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Blogbuzz: Who wins Michigan tonight?

 

All eyes remain fixed on tonight's Michigan primary, including the conservative blogosphere's. And the question is: Who will win tonight -- Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum?

The Washington Times’ Brett M. Decker believes Romney’s name recognition in the Wolverine States will give him the slim victory.

“Romney might dodge this bullet, but it came too close for comfort given how prominent his family name is in his home state. His father, George W. Romney, later a member of President Nixon’s Cabinet, was a popular three-term governor. Before politics, the senior Romney was president of American Motors Corporation (former parent company of Jeep), the closest one gets to being royalty in the world’s largest car making region. This local pedigree is a major reason why Mitt Romney beat Sen. John McCain by nine points in the Michigan primary four years ago. The political dynasty is so respected in the state that radio personality Ronna Romney, the ex-wife of one of Mitt’s brothers, won the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate in 1996 in large part because of the name.”

But not all conservative bloggers are convinced Romney can clinch a victory tonight. Conservative blogger Ed Morrissey at Hot Air writes:

“Assuming that the Monday-only numbers and the early voting figures from PPP are accurate and predictive, a turnout like the one in 2008 would result in a narrow victory for Santorum, 38.9% to 35.2%. That would produce a nearly even split in delegates, but give Santorum a boost heading into Super Tuesday. If he can’t close the deal in Michigan, then next week will be a very tough sell.”

John Tabin, conservative blogger at the Spectator echoes what most conservative bloggers are saying: “The stakes today are fairly high for both candidates.”

“If Romney can't pull it out in Michigan, where he won in 2008 and where his father was once governor, it's hard to see him winning the kind of near-sweep on Super Tuesday next week that would restore the air of inevitability that keeps not-quite-sticking to his campaign. If Santorum wins Michigan, it will begin to seem possible that he might snag the nomination out from under Romney (not least because a Santorum win today would almost certainly precipitate a significant fundraising bounce). Conversely, if Santorum can't win today, his sweep of the February 7th contests begins to look less like a sign of a campaign with real staying power and more like a blip (which is about what Newt Gingrich's South Carolina victory looks like at the moment).”

Regardless of the outcome, Jennifer Rubin, a conservative writer for the Washington Post, says tonight’s winner still faces big challenges ahead.

“Rick Santorum may lose one or both races today, but that does not mean he is out of the running for the nomination. Likewise, Mitt Romney could win both contests and still face a slow slog to the nomination.”

Part of this is attributable to the delegate selection rules, which, after tonight, will still leave the leader more than a thousand delegates short of the 1,144 needed to win the nomination. Moreover, it is highly unlikely that any candidate will sweep Super Tuesday, so even after next week’s contests the race will remain far from “over.” That is not to say that the results tonight won’t affect fundraising, press coverage and polling. But the desire to over-interpret wins and losses should be moderated.”