Arizona and Michigan: Super Tuesday Pregame Is a Romney-Santorum Standoff
Tonight is the night... for more primaries. Arizona and Michigan are next up for primaries as voters in these states have until this evening to choose their favorite Republican presidential candidate. Contrary to popular belief, these two primaries are actually worth something: Arizona will award 29 delegates to the first place candidate in a winner-take-all fashion while Michigan will divide its 30 delegates according to the results.
Though the delegate numbers are somewhat small in comparison to other states, Arizona and Michigan will be a pregame for next week's make-or-break Super Tuesday rounds, an event in which 419 delegates will be up for grabs. With state polls varying and showing no clear winner, the primaries are also a litmus test of support for the two front-runners -- Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum.
Also, it's pretty much just the two of them going head-to-head since Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul are nowhere to be found in the battleground states -- Newt gave up on the two states to concentrate on Super Tuesday and Paul has been spotted somewhere in Virginia this morning.
Adding to the rivalry between Mitt and Rick, Arizona and Michigan both represent policy polemics.
In Arizona, the immigration bill signed by Republican Gov. Jan Brewer ignited a national discussion on racial profiling. She endorsed Romney yesterday, bringing all the flack she has received by President Barack Obama and Congress under his campaign tent.
Michigan, on the other hand, is one place where the Republicans do not fit in so well. In a state where Obama's auto bailout has been praised as Detroit's savior, the fact that Mitt and Rick did not support the bill (Romney's "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt" Times op-ed was the icing on the cake) has infuriated the United Auto Workers and isolated many voters who were able to keep their jobs.
However, Santorum did not let that stop him from reaching out to any possible Reagan Democrats still left in the state: in what the Romney campaign described as a "deceptive and dirty trick," Rick's campaign sent out robo-calls to Democrats, encouraging them to "raid" the ballot boxes and vote for him instead of his rival. Does anyone else remember the GOP problem with ACORN in 2008?
Nonetheless, if Mitt loses both Arizona and Michigan, it could seriously harm his Super Tuesday chances, thus resulting in the final nail in the coffin for his overall campaign. With Santorum's recent surge and Romney's prolonged stagnation, it is unpredictable how tonight's primaries will go, which will make for great Tuesday night entertainment at the very least.