Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Romney Wins Michigan By the Tips of His Fingers

You can go home again, just don't expect a landslide. Mitt Romney faced a tough challenge in his home state of Michigan, the state he left in 1965 to make his name in the world.

That's almost half a century ago. True, his father was a popular governor of the state in the 1960s, but that's ancient history for anyone under age 50. Yet somehow the Michigan primary became a make or break contest for Romney.

In a state shaped like a mitten, it appears that Mitt scratched out his win by winning the fingers. The Romney strength in the white collar suburbs of Detroit was not surprising. Nor was it surprising that Rick Santorum won many of the rural counties, as he did in Iowa, Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri.

And it wasn't so much the fingers as the tips of the fingers that went for Romney, from Huron County at the tip of the thumb to Traverse City at the tip of the pinky finger. And Mitt won a long thin row of counties running up the middle of the mitten, if you know what finger that is.

I think this could be a bad beat for the morale of the Santorum campaign. They would have come out of Michigan turbo-charged with a win, and the close result may leave the bitter taste of the fumes of what might have been. A leisurely drive north from Detroit up I-75 to Mackinaw City and St. Ignace and back down through Traverse City and Kalamazoo may have been all that they needed.

Back to that old saw that you can't go home again. It was a close night in Michigan for Romney but not in his old home Oakland County. His 32,000 margin of victory there about matched his margin for the whole state.

After a short stop for the Washington caucus on March 3, it's on to Super Tuesday on March 6 when 10 states vote. Even if Romney loses Georgia and Tennessee to Gingrich and Ohio to Santorum, that leaves 7 states Romney could win.

As long as Mitt Romney keeps winning delegates at his current rate he doesn't have to win them all. While no one can quite agree on the delegate count, Romney is leading on all scorecards.

Mitt Romney 149 167 181 157
Rick Santorum 86 87 61 58
Newt Gingrich 29 32 39 30
Ron Paul 18 19 33 15
Jon Huntsman 2 2 0 2
Total 284 307 314 262

That gives Mitt Romney 52% to 60% of the delegates so far, and if he holds that margin the brokered convention talkers have nothing to broker. Still, Mitt can't clinch it until May. Happy Leap Day!

No comments: