Ohio Win, Delegate Haul Cap Solid Night for Romney
By Carl M. Cannon, Real Clear Politics, March 7, 2012 -
The 2012 Republican presidential nomination is now within Mitt Romney’s grasp.
The election on Super Tuesday came down to Ohio — as it might again in November — and when the votes were finally counted, Romney eked out a narrow victory in the Buckeye State’s raw vote, and a significant win in the statewide delegate count.
Coupled with his triumphs in Virginia, Vermont, Massachusetts, Idaho and Alaska, the Ohio returns finally gave definition to a GOP primary season that has, until now, been characterized mainly by ambiguity and indecision.
Last night, Rick Santorum won Tennessee, Oklahoma, and North Dakota. Newt Gingrich, running third in most of the 10 Super Tuesday states, managed to win only his home state of Georgia.
But the night belonged to Romney. The former governor of Massachusetts, an unsuccessful 2008 candidate, has now won 14 of the first 23 primaries and caucuses on the 2012 calendar, with Santorum winning seven, and Gingrich two. Ron Paul had hoped that a victory in the caucuses in Alaska would finally put him in the win column, but that was not to be.
The Republicans’ proportional delegate selection process makes it hard to come up with exact delegate tallies on Election Night. But it was clear as Super Tuesday lapsed into Super Wednesday and the last election returns from Ohio trickled in that Romney can claim more delegates than his three rivals combined.
“This is a process of gathering enough delegates to become the nominee, and I think we’re on track to have that happen,” Romney told journalists as he arrived in Boston to vote Tuesday. Later, after sweeping to a landslide victory in the Bay State, he told supporters gathered in Copley Center, “I’m going to get this nomination.”
At a White House press conference earlier in the day, President Obama breezily wished Romney “good luck,” with a wry smile that implied he expects to be facing him in the fall — and is ready to start running against him right now.
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