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It's Still Anyone's Race in the Primaries
Whether the state calls it a caucus or a primary, there have been eight so far for the Republican Party over the past month. For the sake of confusion, I am going to refer to all of these as primaries. That means we are almost 20% of the way through the primaries. Yes, I realize that it seems like this has been going on for much longer than it actually has. The primary season gets stretched out over several months that seem to last forever. However, we should not look at this negatively because the primaries will have a major impact on the nation. This is an important part of our political system, so let’s take a little time to reflect on what has happened.
Up until yesterday, Mitt Romney has been the frontrunner for the Republican nomination (at least that is what the media has led us to believe). It has seemed as though the race of who will become the Republican candidate has been between two men: Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney. While Rick Santorum and Ron Paul have been in the race, they really haven’t had enough following to garnish any real potential. Romney has seemed to be pulling away and leaving Newt in his dust. However, that all changed last night.
On February 7, 2012, primaries were held in Colorado, Montana, and Minnesota. In all three of these primaries it was neither Romney nor Gingrich that made a major push towards the front. Surprisingly, Santorum won all three states relatively handedly. Just when the media was beginning to make it look like it was Romney’s nomination to lose, there was an entirely new twist put on the race. After yesterday’s primaries, Santorum has actually won four of the eight states, Romney has won three, and Gingrich has won one. So really, it is still anyone’s nomination to win.
Simply winning a state’s primary does not give that specific candidate all of the delegates’ votes for the nomination. New this year, votes are being given on a percentage based system. In the past, winning a state’s primary would give the candidate 100% of the delegates’ votes. With the new percentage based system, the primary race should remain competitive for much longer.
As things stand now, it appears as though the Republican nomination is still a three man race (sorry Ron Paul but I think you might be done for). Romney’s advantage has come from money. He has a distinct advantage and has outspent the other candidates by a wide margin. He is the most liberal of the candidates, so some Republicans are not a fan of that. Gingrich is slightly more conservative than Romney. He is a career politician that has made decisions in his past that are definitely affecting his campaign now. Santorum is by far the most conservative of the three and not as well known. With the contraceptive healthcare controversy that has sparked recently, Santorum could easily gain a new, large following of conservatives.
Needless to say, this race is far from over. The big day is about a month away still; Super Tuesday is on March 6th. That will definitely be a telling day in the primary race. It is important to remain open minded. If your state has not had its primary yet, continue to do research on the candidates. You should figure out which candidate most closely relates to your ideals instead of letting the media dictate who you vote for. This is a big decision for the future of the county, so make it count.