Romney wins WA caucus, Santorum falls to third

posted at 10:30 am on March 4, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Mitt Romney won the Washington caucus yesterday, as polls indicated in the last couple of days, but by a wider margin than expected.  Also unexpected was the second-place finisher:

Mitt Romney won the Republican caucuses in Washington state, according to unofficial results early Sunday, giving the former Massachusetts governor a shot in the arm heading into Super Tuesday contests.

With 99% of the vote in, Romney had 38%. Texas Rep. Ron Paul had 25% and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum had 24%. They were trailed by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at 10%.

At stake in the contest are 40 delegates.

“We’re in a good second place, but the good news is we’re doing very, very well in getting delegates,” Paul told supporters in Seattle, when about half of the vote had been counted. “The enthusiasm for the cause of liberty continues to grow exponentially.”

Actually what was at stake was zero delegates.  The delegates get assigned at the state convention, and the preference poll doesn’t bind the state convention to any outcome.  The caucus does provide some bragging rights and momentum heading into Super Tuesday, though, and Romney will be able to brag both about the win and the turnout, which was much higher than in 2008, when only 12,400 voters attended.  Nearly four times that number caucused yesterday, which means that Romney can rebut the charge that he only wins contests with depressed turnouts.  In fact, Romney won more votes yesterday (19,111) than were cast in total in 2008.

For that matter, so did Ron Paul, who engineered a surprise second-place finish over Rick Santorum, with 12,594 votes.  Santorum won 500 fewer votes, and comes in lower than second place for the first time in a month.  Santorum campaigned in Washington this week, and the finish will create even more doubt in Super Tuesday states about his continued viability.

I’d normally predict that the party leadership would consider throwing in with Romney at this point to hasten the conclusion of the competitive part of the primary, but House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has already done so:

“Mitt Romney is the only candidate who has a pro-growth, pro-jobs plan for the future,” Cantor said on NBC’s Meet the Press. He added: “[Romney] will best be able to lead this economy back to a growth mode.”

Throughout his interview, Cantor attempted to focus on the economy, and praised Romney as being the only candidate to put forth a “bold plan” to increase jobs and reduce regulatory red tape.

Cantor represents Virginia, which is one of 10 states voting on Super Tuesday, March 6. While Cantor said he expects Romney to take all of Virginia’s delegates, only Romney and Rep. Ron Paul are on the ballot there.

Cantor’s endorsement could have been tied to the Virginia primary, but Romney and Paul are the only two on that ballot, and Romney is already expected to win by a wide margin.  This sounds more like a message intended for those outside of Virginia and for the rest of the Super Tuesday states.  Don’t be surprised if other senior GOP figures in leadership follow suit.


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I will vote for a pile of steaming doggie doo if it manages to win our nomination, with full faith it would be a more honest, less offensive, smarter, and better smelling President than the one we have now.

Those who will not fall in line with our nominee are helping to reelect Obama whether they stay home, vote third party, or leave the top line blank – it is only a matter of degree of help.

Now, it is certainly anyone’s right to do so. But no one should pretend that their actions are not helping Obama, take responsibility.

Adjoran on March 4, 2012 at 8:28 PM

Those who will not fall in line with our nominee are helping to reelect Obama whether they stay home, vote third party, or leave the top line blank – it is only a matter of degree of help.

Now, it is certainly anyone’s right to do so. But no one should pretend that their actions are not helping Obama, take responsibility.

Adjoran on March 4, 2012 at 8:28 PM

Yes.

Priscilla on March 4, 2012 at 8:30 PM

Those who will not fall in line with our nominee are helping to reelect Obama whether they stay home, vote third party, or leave the top line blank – it is only a matter of degree of help.

Adjoran on March 4, 2012 at 8:28 PM

Blah, blah, blah.

Dante on March 4, 2012 at 8:56 PM

Washington was a straw poll only. Means absolutely nothing.

Look how many straw polls Crazy Uncle Paul has won!

