A Strong Night for Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney has done the double, winning both Arizona and Michigan and racking up the majority of the delegates available in the two states. Rick Santorum finished a distant second in Arizona and a strong second in Michigan. Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich were not factors in either race. Romney picks up all of Arizona's 29 delegates in the state's winner-take-all primary, and depending on how the votes break down in Michigan, Santorum looks likely to pick up no more than about 16 delegates in Michigan.
The day began with the possibility that Mitt Romney, whose father was Michigan's three-term governor in the 1960s, could face a humiliating defeat in one of his home states. Instead, he appears to have blunted Rick Santorum's charge. He has also moved out to a stronger lead in the delegate count.
Romney's double win sets the stage for the Washington State primary on March 3 and Super Tuesday on March 6. Super Tuesday will see voters in Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia vote. Only Romney and Ron Paul are on the ballot in Virginia. Georgia and Tennessee probably favor Newt Gingrich. Romney presumably takes Massachusetts, where he served as governor. Polls show Santorum strength in Ohio. Super Tuesday could scramble the race again, but the more likely outcome after tonight is that Romney will emerge from the March 6 contests ahead of the pack.
A last curiosity from tonight's primaries is the lack of a Michael Moore effect. Earlier in the day, crockumentary film maker Michael Moore gleefully claimed that Michigan Democrats were crossing over to vote for Santorum, purely to humiliate Romney. They failed. Or, there weren't enough Michael Moore fans to matter.