Michigan is not the first win for Mitt Romney (R-MA). He also took Wyoming. But it his first significant win, allowing him to join Mike Huckabee (R-AR) and John McCain (R-AZ) in the Republican gold medal club, and keeping his campaign alive and kicking — and spending money.
The finals out of Michigan for the top three Republican vote-getters were Romney 39%, McCain 30% and Huckabee 16%. The results were key for Romney, who canceled advertising plans in other states to take advantage of his history in what is the state of his birth, and where his father was governor back in the 1960s. Analysts widely believed that if John McCain had been able to knock Romney off there, it would be difficult for Romney to make a case for going forward.
His convincing win, however, does make the case for going forward. The next stop is South Carolina this weekend (1/19/08), a state where McCain is hoping to do well, where Huckabee feels he has natural support, and where Fred Thompson (R-TN) is hoping to capitalize of positive regional sentiment.
The Democratic contest was essentially meaningless. Since Michigan moved up its primaries in defiance of the national party, the national party is refusing to seat its delegates, a situation also affecting the upcoming Florida event.
RBR/TVBR observation: The fact is, ladies and gentlemen, that Democrat-supporting independent website Daily Kos was encouraging its members to take advantage of Michigan’s open primary system and vote in the Republican event and keep Romney afloat. We have no idea how many did so, but we saw one exit poll citation noting that McCain did not benefit from independents and Democratic crossovers as much as he has in the past. The reason Kos wanted Romney to win was precisely to keep the top tier candidates spending as long as possible.
The primary windfall should peak on Super Duper Tuesday 2/5/08, with almost half the states up for grabs. Then the action will largely move toward Congressional and gubernatorial primaries, which don’t really get going until summer. Several of us at RBR/TVBR live in Virginia, and if Super Duper Tuesday settles the matter in both parties, our vote on 2/12/08 will be largely irrelevant.
However, should either contest remain undecided, not only will the candidates still standing be spending like drunken sailors, they will probably be offering to take each and every one of us likely voters out to dinner. Note to candidates: We really like those Japanese hibachi places.