I just hate how the media and Hot Air is spinning in overdrive for Romney. He is such an incredibly WEAK candidate!

Sparky5253 on March 4, 2012 at 9:04 PM

They ruling class R’s are beginning to panic.

http://theconservativetreehouse.com/2012/03/04/this-phase-began-wednesday-last-week/

Mittbama can’t win because too many conservatives won’t show up to get him over the finish line. I will never vote for Mittbama. He will never repeal Obamacare. He is the author.

http://www.therightscoop.com/more-videos-of-romney-pushing-national-individual-mandate/
Liar, liar pants on fire!

Jayrae on March 4, 2012 at 9:04 PM

Those who are pushing Mittbama are responsible for re-electing Obama. You gambled and lost. You knew the base would never accept him and now you are in a panic. Mittbama is an epic fail. He has been running for president for 6 years, loser.

He is not a businessman. He is a vulture crony capitalist. There is a huge difference. There is nothing free market about Mittbama.

Jayrae on March 4, 2012 at 9:08 PM

Game over for the religious nut. Hope he enjoys doing weather reports on Fox. The adults can take it from here.

Cordell on March 4, 2012 at 10:37 AM

Way to stay classy…

MooCowBang on March 4, 2012 at 9:17 PM

Those who will not fall in line with our nominee are helping to reelect Obama whether they stay home, vote third party, or leave the top line blank – it is only a matter of degree of help.

Adjoran on March 4, 2012 at 8:28 PM

I believe I will continue to vote my concious, come hell or high water. Mittens, Rick, and Crazy Uncle Paul are not going to get my vote. Tell you what, why dont you vote for Newt instead of voting for the guy who designed the greatest arrest of personal capital ever?

MooCowBang on March 4, 2012 at 9:21 PM

Put your vote where your mouth is: vote liberty, vote Constitution, vote Ron Paul

Dante on March 4, 2012 at 9:25 PM

You knew the base would never accept him and now you are in a panic. Mittbama is an epic fail. He has been running for president for 6 years, loser.
He is not a businessman. He is a vulture crony capitalist.
Jayrae on March 4, 2012 at 9:08 PM

.
you sound just like the liberal losers. REAGAN lost his first time in ’76-You OWSers aren’t supposed to understand capitalism-even when you shop at Staples. He’s more a business man and DC outsider than Omarxist- and when you get a chance please define this ” Base” you throw around- which base is it today?

FlaMurph on March 4, 2012 at 9:51 PM

Those who will not fall in line with our nominee are helping to reelect Obama whether they stay home, vote third party, or leave the top line blank – it is only a matter of degree of help.

Adjoran on March 4, 2012 at 8:28 PM

Those who are pushing Mittbama are responsible for re-electing Obama. You gambled and lost. You knew the base would never accept him and now you are in a panic. Mittbama is an epic fail. He has been running for president for 6 years, loser.

He is not a businessman. He is a vulture crony capitalist. There is a huge difference. There is nothing free market about Mittbama.

Jayrae on March 4, 2012 at 9:08 PM

Well, there you have it. It doesn’t matter what you do this year — somebody can always tell you you’re helping to re-elect Obama.

So I guess it makes no difference if I declare that I despise both Romney and Obama, have no desire to support either one, and would love to find a way to make them both lose.

Aitch748 on March 4, 2012 at 9:56 PM

JannyMae on March 4, 2012 at 4:45 PM

I sure do. What’s your point?

iwasbornwithit on March 4, 2012 at 10:00 PM

Yes, poor choice of thread. Just happened to be reading it when I heard. Kind of needed to get it out. Sorry, carry on.

jeanie on March 4, 2012 at 8:03 PM

Don’t be sorry. My point earlier was I wouldn’t have heard about it unless you posted it on this thread.

hawkdriver on March 4, 2012 at 10:00 PM

Do not expect to see the dirty tactics by Romney against Obama that he has used against his Republican opponents. He will roll over and play dead just like McCain when Obama gets hold of him, and he cannot withstand the dirty tactics that will be used against him. He doesn’t have it in his DNA.

