Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Mitt Romney Wins and Loses Michigan Primary

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney both won and loss in last night's 2012 Michigan Republican Primary results.  

The Romney 2012 campaign, along with the Romney-aligned Super PAC 'Restore Our Future', was forced to outspend former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum's 2012 campaign and aligned Super PAC by a margin of 2 to 1 just to squeak out a slight victory in Romney's birth state of Michigan.  

Last night's Michigan Primary Results were not exactly the 'Romney Rally' his campaign was hoping for to counter the 'Santorum Surge.' 

The final 2012 Michigan GOP Primary results are as follows with 99% of the precincts reporting:

Mitt Romney       410,517         41.1%
Rick Santorum    378,124         37.9%
Ron Paul            115,956          11.6%
Newt Gingrich       65,093         6.5%

Michigan is a hybrid primary, so its delegates are not necessarily awarded on a direct proportional basis to the candidates.  The final delegate count in Michigan could range around Romney 13-16, Santorum  12-15, and Ron Paul 0-3.

Despite the Pyrrhic victory in Michigan, Romney was able to pick up 29 delegates in the winner-take-all Arizona Republican Presidential Primary.   However, Arizona was the last winner-take-all state in the Republican Primary race until April 3.  All of the Super Tuesday states whose primaries are held on March 6 are either caucuses or proportional / hybrid primaries.  

What that means for Romney, who is heavily reliant on grossly outspending his opponents to win races, is that his campaign and aligned-Super PAC will have to spend more money to pick up only slightly more delegates than his opponents in those states.  

For the first time this election cycle, money is starting to become an issue for Romney who's recent campaign expenditures are vastly outpacing corresponding recent donations due to the tight race in Michigan.  

A three-front regionalized primary race where Paul goes after caucus states, Santorum the Midwest, and Newt Gingrich the South, is also running up the campaign expenditures for Romney.  

Clearly, the Romney campaign's initial strategy to outspend his opponents in the early primary states, win decisively, then ride on momentum, never transpired.  Instead, the Romney campaign is facing a protracted campaign of attrition where millions of dollars are spent on attack ads but his opponents receive free attack ads in the form of each prominent news headline about Romney's most recent 'disconnect' gaffe of the week.