It appears that Mitt Romney will have won both the Arizona and Michigan Republican primaries tonight setting the stage for a possible Super Tuesday blowout next week.
In Michigan, which is the home state of Mr. Romney, he had to fight for his political life against former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum.
Mr. Romney appears to have won that race by the slim margin of 41% to 38%. And the odd thing is that Mr. Santorum could end up with the majority of delegates. This is due to the fact that the Michigan Republican party is awarding delegates proportionately based on congressional districts. And if one looks at the map linked here, going over the counties, Mr. Romney essentially won Detroit and the suburbs and Mr. Santorum almost everywhere else. It is because of that Mr. Santorum could possibly end up ahead in delegates. And that makes it possible for him to claim a victory. It looked like Mr. Romney would carry Michigan by a huge margin only to have it slip away and almost lose totally to Mr. Santorum.
In Arizona, it is not even close as Mr. Romney swept the state. Not a county went for anyone but Mr. Romney. Mr Santorum appears to have been second place everywhere in the state. Mr. Romney has 47% of the vote and Mr. Santorum has 27% in 'Zona.
While Mr. Romney has every right and should celebrate his wins, especially Michigan, there are still some bad signs for the now back in the front runner status.
For one, there is no doubt that Mr. Santorum is now the anti-Romney. If you average out the votes in the two contests, essentially Mr. Romney had about 44% of votes and Mr. Santorum about 33%. The race is for sure between these two candidates.
Secondly, Mr. Romney once again did not break the psychological number 50% in these contests. Arizona did edge him closer with 47%, but no overwhelming win means that there is still a lot of doubts among Republican primary voters.
Republicans are not paying attention to the pundit and conservative elite classes telling them they have to end it now and coronate Mr. Romney.
And we should keep this fight going.
To simply listen to those that do not want to actually have this debate about what the Republican party stands for is a recipe for eventual electoral disaster in November.
If it is Mitt Romney, his retorical skills are only increased. And having him stand clearly on the issues will only be to his benefit.
If is is Mr. Santorum, we will see whether or not a strong conservative can use a blue collar background to talk the language of one Ronald Reagan and bring the wavering Reagan Democrats back in the Republican fold.
Tonight's results are exciting and a big night for Mr. Romney and probably puts him closer to the GOP nomination. But it is going to be a fight to the finish and that is the way that it should be.