silvernana on March 4, 2012 at 6:30 PM

Listen, even Ted Kennedy complained that Romney fought rough. The idea that he’s some kind of political wimp is a myth–another delusion on the part of Romney opponents who haven’t a clue about what this candidate’s really about. The proof of what I’m saying would be for you to listen to his OH stump speech when he attacks Obama, providing red meat to the crowds. He’s already giving Obama hell. Take a look at this on C-Span. He was on fire in OH attacking Obama and will do it in spades once he gets the nod.

writeblock on March 4, 2012 at 10:28 PM

From the “take it for what it’s worth department:”

Santorum is falling apart in the new PPP polls. Down 1 in Ohio. Only up 5 in Tennessee. Romney with big leads among voters who have decided in last week in Ohio and smaller lead among those voters in Tenn.

If Romney somehow wins TN and OH, that’s probably game over.

RepublicanInMA on March 4, 2012 at 10:33 PM

So I guess it makes no difference if I declare that I despise both Romney and Obama, have no desire to support either one, and would love to find a way to make them both lose.

Aitch748 on March 4, 2012 at 9:56 PM

That would be nice. But the problem is that we can’t. When all of your options are lousy, you choose the least lousy. Romney is a lousy candidate and if he wins I doubt he’d be much of a president, but he isn’t as bad as four years of Obama would be.

Shadow on March 4, 2012 at 10:45 PM

writeblock on March 4, 2012 at 10:28 PM

The people who claim that Mitt Romney won’t be tough on Obama are Mark Levin show listeners. They all say the same things. i.e., Romney’s a RINO, it’s not in his DNA to go after Obama, the base will stay home, we tried this before with McCain, blah, blah, blah…

See for yourself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kF3eIMvm8vs

They are almost literally repeating Mark Levin’s words verbatim. Some of these Romney-bashers even have names like LevinFan, etc. They worship at the feet of their favorite loudmouth talk show hosts.

These Romney-bashers also vastly overestimate their numbers and their influence. These people are not even a blip on the radar screen. Romney performs well with the Republican base and with voters from a wide range of demographic and ideological categories, and Romney will win in November.

So, let the thumb-sucking crybabies stomp their feet and pout.

In about 8 months we will have voted to remove Obama from office. This is going to be a very tough fight, and it will come down to independent voters and suburban voters in a handful of swing states.

bluegill on March 4, 2012 at 10:50 PM

Game over for the religious nut. Hope he enjoys doing weather reports on Fox. The adults can take it from here.

Cordell on March 4, 2012 at 10:37 AM

The way some of you are alienating voters, a good portion of you adults might have to vote twice.

hawkdriver on March 4, 2012 at 11:00 PM

The fat lady is warming up in the outer room.ABR angst at all time high as their pucker factor in high gear….

Bradky on March 4, 2012 at 11:00 PM

statistically insignificant — definition of commentaritat numbers at any political blog.

Bradky on March 4, 2012 at 11:01 PM

Not on your life. If the only choices are Paul and Obama, I just won’t vote because in my eyes Paul is as bad as Obama. Equally foolish.

Voter from WA State on March 4, 2012 at 11:02 PM

That’s a fairly retarded thing to say. Even on foreign policy, I’ll take Ron Paul’s honest insanity over Obama’s intentional weakening of our defenses and allies. On economy, Ron Paul is better than the rest of the field by an order of magnitude. And on social issues, he was a staunch pro-lifer before Santorum wore his first sweater vest.

Archivarix on March 4, 2012 at 11:08 PM

I will vote for a pile of steaming doggie doo if it manages to win our nomination, with full faith it would be a more honest, less offensive, smarter, and better smelling President than the one we have now.

Those who will not fall in line with our nominee are helping to reelect Obama whether they stay home, vote third party, or leave the top line blank – it is only a matter of degree of help.

Now, it is certainly anyone’s right to do so. But no one should pretend that their actions are not helping Obama, take responsibility.

