28 February 2012

Olympia Snowe To Leave Senate And More

Olympia Snowe, the U.S. Senator from Maine and one of the few remaining moderate Republicans in Congress has announced that she is not running for re-election. Snowe's decision not to run turns a fairly safe Republican seat into one that is attainable for Democrats in an open race, improving Democrats odds of retaining control of the U.S. Senate in 2012.

Early rumors and polling put Romney and Santorum neck and neck in today's Michigan, where Romney grew up, while strongly favoring Romney in today's Arizona primary. The states have similar numbers of Republican national convention delegates. Prior GOP primary results are summarize here. Any good news for Santorum tends to strength Democratic's odds in the Presidential race, as Romney is the more moderate general election candidate. With tonight's results Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich have effectively faded to irrelevance in the GOP Presidential nomination race. Any likely result from tonight will still leave Romney with an absolute majority of the Republican delegates allocated to date for the GOP national convention in Tampa, Florida, but will disturb his momentum and solidify Santorum as a viable "not Romney" candidate in the primary.

The early, wildly premature results from Michigan are that "With 1% of precincts reporting in Michigan, Santorum leads with 41%, followed by Romney's 37%, Paul's 12% and Gingrich's 7%." Michigan is not a winner take all state, instead its delegates are mostly divided by Congressional district, so each man could easily take close to half of Michigan's delegates, helping Romney in a war of attrition, but not momentum, going into Super Tuesday.

UPDATE: With about 1/7th of the vote in, the results of similar. Late results are likely to be from more conservative parts of Michigan. Also, about 40% if Michigan Republican primary voters aren't Republicans, which artificially elevates the performan of Ron Paul and Romney (although an 2008 op-ed from Romney saying that Detroit should go bankrupt probably doesn't help him in Michigan).

If Santorum can knock Gingrich out this week, he would go into Super Tuesday as a much more formidable opponent.

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