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Super Tuesday: Oh(io), What a Night!

March 7th, 2012

Mitt Romney in Massachusetts on Super Tuesday. Photo credit: Sarah Mongeau-Birkett/BU Interactive News via Flickr/Creative Commons

The Republican party held its Super Tuesday primaries yesterday — the biggest day of voting so far where voters in 10 states (or 1/5 of the U.S.) chose who they think should challenge President Obama in the presidential elections in November.*

Of the four remaining Republican candidates — Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and Ron Paul — Mitt Romney is considered the winner from last night’s big contest.

Romney won in 6 states. Santorum won in 3 states. Newt Gingrich won in one state.

The big story last night …

… the state of Ohio.

Of the ten states voting yesterday — Georgia, Vermont, Virginia, Ohio, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Alaska, Idaho and Virginia — Ohio was both the most important state to win … and the one with the closest race.

With over 90% of the votes counted after midnight,  Romney and Santorum were still pretty much tied.

Romney turned out to be the winner there  … but just barely. Romney got 38% of the votes, Santorum got 37%.

Why is Ohio so important?

Amazingly, in the presidential elections (not the Republican primary like last night), Republican candidates who win in Ohio historically win the entire election and become president. So, last night Ohio was a good test to see which Republican might be the best challenge for President Obama there … and who might be the president in November if Republicans win!

Ohio is also a “swing” state which means that it doesn’t traditionally vote either Republican or Democrat. That means candidates have to work harder to win votes there so you want to have the strongest candidate you can.

Here’s how the rest of the voting went on Super Tuesday**:

Massachusetts: Mitt Romney won here easily with 72% of the vote. He was the Governor of Massachusetts so this was expected.

Vermont:  Mitt Romney won here too with nearly 40% of the vote. Vermont borders Massachusetts so this was expected too.

Virginia:  Mitt Romney won with nearly 60% of the vote. But he was only up against one other candidate here, Ron Paul. The other candidates didn’t quite meet the rules to get their names on the ballot.

Alaska:  Romney won with nearly 36% of the vote, though Ron Paul had hoped to win his first primary here.

Ohio:  Romney. Please see above.

Idaho:  Mitt Romney won here easily with 61% of the vote.

Tennessee: Rick Santorum won here with 37% of the vote and was expected to do so.

Oklahoma: Rick Santorum won here with 34% of the vote, also expected.

North Dakota:  Rick Santorum won here with nearly 40% of the vote.

Georgia:  Newt Gingrich won this state with 47% of the vote. It’s his home state so he was expected to win here.

So, what does this all mean?

Romney had the momentum going into Super Tuesday against Rick Santorum. Romney hoped that doing really well last night would “seal the deal” … that Romney would become the clear choice. That would mean that Republicans could stop battling it out against each other since they’re with the same party. Then Republicans could start focusing more on challenging President Obama. For Republicans, the sooner they can start doing that, the better. All this campaigning is exhausting and expensive.

But Santorum did quite well, especially considering that Mitt Romney has spent five times the amount of money that Santorum has on his campaign, according to NBC News . The candidates spend money on things like travelling to the various states, volunteers, and commericials.

It’s looking better and better for Romney but it’s still too early to say.  Some of the states where primaries are coming up seem to favor of Santorum, which would make the Republican race could go on for a while longer.  The Democrats don’t have to worry about spending their time and energy on this because President Obama is their candidate.

But Romney, in his speech last night, sounded his battle cry against Obama telling members of his audience regarding the troubled economy, “You have not failed, you have a president who has failed you.”

Mitt Romney on Super Tuesday. Photo credit: Sarah Mongeau-Birkett/BU News Service via Flickr/Creative Commons

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* President Obama represents the Democratic Party. He can run for president one more time, called a term which is four years.

** Each state is worth a certain number of points (or delegates), people who will represent the candidate at a convention later in the summer to make the candidate the official nominee. To learn more about this, Scholastic has great information about it .

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