Adjoran on March 4, 2012 at 8:28 PM

Preach.

Dark Star on March 4, 2012 at 11:20 PM

(Popular vote) –> (Primary vote) –> (Non-committed)
–> (? delegates till FLA?) –> (Non-committed will decide) = (chaos)

I will write as if I was still living in Puerto Rico. I have no clue how is it that such a fast-moving, intelligent country such as yours can have so many divisions when it comes to primary votes.

You know where I come from, one person equals one vote and that vote counts for the primary winner; there’s no delegates involved. The people pick their candidate, at the end of the day we know who won and that person leads for the election and, if the party rules are such, that person takes over the party as their leader.

So in order to create a worse division than there already is, it helps you guys diddly squat to KNOW that the popular vote goes for one candidate whereas the actual vote cast on the ballot goes for another.

What gives?

Don’t get me wrong; in Puerto Rico there’s a lamestream media and there’s conservative talk radio. We also have a stronger, divided island than this country-by far. Politics is our main sport, then the rest of the sports.

What can Americans do in order to eliminate some “red tape” when it comes to primary elections? I understand size matters, but rules are rules and can be applied to the United States, where voters can cope easier with having a primary cleaner, leaner and have their presidential goals and timelines in print, huge front and center in all the main newspapers. That way people can hold on to them accountable-especially old folks who don’t use Twitter nor Facebook. They just care about a pen, paper and numbers.

And please spare me the “Puerto Rico never had a four-way primary for one of the main parties” –> we already went through that.

ProudPalinFan on March 5, 2012 at 7:15 AM

Put your vote where your mouth is: vote liberty, vote Constitution, vote Ron Paul

Dante on March 4, 2012 at 9:25 PM

Blah Blah Blah

I’m getting really tired of idiots pushing Ron Paul as if he is up to the task of being President. He is a racist. He is a homophobe. He is an isolationist in a global economy. He lies on his travel claims. He is ignorant on foreign affairs and his hatred of the military rivals that of the most leftist liberal.

Ron Paul is wrong for America and everybody but the morons can see exactly who and what he is.

Happy Nomad on March 5, 2012 at 7:38 AM

If there’s any consolation in a Romney nomination win and then him losing the general election to Obama (which he will hands down), is not having to see John McCain or his daughter, and Donald Trump being taken seriously ever again. I HOPE! I had to turn off Fox News this morning because that’s all they had to report – Donald Trump and John McCain both back to back and running at the mouth about the primaries. So it’s becoming more evident that the republicans want to commit political suicide, but at least it’s with a candidate I despise if that’s the case. I’m hoping it won’t be so since there’s still time and even a brokered convention is starting to look awfully good.

mozalf on March 5, 2012 at 8:16 AM

The mention about the Barbara Bush endorsement interested me, because I’ve heard “Ann Romney for First Lady” here and there, and thought that might help. So I got curious and looked at the Wikipedia article on Ann. Nice, I thought, but what about her husband? I hadn’t looked that up, because I thought I knew about Mitt.

Good grief and for crying out loud! Some of you people who are all panic stricken about how Romney is the second coming of Obama are so gobsmackingly ignorant it’s terrifying, and it’s contagious! Go edumacate yourselves…at least read that much..lest someone do a Breitbart and ask you how much you know about what you are blithering about.

Confutus on March 5, 2012 at 8:55 AM

Good grief and for crying out loud! Some of you people who are all panic stricken about how Romney is the second coming of Obama are so gobsmackingly ignorant it’s terrifying, and it’s contagious! Go edumacate yourselves…at least read that much..lest someone do a Breitbart and ask you how much you know about what you are blithering about.

Confutus on March 5, 2012 at 8:55 AM

These people are simply clueless Mark Levin show listeners. They repeat whatever Mark Levin tells them. There is no reasoning with these people. If Mark Levin says that Romney is the second coming of Obama, then these zombie drones will believe it. You see them repeating Levin’s own words verbatim on this comment board and elsewhere.

bluegill on March 5, 2012 at 9:02 AM

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