, Santorum called Michigan “a great place for us to plant our flag and talk about jobs and manufacturing.”

Chairman Schostak acknowledged that Santorum has “got a bit of momentum now,” but he noted Romney’s home-field advantage in the state where he grew up and where his father, George Romney, served as governor.

“Michigan is kind of home turf for the Romney family and so he’s got a bit of a uphill battle in that regard just to get himself situated and positioned,” Schostak said of Santorum, adding that only time would tell whether going three-for-three in Tuesday night’s contests would be “enough to overcome the Romney family legacy in Michigan.”

Thirty delegates are up for grabs in the state, and Schostak said all of the candidates -- Romney, Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul -- were poised to pick up a few.

“It’ll be a fight,” he said, “and I think Romney will do well.”

Schostak predicted that Romney would do best in population-rich southeast Michigan, where his name recognition is highest, but might face challenges in the state’s Upper Peninsula and certain rural areas.

Enthusiasm already appears to be building for the native son. As Schostak noted, a planned Romney speech to the Detroit Economic Club on Feb. 24 was moved from a hotel ballroom to Ford Field. The event, he said, “sold out in two hours.”

Turning to the general election, the party chairman said President Obama should not necessarily expect to receive a boost from his administration’s decision to bail out the automobile industry.

“Obama tries to take credit for the success of the automotive companies,” Schostak said. “Well, he had nothing to do with the styling or the engineering or the manufacturing” -- features that he said have restored the auto companies to a “highly competitive” position.

Romney, on the other hand, could turn his opposition to the bailouts and support for a managed bankruptcy into an advantage, the Republican chairman said. He acknowledged that Romney’s GOP opponents, who were less outspoken on the issue, might seek to use it as a “talking point” against their rival.

“My sense is they just had less knowledge of it,” Schostak said. “Not being business backgrounds they would have less understanding of how the capital markets work in reorganization.”

The GOP chairman added that he was remaining “completely neutral” ahead of the Feb. 28 primary.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb072012

Analysis: Romney Is Rebuked with Losses in Minnesota, Missouri

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(DENVER) -- Make no mistake, victories by Rick Santorum Tuesday night in Minnesota and Missouri represent a rebuke of the "Mitt Romney will sail to the nomination” narrative. It also highlights Romney’s continued struggle to win over skeptical conservative GOP voters and energize the base.

After big wins in Florida and Nevada, the conventional wisdom was that Romney had vanquished his strongest rival -- Newt Gingrich -- and had this nomination all but sewn up. But, the voters of Minnesota and Missouri didn’t get the message. Romney came in third place in Minnesota -- a state he carried in 2008.

Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator, was boosted by the fact that social and cultural issues like Planned Parenthood, contraceptives and the Catholic Church dominated the news cycle. He was also helped by the fact that Newt Gingrich essentially conceded these contests.

So, where does it go from here? Look for Romney and the pro-Romney Super PAC to start to reload and regroup in Arizona and Michigan -- the next two major contests on the docket on Feb 28. Romney is hoping his money and organizational muscle will pull him through in these states, much like money and organization helped him win Florida.

Either way, the nomination fight continues and Romney will once again have to bat away the questions about the lack of enthusiasm among GOP voters for his candidacy.

Another big loser tonight: Newt Gingrich. He’s betting on a good showing on Super Tuesday, March 6. But, for now at least, Santorum, not Newt, owns the mantle of the “conservative alternative” to Romney.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb072012

Rick Santorum Takes Minnesota and Missouri, Says ‘We are in the Fight’

Andrew Burton/Getty Images(SAINT CHARLES, Mo.) -- “Conservatism is alive and well,” Rick Santorum triumphantly announced to supporters Tuesday night after winning the states of Minnesota and Missouri.

Although no delegates are awarded in Missouri, it was his first head-to-head matchup against Mitt Romney and he came out with a decisive victory. Delegates will be allocated at Missouri’s primary next month. Newt Gingrich was not on the ballot.

“Your votes today were not just heard loud and wide across the states of Missouri and Minnesota, but they were heard loud and louder all across this country and particularly in a place I suspect maybe in Massachusetts, they were heard particularly loud tonight,” Santorum said, referring to Romney headquarters in Boston.

He then set his sights squarely on President Obama.

“He thinks he’s smarter than you,” Santorum said. “He think he’s someone who is a privileged person, who should be able to rule over you.”

He then compared the two saying the former Massachusetts governor “has the same positions as Obama and in fact would not be the best person to fight for your voices and freedom in America.”

“I don’t stand up here claiming to be the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney. I am here claiming to be the conservative alternative to Barack Obama,” Santorum said to cheers of “We pick Rick.”

Coloradans caucused Tuesday evening as well, but votes were still being tabulated late into the evening.

Standing in front of a brand new “Made in America” sign and flanked by his wife, Karen, and children Elizabeth and John, he also jabbed at Romney’s gaffe from last week, when the former Massachusetts governor said he was unconcerned with the “very poor” because those Americans already have policies in place to care for them.

“I care about the 95 percent. I care about the very rich and the very poor. I care about 100 percent of America,” Santorum said, also standing next to his friend and billionaire mutual fund manager, Foster Friess.

Friess -- who is also the biggest donor to his super PAC -- told ABC News he was “blown away” by the results.

Santorum came out and greeted supporters -- it was not a packed room at the convention center, although the crowd was boisterous -- and said he was “ecstatic.”

“I think since we’ve won now as many states as anybody else, we’re in the fight. We are the fight,” Santorum told reporters.

Delegates are not awarded Tuesday evening in Colorado or Minnesota, but allocated at a later date. Still, campaigns are about momentum shifts and headlines and that was the true goal of the evening.

This is Santorum’s first win since his victory in Iowa and the former Pennsylvania senator wants to be viewed as the “true conservative alternative” to Romney, which the candidate says on the trail every day, and these wins are a step closer to that goal, despite the lack of delegates.

He heads to Texas Wednesday to attend a fundraiser and a meeting with pastors in the Dallas area. A campaign aide called the state “very generous.”

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