Romney Wins Michigan & Arizona
The honeymoon is over. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney won both the hotly-contested Michigan and Arizona primaries Tuesday, defeating former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum.
Romney’s double victory helped solidify his standings in the GOP race by allowing him to – at least for the moment – overcome the threat posed by Santorum.
“A week ago…the pundits and the pollsters, they were ready to count us out,” Romney said to supporters, referring to earlier polls that had showed Santorum in the lead. ” … We didn’t win by a lot, but we won by enough and that’s all that counts.”
As of 11:30 PM Tuesday night with 86 percent of unofficial returns counted, Romney was ahead of Santorum in Michigan by a small margin of 41 percent to Santorum’s 38 percent. Texas Rep. Ron Paul and former House speaker Newt Gingrich lagged significantly behind, amassing 12 percent and 7 percent of the vote respectively.
Romney held a much more significant lead over Santorum in Arizona, amassing 48 percent of the vote compared to Santorum’s 26 percent as of 11:30 PM. As was the case in Michigan, Gingrich and Paul failed to make a strong showing in the Grand Canyon State. Gingrich amassed 16 percent of the vote, while Paul only carried 8 percent.
Santorum remained optimistic despite his narrow loss in Michigan, stating that the the contest between Romney and himself is now a “two-person race.”
“The people of Michigan looked into the hearts of the candidates, and all I have to say is ‘I love you back,” he added. Santorum pledged to continue his campaign against Romney in Ohio and the other states that will be holding primaries on Super Tuesday, March 6.
As for Paul and Gingrich, neither is throwing in the towel just yet. Speaking from Virginia, Paul announced his intentions to keep campaigning against his more accomplished rivals. As for Gingrich, he is planning to revive his campaign in Georgia and Tennessee next week by airing several aggressive anti-Romney television advertisements.
Early polls had given Romney the lead in Arizona, but his victory in Michigan is crucial to his campaign. After he trailed Santorum in the past few weeks, many were skeptical of Romney’s chances to carry the state which he had once called home and where his father, George, had once been elected governor. However, Romney’s strong financial advantage translated into superiority in the ad war, and kept his campaign on track.
“I stand ready to lead our party to victory and our nation back to prosperity,” he said.